(Photos © J. Maus)
Yesterday I ventured over to Northeast 28th Street to see PBOT’s latest installation of on-street bike parking.
The City has been on a bike parking binge of late. With new on-street corrals installed in North Portland just last week, they seem to be putting these in as fast as maintenance crews’ schedules allow. The new corral on NE Glisan at 28th in front of Pambiche restaurant is the 18th in Portland and two more (both on 28th, one at Ankeny and the other at Pine) will be done any day now.
While staring at the new parking in front of Pambiche, it struck me that this is about much more than just a place to park a vehicle. At the popular restaurant, diners sit mere inches from the curb — a place where, just a few days ago, cars spewed toxic exhaust into the air as they parked.
Along with the staple racks, an adjacent bike lane increases the buffer zone between humans and car even more. The result is a space that is now open and clear; a place where people have more room (and cleaner air) to breathe.
I find this sort of thing profound. Imagine, something that comes out of the transportation department (not from health services or environmental planning) that has a direct, positive impact on the health of our city and our quality of life (not to mention that Pambiche now has 20 more parking spaces for paying customers).
Often, amid “bike vs. car” wars, debates over funding, and wonky infrastructure discussions, we lose sight of the fact that bikes are much more than just a viable form of transportation. A city that puts a high-priority on bicycling is a city that will hasten not just a transformation in how we move around, but in how we feel and how we experience urban life.
— For more on bike corrals, browse our Bike Parking section archives.