rack-shaped objects on the new transit
(Photos: Victoria Gilbert)
Here’s a bit of good, bad, and confusing news about bike parking on TriMet’s transit mall in downtown Portland (we’ll get to the issue of actually riding on it in a separate story).
Back in January, we reported on how stringent design guidelines that call for expensive bike racks have resulted in a major lack of bike parking.
TriMet architects, in their quest to create an aesthetically pleasing streetscape on 5th and 6th avenues, require the City to pay for silver, brushed steel racks that are much more expensive than their standard issue blue ones ($367 compared to $87). In addition, crews actually removed existing staple racks that didn’t conform to the design guidelines (including racks directly in front of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance office).
when there are no bike racks.
(Photo © J. Maus)
In months since, the lack of bike parking on the mall has become blatantly apparent. Bikes are being parked to anything metal. At last week’s Safe Routes to School National Conference, two esteemed visitors from Utrecht found no bike racks near the entrance to the Hilton on SW 6th and were forced to lock their rental bikes to a gas main across the street.
Ironically, there are new objects on the mall that look like bike racks and have become popular places to lock up — but it turns out they’re not actually meant for bikes.
Several readers have emailed us in the past few days, saying that TriMet has now placed “No Bikes Please” stickers on what look to be bike racks (see photo at top of post). But, according to TriMet’s Colin Maher, they are places to take a load off while waiting for transit. “These are leaning rails intended to give people something to lean against while waiting for the bus.”
protectors, but places for
people to chill.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Victoria Gilbert, one of the readers who contacted us about this, wrote, “I can’t believe that they will not be used by cyclists — when good bike parking is so scarce. It would help if the sticker explained why no bikes–since they seem so well suited for that purpose.”
Another reader who used them routinely for weeks thinking they were new bike racks, was equally shocked when he saw the “No Bikes” sticker:
“I thought they were the best bike racks ever, with a combination of round, lock filling tubes and flats where any locks fit. You can park four bikes on them if everyone’s considerate. And many people use them, they fill up before the hard-edged ribbon staples.”
And finally, the good news…
When I contacted TriMet’s Maher about these confusing not-for-bikes “leaning rails”, he reminded me that construction on the Mall is still not complete. Maher shared a photo of one of their four, newly installed “bike oases” (see photo below). These covered bike parking corrals are lit at night will provide space for an additional 44 bicycles. Maher also pointed out that the new Bike Co-op at Portland State University will have space for 28 bikes. All together, Maher says TriMet will have 130 additional bike spaces when construction of the Mall is complete.
What has been your experience with bike parking on the new transit mall?