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Vancouver gets two more on-street bike corrals, but businesses thwart a third

Posted by on August 12th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

New bike parking across
from Esther Short Park.
(Photos by Marcus Griffith

Earlier this week, the City of Vancouver installed two more on-street bike parking corrals, raising the city’s total to three. The new racks were installed Tuesday morning at Esther Short Park and on the corner of Broadway and McLoughlin Blvd in downtown Vancouver.

As reported online in The Vancouver Voice last week, the projects were approved by the Parking Advisory Committee in July, but were not expected to be installed until late summer due to a back log of city pavement projects.

“The city should build more parking and not take any way for special interest groups like cyclists.”
— Charles Ritt, Vancouver resident

The racks in Esther Short Park, located at the corner of Esther and 8th Street, provide space for twelve bikes. The new parking is just across the street from the ever-popular Vancouver Farmers Market. The City Transportation Department used a no-parking area for the new racks, so no car parking was impacted.

That fact did not go unnoticed by Vancouver resident Patricia Minnows. “It’s great that the city went with a location that allows for more bike parking while not taking up any car parking.” Minnows, who was biking when I stopped to interview her, said she wants to see more bike parking and bike lanes downtown, but is understandable to the parking needs of downtown business. “Vancouver business need adequate car parking,” she said.

New bike parking on Broadway Blvd
in downtown Vancouver.

Bad Monkey Bikes, Board and Skate owner Wade Leckie is excited on-street bike parking has been installed in front of his bike shop on 1717 Broadway Blvd. “I am just really excited, it’s awesome,” Leckie exclaimed. “It will give downtown visitors and customers a permanent and safer place to park.”

For Leckie, the additional ten bike parking spots on Broadway will go a long way in fulfilling the bike parking shortage in the immediate area. “There is a freaking huge demand for bike parking around here; there’s the [bike] shop, the gym, the dance studio and all the events that go on Main street,” Leckie explained.

Campos said another set of racks was planned for Columbia Street (near W Evergreen Blvd) but it was not installed due to a lack of support from nearby property owners and several businesses. Many adjacent business owners and employees cited a shortage of employee and customer car parking as reason to prevent on-street bike parking. “There is not enough [car] parking for employees and customers to take one away for cyclists,” said Fina Patterson, an office worker in the adjacent building. Patterson’s concerns were echoed by downtown customer Charles Ritt.

“Downtown [Vancouver] is a parking nightmare, it’s getting as congested as Portland,” Ritt said. “The city should build more parking and not take any way for special interest groups like cyclists,” said Ritt. The 61 year old retired businessman also supports the removal parking meters in downtown Vancouver. “The city needs to stop penalizing people who shop downtown,” he said.

According to City of Vancouver transportation planner Jennifer Campos, the on-street racks were made possible by a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. Campos says there are no specific plans for more on-street bike parking facilities in the near future. “It is my hope we can add more next year but I haven’t identified any specific locations at this point.”

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  • Bjorn August 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Unbelievable to see someone bemoaning how hard it is to find a parking spot while at the same time suggesting that they should charge less for them… The reason that it is so hard to find a space is that the city is not charging enough for them.

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  • Marcus Griffith August 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Vast majority of Vancouver residents support increasing bike and ped facilities; but, just like Portland, there are those that still think business live and die by the available car parking.

    Its worth noting, that Vancouver Parking Advisory voted to approve both locations. Bike Me! Vancouver facilitator Leah Jackson is member of that city committee.

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  • ValkRaider August 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    The city should build more parking and not take any way for special interest groups like cyclists

    I am not sure what the definition of “special interest group” should be. Car drivers could be a “special interest group”.

    But seriously – taking one space caused complaints? If you can prevent one single car from driving there by having bicycle infrastructure then you have broken even. If you get two people to ride bikes then you are ahead.

    So if the one space they take away provides space for as much as 6 bicycles then you have *added* 5 parking spaces, not taken away one.

    But I guess not everyone can be good at math.

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  • Paul Johnson August 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Sounds like a boycott is in order!

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  • are August 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    that fellow ritt sounds like a genius. not enough downtown parking, therefore remove the meters?

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  • chelsea August 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    People don’t think things through apparently. If just a couple more people ride instead of drive, you have already freed up some parking spaces. Duh! No one should ever discourage biking. It benefits us all, but so many people are blind to that. It is frustrating.

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  • MovingToEurope August 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Why are the 1-2 people (usually) who would arrive by car more valuable than the 8-10 who could be accommodated by bike parking?

    Love to know what business this “61 year old retired businessman” retired from, ‘cuz he sure ain’t too bright.

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  • greenkrypto August 12, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    The Vancouverites shopping TAX-FREE in Portland are contributing to Portland’s congestion.

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  • MIndful Cyclist August 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Mr. Ritt also needs to realize that just because parking is not itemized on his Wal-Mart receipt, he is still paying for it.

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  • clarkcountiewheels August 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Awesome job! Bike Me Vancouver has done a great job working to get things done without grabbing a lot of headlines.

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  • Lester August 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I go shopping downtown all the time and there are tons of empty spots. Of course I typically don’t get there ’til at least 5:30 pm. Vancouver turns into a ghost town by that time every weekday and weekends are mostly ghost town except near the farmer’s market from 10-3.

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  • Bjorn August 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    It does seem like portland has done a great job avoiding having businesses thwart their attempts by simply allowing businesses to request the racks and then only putting them in spots where they are asked for. It may result in them being in spots that are different from the ideal configuration, but it certainly reduces the complaining…

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  • 4-wheels good, 2-wheels better August 12, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Why do people assume a motorist’s cash is better than a cyclist’s cash? There are so many businesses in Portland that thrive off of cycling customers, you think more business would catch on.

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  • LuckyLab August 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Is it odd to call bike parking “special interest” while asking for more car parking? Are the interests of auto drivers not a “special interest” anymore?

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  • peejay August 13, 2010 at 6:59 am

    If, as they say, driving is the new smoking, then they could prevent parking anywhere withing ten feet of a business entrance. That frees up a lot of spaces for bike corrals!

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  • Donk August 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Vancouver has always had fairly progressive transportation initiatives considering it’s conservative population. I remember when I was in high school(late 90’s) they started introducing alternate fuel source buses.

    Anyway, I bike up there occasionally and I am constantly impressed with just how many bike lanes they have but how NO ONE uses them. I see people riding bikes on the side walks but I have never run into anyone riding in the street.

    I feel like the city just isn’t ready to be swapping out it’s car parking for bike parking. I’m glad they’re making the push but must Vancouver residents dislike Portland and will oppose anything that makes they’re city reflect ours.

    I would, however, love to see a bike rack in front of Mon Ami 😉

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  • Jennifer Campos August 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

    The location referenced in the article at Columbia and Evergreen was originally requested by a local business on that block, but no other businesses supported the idea.

    The Broadway location was requested by a business as well, and finding strong support from surrounding businesses, we moved forward with the installation.

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  • a0 August 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    at least the traffic lights downtown blink red at nt reminding me of a college town
    but the really nice vankouter is out east
    i can never decide which stripmall to stop at so i’m glad they are almost all connected by now

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  • Vanfunky Bob August 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Making allies, not enemies, of our motorist counterparts is essential for future progress in Vancouver as well as Portland.

    (PS: I see people biking all over Vancouver)

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  • Thomas August 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Is it me, or does Vancouver celebrate every new bike project likes its earth shattering news?

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  • Paul Johnson August 14, 2010 at 12:59 am

    They celebrate it like it’s earth shattering news, then forget about it and yell at you to get out of the fscking street. You’d think you were riding in California.

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