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The business benefits of on-street bike corrals: An infographic

Posted by on April 16th, 2013 at 10:04 am

Bike Corrals: Local Business Impacts, Benefits, and Attitudes, by Drew Meisel.
(Click for larger image – Download PDF)

Yesterday we shared that the Portland Business Alliance believes, “converting on-street metered parking spots and loading zones for non-auto parking use should be avoided.” The PBA’s position that auto parking and loading zones should remain the top priority over other uses of the public right-of-way in the downtown core was made clear in a letter to PBOT about the Street Seats program (a program that allows cafe owners and other organizations to convert parking spaces into customer seating areas).

After seeing our post, Drew Meisel, a planner at Alta Planning + Design in Portland, sent us over an infographic about bike corrals. Meisel published a study on bike corrals in 2010 as a graduate student at Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and he created the infographic for a presentation he gave this weekend at the American Planning Association’s 2013 National Conference.

While PBOT’s Street Seats program is much different than their on-street bike corral program, they both utilize space currently used for auto parking. And they both have proven to very popular with business owners.

on-street parking at SW 3rd-Pine-16.jpg

Bike corral at SW 3rd and Pine.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

PBOT’s bike corral program has been around for several years and nearly 100 corrals have been installed throughout the city. In the downtown core area — where the PBA successfully thwarted the Street Seats program — there are currently five on-street bike corrals (a sixth corral, at SW Broadway and Pine, was recently decommissioned).

It will be interesting to watch how Portland decides to use its public space downtown: Will the PBA will continue to extend their influence on these issues? Or will PBOT be able to remain flexible and use the right-of-way for things other than truck and auto storage and access? One thing is for sure: There is increasing pressure to re-purpose public right-of-way and the trend is away from auto access and toward other (non-motorized) vehicular access and social uses. And this is just the beginning. In less than a year, PBOT will start mapping out where to put dozens of bike share rental stations. Stay tuned.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller April 16, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hard to believe they were ever controversial! But that infographic is rather weirdly worded.

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  • Granpa April 16, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I love being able to park right outside Tiffany’s or Nordstroms to get Christmas slippers or baubles for my wife in December while cars are circling the hood looking for parking. Security always follows me, but hey, I have a back pack. I doubt however that the retail volume needed by stores downtown can be supported by cyclists. What comes first, a volume of cyclists who need parking or is it parking that bring cyclists? Either way, What may work for the Alberta or Hawthorn neighborhoods may not be appropriate for down town.

    The worse parking and driving gets for drivers down town the better it is for Washington Square or Bridgeport Village. Those mega malls really encourage driving and discourage cycling.

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    • Gregg April 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Build more bicycle parking–> More people get to the neighborhood by bike–> There are more available parking spaces available–> more folks can drive there–> There are more potential customers there overall.

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  • Allan L April 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Portland is hungry for parking revenue — especially revenue from parking violations. So they’re conflicted on this.

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  • Brian E April 16, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Travel tip: When visiting an unfamiliar city and looking for good food/beer/coffee, look for where the bikes are parked.

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  • Indy April 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    This is one of those things where money talks. If Bike Corrals are bringing business away from PBA members’ area, they’ll quickly reverse course. Ahhh, Capitalism.

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  • 9watts April 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    “PBA’s position that auto parking and loading zones should remain the top priority”
    The forces of reaction remain strong.

    But at the same time it is good to learn that they feel the need to defend these from those who would appropriate them for human powered modes. Sort of like how the Editors of the Oregonian recently felt the need to assert that ‘the automobile is here to stay!’

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  • BURR April 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Portland Business Alliance is a dinosaur with way too much political power; it’s time to change that.

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  • Alain April 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I’m curious, why was the bike corral on SW Broadway and Pine “decommissioned”?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 16, 2013 at 11:35 am


      The Saucebox cafe has moved, so my guess is that, since each corral is tied to the adjacent business owner, without a tenant in that space the City had no one to maintain the corral and so they have removed it. I will check to confirm, but that’s my hunch.

      Heard back from the City about this. Here’s what they say:

      “Pacific Power removed the bike corral at SW Third Avenue and SW Pine Street to install a utility vault located at the end of the corral. We’re working with Pacific Power on the reinstallation of the bike corral. We don’t have an estimated time for reinstallation yet.”

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      • Indy April 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Brings up an even better question: Who ultimately is responsible for these things? They can become part of a neighborhood, so a restaurant just closing and taking them away might have a bigger impact on the neighborhood than just the loss of the restaurant.

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      • Adron Hall April 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        Hoping to kick off a convo and effort to get one w/ Baileys and/or Tugboat across the street. It’s absolutely needed. Everyday there are 3-4 bikes locked to every two bike, bike rack and locked to poles and other things.

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  • Rebecca April 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

    There is bound to be disagreement, but I’m happy to see that the conversation is happening. We as a city are now discussing whether auto parking is the best and highest use of our limited public space, rather than accepting it as the only possibility – and that’s huge.

    Bike Corrals have been a great counter-example to that assumption and may open the door for more possibilities. (Kudos to Sarah Figliozzi at PBOT for their success.) And keep in mind that PBA was initially opposed to Bike Corrals until they proved themselves successful.

    So I’d look at this new parklet scenario as an ongoing discussion – a discussion that could change if the Street Seats program proves successful in other areas of the city.

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    • dmc April 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      I agree. This is all expected turbulence from the shift of complete auto domination to multi-modal systems.

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  • Alain April 16, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for this detail Jonathan.

    It’s interesting to me that of the 97 corrals, there are only 5 installed downtown. Interesting that in an area of the city with the greatest density, there less than 5% of the total number of corrals.

    It’s good that the corrals are spread around Portland, though I am surprised there are not more than five downtown.

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    • Evan Manvel April 16, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Less than 6% that is … 5/97 = 5.2%.

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  • Chris Sanderson April 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Looked at PBA’s website, thinking that it might be a good idea to join their organization, and bring a bicycle perspective to the milieu of their organization. For a small business like mine, it cost $750 to be a part of their organization! That’s a large chunk of change. Thought that it might be a good idea to do a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to join the organization. Hmmmmmm…. What to do? Any ideas out there Portland?

    -Builder By Bike

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    • peejay April 17, 2013 at 8:48 am

      How about starting a competing business association, one with a lower—or proportional—fee structure, whose stated goal is promotion of healthy, sustainable, community-based business? I think that it would attract many businesses that couldn’t afford to join the PBA, and maybe attract some that are current but dissatisfied PBA members. It would take a whole before this new association had as much clout as the PBA, but politicians are practical, and would eventually see the shift in power.

      I’d start such a thing if the required organizational skills were in my skillset, but they are not. Anyone?

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  • TheGreenMiles April 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Why is this in PDF format & not a JPG? Makes it much harder to share on social media.

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  • Joe April 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

    we still have way too many ppl that drive into downtown and create congression, free up more streets and take away meter parking. build more bike parking show them how driving doesnt solve the problem.

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