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CityTarget’s missing bike parking was rare oversight, PBOT says

Posted by on July 30th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Parking coming soon.
(Photos © M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After some of its would-be customers let Target know that bike parking isn’t optional among big downtown Portland retailers, the new CityTarget is likely to get some sidewalk bike parking of its own — a bit late.

“I’m meeting with Target on Monday to go put more bike parking in,” Portland Bureau of Transportation bike parking coordinator Scott Cohen said Tuesday. “I’m going to ask them what they think they need.”

Cohen said he expected that it’d be easy to install several more bike staples near Target’s entrance.

As we wrote last week, the discount retailer and pharmacy was courted by city leaders as a new retail anchor for downtown’s west-end “Pioneer District” and launched with a fixie-focused marketing campaign. Then it opened with what was, for a major retailer in its area, an odd lack of on-site bike parking.

Cohen said this was due to a miscommunication in the city offices. Ordinarily, he said, the city would have tapped its bike parking fund, which is paid for by developers such as Target’s landlords at the Galleria, to install parking based loosely on Target’s retail square footage — probably a handful of new sidewalk staples, Cohen said.

“Nobody came around and said ‘We need bike parking,'” Cohen said. “Target never came to us. The planner never came around and said, ‘Here’s the bike parking situation.’ We never went to the planner and target and said, ‘What’s happening with bike parking?’ … The communication chain did not work, but the code did work, and the result will be the same. It’s just not going to be happening right as Target opens.”

Also, Target is making short-run plans to direct shoppers to their building’s hard-to-find underground bike parking. Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels wrote Tuesday that “window clings will be put up this week directing guests to bike parking available in the ramp and how to access it. At Target, we want all our guests to have a great experience in our stores, and we hope this will help guests arriving on bikes know where they can go to store their bikes.”

“If it’s 150 feet away, it’s just too far. That’s the way bike behavior works..”
— Scott Cohen, PBOT

Cohen said the reason for the city’s oversight was that he and his PBOT colleague Sarah Figliozzi typically take it on themselves to look up whether a developer has opted to provide indoor its own bike parking or, alternatively, to pay into the bike parking fund. In the case of Target, the city’s planner, who works in a different city bureau, determined that the retailer was off the hook for this requirement because its landlords had paid into the bike parking fund during a major 2006 remodel. Because Target hadn’t paid into the fund, Cohen and Figliozzi incorrectly assumed that the retailer was providing indoor parking and that they didn’t have to worry about it.

Cohen said he and Figliozzi will be talking to their colleagues in Portland’s Bureau of Development Services and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to figure out “how we can be looped in so that we can be sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.”

“This works 99 percent of the time,” he said.

As for the signs directing Target customers to park their bikes around the block in an underground garage, Cohen said it “never hurts to tell people where there’s more bike parking” but predicted that few people will walk down the ramp and back to use the racks.

“If it’s 150 feet away, it’s just too far,” Cohen said. “That’s the way bike behavior works.”

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  • Spiffy July 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    “If it’s 150 feet away, it’s just too far,” Cohen said. “That’s the way bike behavior works.”

    that’s human behaviour, not just bikes…

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    • captainkarma July 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      same with cars at the malls…

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  • Anne Hawley July 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Good news, but I wonder if the install-a-staple process will happen any faster for this much-courted retailer than it does for regular businesses not downtown. My doctor’s office in Hollywood has been waiting more than a year, from what they tell me.

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    • Scott Cohen July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Please let me know the location you are interested in bike parking and I will conduct a site investigation within two weeks. There is not a year-long waiting process for racks. A contact person at the location is appreciated as well.

      Scott Cohen
      City of Portland Bureau of Transportation

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      • Esther July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Scott has always been helpful and responsive. I have put in several requests regarding abandoned bikes and problematic staples downtown and he has always dealt with them expediently. Thank you Scott!! 🙂

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  • Dwainedibbly July 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Several disjointed thoughts: There is a LOT of room inside the entrance, near the Starbucks. They could put some racks in there. I hope that a bikeshare station goes in by the streetcar stop on 10th. The sidewalk on 10th is very wide, so there would be plenty of room. There are 4 parking spaces on 10th that could be converted to a bike corral. The City admits to at least some of the responsibility in this oversight, so maybe they will give priority to the installation of more bike parking.

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  • d July 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Ooops. snafu #1 will reflect in initial sales figures. Who is driving the economic development boat down there at PDC now?

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  • Joe July 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    felt this coming on when I walked by last weekend. you wanta know whats even funny’er finding bike parking at a bike store in the burbs with nothing outside. 🙂 or stores in the burbs NO bike parking, since lotta fokes live in their cars. lol

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  • Ted Buehler July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Nice work, Jonathan and Michael for getting this problem in the news, and Scott for getting on it quickly.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Scott Cohen July 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    One clarification, Michael: Developers don’t need to provide “indoor bike parking” to meet short-term bike parking requirements. The bike parking must be on private property, but it can be (and usually is) outside.

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  • Ted Buehler July 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    “Scott Cohen said Tuesday. “I’m going to ask them what they think they need.””

    As per chart 266-6 in the city’s “Parking and Loading” code, it is
    * short term spaces, 1 per 5000 sf of building area.
    * long term spaces, 1 per 12,000 sf of building area.

    Target is 89,000 sf. So that’s a minimum of
    * short term spaces: 18
    * long term spaces: 8

    Hopefully they’ll put in lots more than just 26 total. The code was probably last revised when Portland bicycle mode share was only a fraction of what it is today.

    Also, the building itself is 200,000 sf (or 240,000 sf with basement), so the remaining 151,000 sf warrant bike parking as well.

    At just the upper levels of office space, 111,000 sf, it’s
    * short term spaces, 1 per 10,000 sf of building area
    * long term spaces, 1 per 40,000 sf of building area
    (from chart 266-6)

    For the upper levels of the Galleria, that’s
    * short term spaces: 12
    * long term spaces: 3


    Total minimum parking for redevelopment should have been
    * short term spaces: 30
    * long term spaces: 11

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler July 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      30 spaces is a double-length bike corral plus a few sidewalk staples.

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    • Scott Cohen July 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      That’s not how the Bike Parking Fund works Ted. Here’s how: http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=154748.

      It’s worth noting that the fees are not current in that document (but you can read about how they are updated).

      Pg. 16 “Priorities for Siting Bicycle Parking” is the key section on administering the BPF.

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      • Ted Buehler July 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        Scott — thanks for the quick reply.

        Question — regardless of funding, wasn’t The Galleria required to be brought up to code as part of the “moderate improvement to the property?”


        2030 Bicycle Master Plan

        Portland’s code requires that new developments provide both short and long term bicycle parking (Title 33.266.200) The code also requires that buildings out of compliance with current code come into compliance with short-term requirements when they initiate a moderate improvement to the property (Title 33.258.070.D.1.d & 33.258.070.D.2.b.3)

        http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/289122 (chapter 3)


        Ted Buehler

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        • Scott Cohen July 31, 2013 at 9:14 am

          I’m not sure Ted. That’s a question for the planning or development services staff that works on building code.

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  • annefi July 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Whatever bike parking they come up with, I’d just like my bike to still be there when I’m finished shopping.

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  • Ted Buehler July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    & these are minimums — the Portland 2030 Bicycle Master Plan calls to “Make Portland’s Central City superlatively bicycle-friendly.”
    http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/289122 Chapter 3, Section 3.7.3

    Does anyone know when the bike parking code was most recently updated?

    If it’s fairly recent, then maybe the minimums are adequate. But if its more than 5 years old, then these minimum numbers will be pretty skimpy for a store that sent out a advertisement featuring a picture of someone shopping by bike in a spiffy mailer to 100,000+ city residents…

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  • TOM July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    NOT a comment on the Target situation, but Portland retailers in general.

    I like to stop for a cheap lunch many times when on a long ride. Most of the fast food places “don’t get it” . Have yet to find a McDonalds with bike parking . BK is somewhat better. At the Taco Bell on se 185 & Stark they had a serviceable rack before their remodel , now there is a portable rack from the 1950’s where you stick 4 inches on your front tire in. Some
    Goodwills are good, others non-existent. Many of them a “U lock” just won’t work. Even the new Bike Gallery on 82nd had
    no bike parking 🙁

    Do they not care that they are losing potential customers ?

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    • spare_wheel July 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Consider the lack of bike parking at fast factory-farmed food your gain.

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    • Titov July 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      TOM, I emailed a Taco Bell once sating that without a bike rack at my local store, I wouldnt be a customer. I never got a reply, and a year later, no bike racks.

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  • Drew July 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Inside bike parking would be a big plus on my decision to patronize a business. The only spot I can think of is the NW lucky lab. I hope more businesses consider it as a way to bring the customers.

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    • nuovorecord July 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Spirit of ’77 has inside bike parking too, if you’re looking to expand your circle of watering holes. 😉

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      • Craig Harlow July 31, 2013 at 9:06 am

        Velocult: copious outdoor racks and indoor (freestanding, not racks) parking, if I’m not mistaken.

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  • Scott July 31, 2013 at 7:15 am

    great article. great subject. hoping for a great outcome.

    it is too bad Portland’s MulvannyG2 Architecture was not chosen by Target to design this store in their back yard. I could place a pretty good bet that they would not have overlooked the bike parking needs. just sayin…

    I also find this whole situation very ironic since Target is using a BICYCLE to proclaim their entrance to the city retail market on their extra-large billboard at the Morrison Bridge Viaduct on the Portland Storage Building across from River City Bicycles…

    Glad to see the situation is getting resolved. Big Kudos to Mr. Cohen for jumping on this right away!

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  • Dave July 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Here’s an idea: Target installs INDOOR bike parking, right next to a coffee bar, and rents long-term parking for non-Target shoppers. Cyclists using the parking might find out they need to buy Target products after all.

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  • maxadders July 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Process and oversight was thrown out the window while we oohed and ahhhed big-name corporations? In Portland? Well I never.

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  • merlin July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Your readers may be interested in the bike parking situation at City Target in Seattle. They installed two large racks in the garage, easily accessible and under surveillance, and even put a big neon bike logo on the garage entrance signs. Trouble is, people on bikes can’t see the signs so the racks are rarely used. I wrote about this when the store opened: http://transportation-nag.blogspot.com/2012/07/citytarget-transportation-near-miss.html

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  • TOM July 31, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    TOM, I emailed a Taco Bell once sating that without a bike rack at my local store, I wouldnt be a customer. I never got a reply, and a year later, no bike racks.

    thats the stupid part of the Taco Bell story …they HAD a decent one before their remodel , then replaced it with a junk portable after the remodel.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    This snafu reads like the City has silos and needs to reboot its parking and development checklist, so that it does not take “superhuman” bike planner mojo to double check things. If it happened on such a visible project then the projects on the margins are toast [racked].

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  • Todd Boulanger July 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I say the above…in light that the City is gunning for ~25% bike mode split very very soon! How will this happen if the day to day things (low hanging fruit) do not get done to support this Citywide policy?! You can only do so many curb side staples.

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  • Scott Mizée August 1, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Target needs a BikeSPA!!! 🙂

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  • Ted Buehler August 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I’m hosting a letter-writing party, today, 5-7 at the Mexican restaurant on the corner of 9th and Morrison — I’ll have letter supplies — crafty or simple — stop by, make a note saying how you think they need some bad-ass bike parking, like between 2 and 4 bike corrals, and drop it off at customer service.

    Ted Buehler

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  • BIKELEPTIC August 5, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Though I appreciate their backpedaling “Oh that was just an oversight. We intended bike parking all along. I guess it just got lost in the building hubbub” *cough cough* lip service – building a system that is unaccessible is kind of unacceptable. http://www.koin.com/2013/08/03/wheelchair-too-wide-city-target-removes-post/

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  • Robert Burchett August 9, 2013 at 9:30 am

    On SW 10th Av., at Main St., you can see a billboard much like all the other Target billboards, except on this one the bike is actually locked to the logo sign, with a cable lock of all things.

    I think the ad agency put one over on Target.

    Now: where is that sign we’re supposed to lock up to?

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  • Scott August 9, 2013 at 10:25 am

    ha! where’s MY bullseye bike rack!??

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  • Scott August 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I couldn’t find the image you are talking about, but DID find out about Targets efforts to feed hungry children through selling “collapsable” bikes.

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