Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

A close-up look at the best business bike parking in Portland

Posted by on August 7th, 2014 at 9:51 am

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-16

Right up front, plenty of space, and protected from the weather: Now that’s how you do bike parking.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Even in a city where bike parking in front of businesses is a government-sanctioned program, some business owners still choose to go above and beyond.

Here at BikePortland, we think high-quality, abundant bike parking is an essential element to a bike-friendly city. So when we see a business that truly “gets it,” we jump at the chance to share the example. On that note, today I want to give you a closer look at what I think is the best business bike parking in the entire city of Portland.

Green Zebra Grocery on North Lombard (at Peninsular) opened nearly one year ago and they had a bike-oriented focus from the get-go. Back then, CEO Lisa Sedlar told us she expected about at least 30 percent of her customers would arrive by something other than a car.

Judging by the parking available at the store, that was a conservative estimate. Without taking into account on-street, curbside parking stalls, the Green Zebra parking lot has 16 stalls for cars and capacity for 26 bicycles (13 staple racks).

But good bike parking is about much more than just quantity: It’s about location, quality, and other amenities that make bicycling to the store as easy and convenient as possible.

The highlight of Green Zebra’s bike parking is the large, covered structure. Let’s tick off the things it gets right…

Location: The closer bike parking can get to the main entrance, the better. Green Zebra’s main bike parking structure is placed just a few steps from the front doors. This has many benefits: It’s convenient; it makes the area more secure; and it reminds all customers that the store respects — and expects — bicycling.

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-7

From the rear of the parking lot. Note the bike parking structure in the center-left of the image at the very front of the store.
Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-6

View from the sidewalk of N. Peninsular.
Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-8

In this view you can see capacity for 26 bicycles and just one car.
Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-20

From this view you can see just how close the bike parking structure is to the main entrance.

Quality: The structure itself is beautiful and built from attractive wood and steel. The five staple racks (far superior to ribbon/wave racks and other designs) are fully covered and there’s even plenty of excess room to unpack your bags and mount your rig before heading out into the elements.

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-4

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-19

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-13

Amenities: There’s an inner tube vending machine, loaner tools, an air pump (that’s unfortunately out of order at the moment), and even an outlet for charging devices. And for good measure, we also noticed that a few of the staple racks are wearing zebra-themed, knitted cozies.

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-18

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-10

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-2

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-12

Green Zebra has even added a little bicycling flair inside the store just to drive ride the point home…

Bike parking at Green Zebra Grocery-21

While we know of many businesses in Portland that have great bike parking, we think Green Zebra takes the top prize. What do you think? What other businesses deserve some recognition?

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • GlowBoy August 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Wow, remarkably comparable to the bike parking at Seward Co-Op in Minneapolis.

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson August 7, 2014 at 10:23 am

    portland aerial tram has the largest and best bike parking in north america!

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    • davemess August 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      minus a roof.

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      • davemess August 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        That said Bike Valet at OHSU is great (and a service other companies/businesses should think of) if it’s not raining.

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        • jeff August 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

          they’re still good even if it is raining.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      I agree Kiel that it is great… but it’s not at a destination that could be defined as a “business.” That parking is used by college staff, students, patients, and so on.

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  • Indy August 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I guess the businesses that allow you to park your bike inside your office, and reduce visibility, would be the best, in my mind. I’ve worked for many such companies. It reduces the need to sit there and lock, carry a lock, and allows your bike a nice place to dry.

    But I guess rows of bike stalls for customers is nice, too.

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  • spare_wheel August 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Love the inner tube vending machine.

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  • 9watts August 7, 2014 at 11:29 am

    This is most impressive. New Seasons on Hawthorne missed a huge chance to do something just like this, but they caved and built rooftop car parking instead. Everyone who shops there whether they get there on foot or bike or drive is paying for that unnecessary expense. Dumb.

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  • Editz August 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

    A nice Ahearne parked unlocked? Somebody has some guts.

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    • 9watts August 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

      that would be … the photographer.

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  • dweendaddy August 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I think covered, secure, close bike parking is great.
    I think staples are so so, if a bit better than waves/ribbons and certainly better than wheel bender/toaster style.
    Even better are roll in/roll out, keep the bikes orderly-style parking like:
    And not much more expensive once you build covering and everything.
    Dreaming of great parking….

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    • Adam H. August 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      You can’t properly lock to the frame with those type of racks without a lot of finesse. You don’t want to lock to the thinner metal “wings” because they’re likely thinner than your U-lock.

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    • Spiffy August 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      those wouldn’t work with my kid’s tag-a-long since I have to lock to the rear of my bike in order for the cable to reach around his frame… and my kickstand would likely land right where the wheel guide is at, so it might not even be possible unless I parked on the wrong side of the arm…

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  • Angel August 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Their pedestrian parking is pretty reasonable, too.

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  • Spiffy August 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I thought the entire north end of the block would be auto parking… in the photos you were careful to only shoot to the end of the building, but it looks like the parking continues… how much of that previously vast slab of asphalt is part of the Green Zebra development? my guess is that they developed 2/3 of the block and left the 1/3 of the block to the north as an abandoned parking lot to be sold off later for redevelopment…

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  • Spiffy August 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I went to that store once, because it was across the street from an ex girlfriend… the prices were too high for me to want to go back…

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    • davemess August 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Which is my guess as to why they’ve curbed their expansion plans.

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      • A.K. August 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        Have they stopped all expansion? I go to Green Zebra about once a week just to pick up something quick (beer, bread, etc.) and the store is always busy, and I always have to wait behind people to check out. So it seems like people are shopping there.

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  • Dan August 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I like the bike parking INSIDE Western Bike Works. I can have a beer and gaze lovingly at my lock-free bike.

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    • Spiffy August 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      they have beer? I’m always across the street at Paymaster Lounge when I’m in that area… I’ve only been into Western Bike Works once and it seemed like a normal racing bike store so I didn’t stay long…

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  • TonyT
    TonyT August 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Nice! My only quibble is that the slats on the store side of the bike parking area provide thieves with more cover. I would have it open on the store side so people can better see it from inside.

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  • 9watts August 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    “… it reminds all customers that the store respects — and expects — bicycling.”

    This seems like perhaps the best aspect of all of this. More often than not biking accommodations, whether parking or paths or how PBOT/ODOT/googlemaps wants to route us, are the kid version, sub par, something tacked on, more often than not with a few gaffes built in, or a watered down variant on the original design. To see something that seems to have been done so well, where the folks paid attention to details, upheld high standards not just in the design but also in the execution, gives me hope. Maybe others, who dabble in infrastructure, will take note and stop cutting corners. I hope so.

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  • Christopher Sanderson August 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    The shelter is good work. I’ve been there once to check it out, and was impressed by what they have done.

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  • Jim Lee August 7, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    No dispenser for tubulars!

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  • daisy August 8, 2014 at 9:14 am

    An entry for the flip side: Powell’s newly-renovated entrance at Burnside and 10th is lovely… But it appears there’s no more covered bike parking.

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  • Scott Mizée August 8, 2014 at 11:06 am

    WHAT!?!?!? What happened at Powells? I am going to make an assumption that they have covered parking elsewhere now, but what a sad statement if they have removed the iconic covered parking with the (albeit not extremely functional) book shelf parking racks!

    and what-do-ya-know…. of course bP has already done a story covering this during the design phase. http://bikeportland.org/2013/10/16/renovation-at-powells-books-will-move-iconic-bike-racks-95632

    I wonder if there is a follow up story that I have not yet seen?

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  • Tom August 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    No security camera?

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  • The Odd Duck August 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Did anyone notice the sloppy car that is park in two stalls?

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  • Lester Luallin August 19, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I know it’s been a while since article was posted but I thought about it while at Ikea today. About 16 covered spots on ribbon racks there. No tubes, pump or tools but tubes are available nearby at Sports Authority.

    I lock up there maybe once a month and I’ve never seen another bike there. Guess nobody wants to haul much particle board home via bike. 🙂

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