BikePortland’s bike parking coverage is sponsored by Huntco Site Furnishings.
Suburban parking lots often fail horribly at bike parking — not because it’s expensive but simply because developers weren’t thinking about it.
But as hundreds of Portland retailers can testify, decent bike parking is a big part of making a business district bike-friendly. It’s a key part of making it feel natural and normal to go out for an errand, a beer, a meeting, a movie or a daycare dropoff on a bicycle.
With low-car lifestyles getting more common in Washington County over the last few years, some people in the area are looking to upgrade the bike parking. That’s why the Westside Transportation Alliance is working on a project right now to select the best locations for new bike racks.
The effort in the Aloha-Reedville area, just west of the Beaverton city limits, came out of a 2014 report by Washington County that named retrofitting bicycle parking as one of the changes needed to make the area more bike-friendly.
It also comes on the heels of a very nice guide to installing suburban bike parking, created by the WTA.
Now, the WTA has created an online map where they’re soliciting suggestions on where bike parking should go. To add your own suggestions, you can click the “edit” icon in the upper left, then tap the purple pin, then tap a desired location.
It’s not the slickest website ever — I was unable to add comments to a demo pin I submitted — but it’s a chance to have some real influence if you know the area. WTA is eager for suggestions on where bike parking should go.
WTA Business Relations Manager Ross Peizer writes that he’d love to get it in front of anyone “who might live or pass through/visit Aloha-Reedville and have ever said ‘such and such place could use a bike rack.'”
— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – email@example.com
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It is probably outside this campaign’s focus area, but for as people-friendly as Orenco is, the area has almost a complete lack of bicycle parking. The TriMet parking facility will help, but it is not a proper solution to neighborhood-wide bike parking. Some on-street corrals (especially along the main thoroughfare, Orenco Station Parkway) would definitely improve this situation.
I’ve never met anyone from the WTA. Aloha and Reedville are quiet places compared to Beaverton, but I suppose those communities could use some bike parking racks.
Places I know of in Beaverton that could use better bike parking facilities:
Both Cedar Hills Crossing and Beav Town Sq. In all those acres of asphalt parking lots, it’s hard to even see a good place to park and secure a bike, let alone find a space that’s open. How about starting with modest sized, 10′-25′ square or so, highly visible, bike parking plazas, places for twenty or more bikes together, rather than a few loop racks here and there?
The Beaverton Farmers’ Mkt could benefit from expanding the covered bike parking shed that’s on the parking lot where the market is held. Sometimes, the shed is filled to capacity, and parking isn’t configured for long wheelbase bikes or bikes with trailers. Could be a day of market set-up affair with canopies…market organizers know how to do that. More people seem to be riding to the market, but parking for bikes being insufficient, must be discouraging to people interested in getting to the market by bike. Goes without saying, that parking a car near the market on market day, can be a major hassle…especially for people that get cited for illegal parking. I’ve seen it happen.
Broadway-Old Town, has very few places for bike parking. Strange, considering that the two or three block strip has sandwich shops, a candy store, tea shop, bars, a bakery, a couple good pizza joints, one of them new, just opened. A huge, largely empty gravel parking lot on the east end of the strip across from the bakery. Gradually, more places to go there, but not good places to park your bike.
The good thing about a rack here and there is that you can park your bike closer to where you are going. It works as long as the racks are in fact installed in good locations, visible (not hidden), etc. Covered is nice, but not necessary.
“…Covered is nice, but not necessary.” tyler
I think that’s right. Mainly mentioned it, thinking of the farmer’s mkt, which has a bit of covered parking, more of which may be an incentive for people to ride their bike to the market during inclement weather. Nice to be able to have a dry spot to pack up your stuff before heading out. Small tent canopies aren’t that hard to put up and take back down.
Some stores external building design have upper fascias that overhang the wall, which would allow some coverage from the elements. Fred’s at town sq is one example…check out the wall space between the west main entry and the liquor store; just one bike rack there. TJ’s has a similar wall space with fascia overhang, to the east of their entry, with just one bike rack there.
Bike parking should be located at businesses, parks, or transit centers where people would want to park bikes. Anywhere you would want to park a car, someone will likely want to park a bike. Any destination one might walk to, even if there is no car parking, might also make a good place for bike parking. Besides locations, I have a few suggestions for business owners about bike parking:
1. Don’t install racks 1 foot (or less) away from an exterior wall.
2. Don’t install racks too close together; don’t assume people don’t mind damaging their bikes just to squeeze them in between other people’s bikes. We wouldn’t expect people to park cars this way, why bikes? Also, people who have just patronized your business may have purchases they need to load into bags or baskets (or kids to strap into seats!), and need room to stand beside their bikes while loading.
3. Just use simple “staple” racks, don’t try to get fancy.
4. Install bike parking in a covered area, if possible
5. Don’t crowd the bike parking you do have with outdoor merchandise displays (lookin’ at you, QFC and Home Depot).
6. If you don’t want to put bike parking in an obvious place, then put a sign in the obvious place that points to your bike parking, e.g., “Covered bike parking this way —>”
There are really some very simple things that, if done right, can make a huge difference in the quality of bike parking. If done wrong, those same simple, simple things can make a well-intentioned attempt at bike parking nearly useless.
I’ve complained to the Costco in Hillsboro regarding their bike parking, basically breaks each point you just put out
1. It is less than a foot from the wall, meaning I can’t get a front tire through it
2. Only being one set of racks it’s hard to put it too close to another…
3. Serpentine style rack, only a single point of securing if used as designed, except that they put them less than a foot from the wall so you’re lucky if you get that single point.
4. Most Costco’s (at least ones in Washington state where aluminum and bottles don’t have deposits) have bicycle parking shaded near the entrance under cover from the weather. This location, if I visit others I may take a look, decided to place the can depo’s in the location that bike racks generally go and placed the bike racks somewhere else.
5. They haven’t crowded their racks with merchandise, but they did forget to put a ramp going up to the bike racks which are on the sidewalk. You literally have to ride another 100-200′ to where an emergency door is placed then ride on the sidewalk back towards the bike parking and hope that no one decided that this narrow strip of sidewalk also doubles as a cart return.
6. No sign indicating where bike parking would be. And since it is on the other side of the tire center you might not even know they have bike parking. Most people I’ve noticed just lock up with handicap parking signs instead, and I don’t blame them.
The Costco in Hillsboro decided against going the extra distance for bicycle parking that we have seen with their stores in almost every other aspect. They have carts that are larger and maintained, they have wider parking spaces with buffers between each one, even wider aisles in the stores. When they had a choice to make concerning Oregon’s can deposits they threw the bikes to the wind. The can depo’s took priority and bikes were moved elsewhere.
It’s not just that bikes were moved elsewhere though, but where they were moved to. Instead of using the ample room that is still left next to the can depository machines, which is now given to their flat carts, they moved the bike racks to the other side of the tire center. Which wouldn’t be so bad except it is next to the smoke break area (which, by the way, is sheltered), and on top of a foul smelling sewer outlet. If I want to visit Costco while riding my bike I am greeted with lack of a ramp to get up to the bike parking unless I want to jump the curb (have fun doing that with your bike trailer you brought to carry a load of Costco groceries) or happen to know that the ramp is located another 100-200′ in the opposite direction of the entrance.
Once you have made it onto the sidewalks and through empty shopping carts which were propped up on the sidewalk rather than placed in a return bin and finally get to the bike racks you are greeted by the sewer stench, and if you are lucky, by an employee outside enjoying their cigarettes. Now the fun begins, how to lock up your bike.
The serpentine style racks look like they should hold a lot of bikes, but that only holds true if you can use them from both sides. Not having any clue about how bike racks are used they placed them as close to the wall as possible. This makes only one side useful. Sometimes you’ll come and find a bike parked parallel to the rack, effectively making it a two bike rack at best.
Now you’ve locked your bike up and go inside. You get a cart and grab the item you wanted, and a couple others you saw, checkout and are on your way back out pushing your cart. You get up to your bike rack and realize, yet again, that there is no ramp to get your grocery cart up to the sidewalk, and the only ramp available is another 100-200′ down the parking lot that you’ll need to walk back, or you pop a wheelie with the cart and push it up onto the sidewalk.
With your groceries now loaded there is no obvious spot to return the cart to, unless you really do enjoy walking back to the ramp, then back to the entrance. You could just park it at the employee smoking area, or leave it next to the bike racks for the next cyclist to deal with. The next thing is making it back down the sidewalk, hopefully without any carts in the way, down the ramp, and now you’re back in the parking lot.
Heh—you reminded me of one other issue related to bottle/can return machines: Dear Store Managers, please don’t put bike parking in a place where we have to wheel or ride through the broken glass dropped near these machines. Even better, use a shop-vac or something to clean up the glass shards after emptying the glass bin.
I faced the same challenge as you mention at Costco Hillsboro and decided to complain to them about it. They were very understanding and called me back stating that they will get it fixed. Within a few weeks, they had installed new bike rack staples on the other side of the entrance (near the ADA accessible parking spots). I don’t know if you got the chance to see them but they’ve been there for almost 1 year now.
I wrote them a follow up thank you note afterwards and I’m a satisfied subscriber to their membership program. 🙂
Thanks for sharing our Aloha-Reedville Bike Parking Project!
Sorry the comment feature didn’t work for you. In case anyone else is having similar issues, here are directions on placing a pin AND including a comment:
Find locations where you think new bike parking should be located.
Click the ‘Edit’ button just below the search bar in the top-left corner of the map window.
Click the purple pin icon in the edit window, then click the map in the location you want the pin dropped.
Optional: Fill out the form to indicate if you frequent this location as a visitor or employee and add any additional comments you have (limited to 140 characters)
Close out of the comment window to save your pin; you’re done!
If you have any questions, let us know! Appreciate the feedback. Keep the pins and comments coming!
We are big fans of the WTA Bike Parking Guide, it’s really well-designed and has been so helpful to us and our clients! Thanks for putting it out!
The WTA needs to push Washington County to stop turning roads into freeways (note the speeds now on NW Bethany Blvd). Washington County needs a halt to any future drive-thru development. Garden Home doesn’t need the proposed drive-thru coffee biz.
Please install bike parking, whenever possible, to be viewable from inside the business, and within sightlines of any security cameras. I’ve been to too many places where the bike facilities are off to the side, around the corner, out back, hidden with shrubs etc. Doesn’t make me want to stay in the store very long, if I stop at all.
I’d agree with CK – keep the bike parking visible – don’t put it around the corner where vandals and thieves have some privacy.
In the Tanasbourne/Orenco area of west Beaverton, most businesses have a bike parking rack – usually finding one isn’t a problem but sometimes they are around the corner in the back – the Costco near Brookwood is a good example.
When I’m home, I park the bike in the house – I would never park a bike outdoors at my residence even if there was a bike rack.
Bike parking guide:
How to choose a bike rack:
San Fran Bike parking:
Madison bike parking:
Lots more on Al Gore’s electric internet.
I only liked this comment because of the Al Gore reference.
The Al Gore reference was only made to make fun of Al’s claim that he invented the internet.
This is a cool project. That’s WTA.
I haven’t seen a lot of riders in this area, but reaching out to people for input on bike parking locations is a neat concept and a great way to get more people moving around on two wheels.
This probably isn’t something the WTA can help with, but my son wants to park his bike at Sunset High School to catch the bus to his middle school.
They have one small wave rack in the MIDDLE of the parking lot, and then about 20 bike hooks attached to the building that are too high for him to lift his bike to, with nothing to lock to, and no windows or cameras nearby (they are on a brick wall facing the parking lot). Looks like bike theft paradise to me.
We need equity: as long as there is a zoning requirement for automotive parking there should be a similar requirement for safe and secure bicycle parking.
Definitely need more bike parking on the westside. My most frequent complaint was about OnPoint (the old location on the SE corner of Cedar Hills/Walker). I asked their customer service several times if they could provide bike parking, and ultimately talked to the branch manager who said they couldn’t do it themselves and had requested it from their landlord, but no action was happening.
Since then they’ve moved across the street, and have a bike rack right in front of their door.