From St. Johns to Lents, and all points in between, the City of Portland has 145 bike parking corrals. The groupings of blue staple racks have become a standard piece of street furniture and a symbol of Portland’s commitment to cycling.
But how often are they used? Are some overcrowded? Should they be larger? Smaller? And how does Biketown figure into the equation?
These are just some of the questions the Bureau of Transportation hopes to answer with a new, crowdsourced bike corral reporting project. Using a short online form, PBOT wants to know three basic pieces of information: How many bikes are parked at the corral, if they include Biketown bikes, and the date/time of the observation.
With this data, PBOT’s Scott Cohen says, the City will be able to manage the corrals more effectively. “It’s always good to have data so we can plan better.” A recent exchange Cohen had with a property owner exemplifies the need to understand usage. “He was doing his own count and telling us no one was using the bike corral,” Cohen said. “Then we spoke to the businesses and they said everyone uses them and they definitely need it. There was a disconnect.”
Portland’s corrals have been a big success since they debuted in September 2008. For many years PBOT managed a backlog of eager businesses hoping to make their storefronts more convenient and appealing to bicycle users. Cohen says PBOT has finally caught up with demand, which frees them up to be more proactive about how existing racks are managed.
Another thing on PBOT’s mind is how/if the robust network of bike corrals could serve as designated parking spaces for Biketown bikes. The City already uses many of their corral spaces as free parking around busy bike share stations — and we’ve heard they’re considering doing even more of this in the future as a way to expand the Biketown service area (more on that later).
Help PBOT get good data by submitting reports via the bike corral reporting form.