Gravel - Cycle Oregon

The beautiful new bike parking at Roosevelt High School in north Portland

Posted by on April 13th, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Purdy isn’t it?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Few things warm my heart as much as bike parking done right.

So imagine my pleasure upon seeing this at Roosevelt High School last night.

My daughter is a freshman at Roosevelt — a pillar of the St. Johns community founded in 1921 — and we were attended an event there last night. I’ve been watching progress on the major renovation project for the past year and was excited to see the bike parking emerge from the construction zone. They’re just one part of the project that’s included in the $482 million school bond approved by Portland voters in November 2012.

School bike parking is particularly important to me because it can set the tone for young people at an impressionable age. Treat bikes with respect, my thinking goes, and the students will treat them with respect too.

And Roosevelt’s new bike racks are very respectful. What’s so good about them?

➤ They are located right up in front, so that everyone who uses the main entrance can see them. If people can’t see bike parking, they won’t bike! Visible bike racks also make them much more secure.
➤ They are covered. In this town, having a roof over bike parking should be a standard requirement.
➤ They are well-spaced and big enough for all types of bikes.
➤ They are simple “staples” and not some cutesy art-rack one-offs that don’t work.

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It seems easy enough, but it’s often done poorly. Take Ockley Green Middle School for instance (photo below). Portland Public Schools was nice enough to give parents the green light to install new bike parking — but the location they approved is very very bad. The nice racks we built are now hidden behind the school and behind a chain-link fence. What a waste!

The sad placement of a bike parking structure at Ockley Green Middle School.

PPS and the Bureau of Transportation should make an example out of these racks at Roosevelt and make sure every other high school in the district works to upgrade their parking to the same standard.

Here are a few more images…

Took this one to show orientation to the main entrance, which is in the background to the right.

The only thing missing from the racks are a bunch of bikes. I’m sure those will fill in soon.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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

33 Comments
  • Todd Boulanger April 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Jonathan – yes its secure and covered…but this type of design is not very weatherproof in our windy rainy climate…I would suggest raising the bar to have a 3/4 enclosed style common in Europe and on college campuses…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      I knew the first comment would tell me it’s not the best bike parking ever!

      I know it can be better Todd. But I think it’s good enough to warrant high praise.

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      • Todd Boulanger April 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

        Fair enough.

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      • Todd Boulanger April 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

        …So for the future…this is more the functionality that covered longterm school bike parking (Grade 6 thru college) needs to be…http://www.urbanracks.com/bikeshelters.html

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        • DP April 15, 2018 at 10:28 pm

          I like it. The one thing I keep thinking is missing from these sheltered racks are gutters. I used to work at Intel Jones Farm in Hillsboro, great bike parking, but when it’s pouring rain you have to walk through a shower as you go from the covered bike parking to the entrance. I know it’s a small thing, but it would be nice to have the run off go down a gutter like all other buildings.

          Other than that, the ones they have installed look great, I wish that was the standard at businesses too. Also agree with the artsy comment. Hillsboro has a bunch of artsy ones installed that I couldn’t lock my bike too with the box on the back, simple staples really are the way to go.

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          • Ryan April 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm

            The covers here at least slope back away from where most people would tend to be entering/exiting from. So (hopefully) the showers will be relegated to one side that can be easily avoided.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy April 16, 2018 at 8:27 am

        Jonathan, I wonder how it feels to try to provide a service to an audience that is never going to be happy with things.

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    • Mike Quigley April 14, 2018 at 6:11 am

      And half the racks are completely uncovered! Plus, the covers themselves are way too tall to block rain and wind. Looks like an architect’s add-on for feel good purposes.

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      • Gary April 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        And where’s the radiant floor heating and warm towel service?!?

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  • pea April 13, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    i’ve lived in St Johns for over 11 years, and was a member of the design group PPS put together (no comment on the work of the group or our input/suggestions!)… and this is by far the best part of the school remodel. we just need to keep recreating it at the new apartment complexes in the ‘hood that people are complaining about not having enough [auto] parking. 😉

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  • John Lascurettes April 13, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    These are lovely. But don’t knock that behind the school rack too much. Is out front better than behind the school? That is, if the racks are out front but generally unattended during the school day are bikes more likely to get pinched for accessories and parts?

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    • John Lascurettes April 15, 2018 at 11:09 am

      For example. My kid is going to go to Benson next year. It seems like the inner courtyards of Benson are a much more protected area from casual passers by.

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  • jcohen71 April 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    For what it’s worth, we took a hard look at installing the Ockley Green bike shelters out front on Montana Ave. There is some concrete area in the parking strip that might have worked, but was found to conflict with school bus loading zones. There is also plenty of grassy area out front, but we did not have sufficient budget for pouring concrete.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty April 13, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    For a counterpoint, see the bike parking in front of Franklin HS. Very nice looking, but not under the adjacent shelter. So close, yet so far.

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  • Glenn F April 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Better covered area’s then most of our new parks…
    I just do get why all parks in the portland area don’t come with some sort of covered area…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 13, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      You mean kind of like a covered sleeping pavillion?

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      • Middle of the Road Guy April 16, 2018 at 8:29 am

        Maybe the city can build structures near the freeway on/off ramps also…close the loop on this issue.

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  • David Hampsten April 13, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Where are the benches that students need for hanging out? All I see are lots of narrow upside-down U-shaped benches, not very comfortable, but better than nothing. And yeah John, I can see lots of parts and bikes stolen, much like the racks at PSU. Typical bureaucracy – too much of one thing, not enough of everything else. C’mon designers, design for people, not for bicycles.

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    • Scott Mizée April 16, 2018 at 10:37 am

      huh?..?…? could you rephrase that for me, please?

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  • B. Carfree April 13, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    I don’t see very many spaces. Is this a very tiny school, or are they planning for most everyone to show up by some other mode?

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    • Scott Mizée April 16, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Right now very few students bike to RHS. My kids have been attending Roosevelt since before the remodel in 2013. They very rarely rode their bikes there and when they did, I was always concerned about the safety of their bikes with now visible and adequate parking. This is a great move and though, not the best, I support it and the good effort in the right direction.

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  • Kyle Banerjee April 13, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    It’s nice. And that’s plenty of protection from elements — it’s riding in slop that trashes the tranny, eats your rims, etc rather than having a few water droplets on fall on it while it’s doing nothing. It’s not like the human or the bike are going to avoid the elements while they’re riding…

    The only question is whether the capacity is sufficient to meet demand. As nice as the racks look, I hope can accommodate more bikes than a single row of cars in the parking lot.

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    • Scott Mizée April 16, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Kyle, right now, there is plenty of space to meet the demand.

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  • Furious Bikes April 14, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Its a great initiative for the school to recognize the essence of such structures since most students commute with bikes everyday

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  • mh April 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I appreciate that they are spaced at more (probably twice) the minimum. No handlebar tangles, no pedal tangles, no “sorry I accidentally ran my accessories cable lock through your frame” apologies.

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  • Andrew Kreps April 15, 2018 at 12:01 am

    What’s the percentage of kids who ride to school there? A quick back-of-the envelope calculation shows 6.8% of kids enrolled have a parking space in the bike area (I counted 32 racks * 2 bikes). That bike parking is better than any I’ve seen at any school, though I find the numbers interesting, since they closely match the Portland adult commuting-by-bike numbers we’ve stalled at for the past 10 years or so.

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  • Al Dimond April 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Wasn’t another school’s beautiful, super-wide-spaced bike parking posted here a few months ago, along with pictures of bikes locked up to fences because there the beautiful parking didn’t have enough capacity?

    Dutch train stations show the way: lots of space-efficient bike parking for the masses with small/light/maneuverable bikes, and some extra-large spaces for people that actually need them. Placed wherever it fits. This gets the symbolism right; a real mass-cycling culture will demand the practicalities, too.

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  • Jim Lee April 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Nice photos, as always, JM.

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  • Bald One April 15, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    That school re-model is beautiful. Glad they got those racks done right!

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  • Joe Adamski April 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    One thing to note is Roosevelt is on the east end of the Central Street Neighborhood Greenway, and connections to much of North Portland. Having good parking is a major plus, but safe connections are the Holy Grail to riding to school.

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  • Scott Mizée April 16, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for the article, Jonathan. I was also very pleased to see the covered bike parking here. Perhaps the RHS Boosters, Alumni, or PTA can help add some horizontal rain protection. One advantage of the way the new racks are laid out now, is the bikes are highly visible from all directions.

    Hearty Thanks to PPS for installing these! This should be the minimum standard at all schools in Portland.

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  • christine August 8, 2018 at 2:09 am

    wow! I am impressed…if only they would have these bike parking lots where I come from, more people would be riding to school and to work. unfortunately our road networks dont put into consideration the people who would love to bike to wherever especially in the urban areas..this is just awesome

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