Wonking Out on Bicycle Parking Policy

Getting to a 25% bicycle mode share is not just a matter of building cycle tracks or expanding the network of off-street trails.

Every part of the experience of using a bike has to get easier and more comfortable, and that includes parking your bike at the end of the trip.

The bicycle master plan has several pages of action items around bike parking, and in the last couple of years while I’ve been on the Planning and Sustainability Commission, we’ve chipped away at a few of them, increasing the number of parking spaces per residential unit and more recently defining the dimensions for spaces in residential buildings.

I recently had the opportunity to testify before the Design Commission on that last point, as a building proposal requested an adjustment to allow much narrower spaces than I thought were workable. In the process I got a big dose of exposure to issues that make bike parking work or not. Some of the things to think about:

  • Is it reasonable to allow the required bike parking to be provided via a hook in the residential unit, where you have to take your bike up an elevator?
  • How much parking can be in wall racks (not everyone can lift a bike onto a wall rack)?
  • If wall racks are staggered vertically, how much can the spacing between bikes be reduced from the standard of two feet (if at all)?
  • Do we need to provide some portion of parking in larger spaces for extracycles, cargo bikes and bakfiets?

Well, we’re going to sort it out! Please join us for a “wonk night” where we’ll tear apart the Bicycle Parking section of the City of Portland Zoning Code and come up with a list of recommendations for updates:

Bicycle Parking Wonk Night
Tuesday, October 29th
Lancaster Engineering
321 SW 4th Ave # 400

Please join us. We expect to have refreshments provided by a sponsor.

6 responses to “Wonking Out on Bicycle Parking Policy”

  1. My two cents: I am strong and active but not tall and I cannot use bike hooks that hold the bike vertically. I have the bruises to prove it when I wrestle my light road bike onto the bike hooks in my garage. Forget the cruiser or the mountain bike- those hooks are too much.

    If women are being accomodated- you have to think about height issues.

    I would like to mix a street planting with bikes spaces. My dislike of our current planners has to do partly with the loss of front yards and trees. Make builders leave space for bikes
    and plants. If the builders aren’t weeping about their profits we are not doing our job.

  2. Chris:
    I had hoped our conversation would also be about bike parking provided for “visitors” (customers?) on-site (such as at supermarkets and retail stores).

    I think there’s room for improvement in, for instance, the use of wave racks (at all) at Fred Meyer, as well as how tightly the racks are packed; and in the spacing of staple racks vis-a-vis the building wall and the edge of ROW at the New Seasons on Williams.

    That’s not to mention the use of the public ROW for required visitor parking. A good (bad) example is the New Seasons Hawthorne racks which are entirely on the public sidewalk and, when filled, narrow the sidewalk more than PBOT supposed they would, and which were placed in the “wrong” place according to the Pedestrian Design Guide.

    Is public ROW bike parking a different conversation?

    I do know that building wall location, establishing a Street Wall, and urban form in general, which speak to Oregon Mamacita’s comments, are probably a different conversation as well.

    • Doug, I think the only boundary condition for the conversation is stuff related to bike parking that is, or could be, controlled by the zoning code. Within that constraint, we’ll talk about whatever topics the folks in the room agree to discuss.

  3. Policy should be to put visitor bike parking in corrals, replacing auto parking as is happening all over already. Sidewalks need to be kept as clear as possible.

  4. Or, onsite, replacing some of Fred Meyer’s parking lot spaces! At built-out sites (which we hope will be the norm), inside the building even for visitors, or… in corrals that are on curb extensions, rather than at roadway level. Like what Powell’s is proposing for their Burnside store. Puts the bikes in a safer position, and still takes away auto parking rather than sidewalk space.

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