Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Another mention of the idea of creating a network of metropolitan scale secure bicycle parking facilities

Another example of the need for a wide range of better bicycle parking options

One of the many hindrances to taking up biking for transportation in a regularized fashion is the lack of quality bicycle parking facilities, especially of a secure nature.

This is from entries that have been codified over the past couple years. And builds from the concept of creating a system that supports regularized travel by bicycle, as illustrated by this graphic from a past German national bicycle plan.
Bicycle Traffic as a system, diagram, German National Bicycle Plan, 2002-2012

Create a city-wide and metropolitan-wide system of protected bike parking that is easy to use. The Parkiteer system in Victoria State/Melbourne, Australia is the model ("Bike to Work Day as an opportunity to assess the state of bicycle planning: Part 2, building a network of bike facilities at the regional scale").

Centered on Melbourne, the Parkiteer system is a network of 90+ secure bicycle parking cages at railroad and transit stations.  While many European, Asian, and South American cities provide similar types of bike cages, Parkiteer is different in that each cage is a node in a common network, rather than each a free standing facility with different membership and entry access systems.

Bayswater Station, Melbourne, Parkiteer Bicycle Parking Cage
Bayswater Station, Melbourne, Parkiteer Bicycle Parking Cage

I am suggesting the creation of a networked secure bike parking system covering the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, one that isn't transit agency/jurisdiction specific, but functional without respect to agency or jurisdiction (like how you can use the SmarTrip/CharmCard across transit agencies, even though technically, the card program is run by WMATA), including:
  • key activity centers, not just transit stations;
  • use city and county parking structures as opportunities for providing high quality protected bike parking.  For example, With the opening of the Purple Line, parking authorities in Montgomery and Prince George's should commit to participating;
  • provide such facilities in dense neighborhoods like Columbia Heights DC, where apartment buildings constructed before 1950 typically don't have parking garages;
  • not than focus exclusively on bike cages like the Parkiteer program, work to employ a wide variety of high quality secure bicycle parking options designed according to the location's conditions, opportunities, and potential for the most cost-effective installation;
The way the Parkiteer program works is that "members" pay a one-time $50 fee for a key fob which allows them to open the access control device.  They can use any of the Parkiteer sites across the network.  There is no daily use fee for parking.

Ideally, a wide variety of high quality parking options would be employed, not just the "cages" used in the Parkiteer program
.Biceberg underground bicycle parking
The Biceberg underground bicycle parking system works with an above-ground kiosk.

Interior bicycle racks, Logan Square station, blue line subway, Chicago
At the Logan Square CTA station in Chicago, protected bike parking is available within the station, behind the fare gates, in interstitial space.

Note that the Biceberg has the capacity of 23, 46, 69, or 92 bikes, depending on the underground configuration (each unit of 23 equals the cubic feet of one parking space), while the bike cages used in the Parkiteer program have a capacity of 30.  Plus, it seems that the Parkiteer program's cages are pretty expensive.

In any case there are a variety of spaces (indoors, garages, underground options, etc.) that should be utilized for such a program.

Underground options would be important to incorporate in high density urban neighborhoods, where buildings constructed 100 years ago or more tend to not have spaces that work for conversion to convenient bicycle parking.

There are some proto examples here and there, but they don't operate on the scale or approach of  ParkiteerSanta Ana, California has a few bike shelters in its Downtown that are accessed by paying members.  Indianapolis had a similar system called Indiana Bike Port but the program has been discontinued.

Complement a metropolitan-scale bicycle parking system with bike/mobility hubs.  In the SF Bay area and in Los Angeles County the transit agencies have a number of bike hubs, although membership is facility specific.

In Los Angeles, bike hubs--with repair and other services--sometimes are paired with secure bicycle parking facilities, such as at LA Union Station.

LA Metro bicycle hub, Union Station, Loa Angeles
Bike Hub side of the secure parking facility at LA Union Station.

LA Metro bicycle hub, Union Station, Loa Angeles
They offer longer term bike rental, have a rack of tourism information (but not good info on local bicycle routes and infrastructure), a patio area for sitting, etc.

LA Metro bicycle hub, Union Station, Loa Angeles

The thing is that from a profit standpoint, it can be tough for these facilities to work out financially, because the demand for bicycle sales etc. can be low.  Providing free or severely low rent, working with nonprofit bike co-ops, etc. could be other options.

I also like the idea of positioning these facilities as "lifestyle stores" promoting sustainable mobility as a way to rebrand transit sales and information centers ("LimeBike and "scooter lifestyle stores" as an example of forward marketing for sustainable mobility").

I argue that major transit stations ("Takoma Langley Crossroads Transit Center: a critical evaluation"), airports ("Why not a bicycle hub at National Airport?, focused on capturing worker trips but open to all"), and major districts should have such facilities.
Merseyrail Liverpool transit ticket office
Merseyrail Liverpool transit ticket office

The Bike Center in Santa Monica is a good example of such a center serving a commercial district. They get reduced rent on the ground floor of a parking garage, but otherwise it isn't part of a city transportation initiative.  They offer a membership program with access to secure parking, showers, lockers and towel service.

Mobility hubs need to provide/display comprehensive information on bikeways.  The Takoma Bicycle Shop has a large poster size copy of the DC Bicycle Map on one of its walls.  This kind of treatment needs to be more widespread, especially at transit hubs.  The Takoma Bike Shop also has information racks with area bicycle maps and other information.  It's not fully comprehensive, but much further ahead of most other bike shops.
Large copy of Washington DC Bicycle Map posted on a wall of the Takoma Bicycle Shop, Takoma Park, Maryland

Bicycle map information rack, Takoma Bicycle Shop, Takoma Park, Maryland

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At 12:09 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

off topic:

sorry I haven't been replying much. Local politics is hard!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

thanks for this, I likely wouldn't have come across it.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I appreciate your comments always, when you do make them.

... wrt local politics. Good that you're involved. I'm in a burned out phase.

But I've always said in my involvements that it's key to always aim to bring "new people" in and build capacity, figuring that on average, if you can keep people active for a "five year long generation" that's great. Of course, you have to keep filling that pipeline.

e.g., I don't go to planning sessions much, because I expect little will happen.

I didn't go to the Rock Creek East Livability (transportation/DDOT) study kick off. But I relented and submitted 50+ comments...

Library Master Plan sessions are coming up. But I am burned out there too. I was pissed because I wanted to apply for a public engagement position for DCPL, but it had a hard requirement for a masters degree, and I considered applying regardless, but finally came to the conclusion of "what's the use?"

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Eva Green said...

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At 6:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, just two comments on this post about networked bike parking facilities:

1. There are 8 networked bike stations here in the San Francsico Bay Area's BART system. They all use eLock Technology's BikeLink card as access media. Anyone with a BikeLink card can use the stations which are located in or very near BART stations.
2. Regarding the relative cost of the Parkiteer cages vs. the Biceberg, I don't have any information on construction costs for either, but I am confidend just from looking at the pictures that the Biceberg would be an order of magnitude more expensive to construct and maintain.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

@unknown -- thanks for commenting. Years ago when bidding on bike share systems, we were trying to put a bid together for the SF job, and we talked with the guy who at least back then, was running the bike hubs for BART, if I recall, Gene something... Great program. Clearly, LA Metro is modeling their program after BART.

2. Surprisingly, the Parkiteer cages are pretty expensive too.

Yes, I am sure Biceberg is also expensive.

My basic point is that rather than one and only one way of doing things, have multiple ways of implementing bike parking, choosing the one that works best for a particular situation.

Bicebergs work best where space on the surface is at a premium, or with other constraints. E.g., I think Bicebergs would be appropriate to employ in apartment building dominated neighborhoods, like in DC's Columbia Heights where the buildings were constructed at a time without underground space and a lot of people (judging by the number of bikes locked on fences, etc.) cycle.

Just as we have a range of costs for providing car storage (parking) from street to expensive structure, it's reasonable to think of making bike parking equally worthy of investment at a range, depending on need and conditions, especially with the recognition that more people cycling for transportation on a regular basis is a far better use of our transportation infrastructure than an equal number of motor vehicle users.

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