Another mention of the idea of creating a network of metropolitan scale secure bicycle parking facilities
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.
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
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;
Ideally, a wide variety of high quality parking options would be employed, not just the "cages" used in the Parkiteer program
The Biceberg underground bicycle parking system works with an above-ground kiosk.
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 Parkiteer. Santa 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.
Bike Hub side of the secure parking facility at LA Union Station.
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.
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
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.