This post was contributed by Kyle Rowe and Brian Dougherty from the Seattle Department of Transportation
Imagine being able to bike almost anywhere and know you can easily find parking for you and your bike. That’s the goal of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Bicycle Parking Program. Thanks to funding provided by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy, SDOT installs hundreds of new bicycle parking spaces each year, providing new bike parking spaces for the growing number of people discovering how easy it is to get around by bike.
With the growing demand for cycling across the state, many cities are finding that typical off-street bike racks aren’t sufficient for the demand; on-street bike parking is an excellent solution to this dilemma. On-street bike parking can provide 14 bicycle parking spots in a space where only one parked car would fit. The example here is in the University District, at the intersection of University Way NE and NE 42nd St.
The design implemented in the University District uses a series of SDOT’s standard inverted-U racks. SDOT has also installed corrals such as the one seen in the photo in front of Wallingford’s Essential Baking. The inverted-U design allows for the most flexible configurations but each site is different and the specific type of rack is chosen depending on site conditions.
SDOT installed the first on-street bike parking in 2009. Each year since, we receive more and more requests from business owners who recognize that ten or more bicycles can fit in a space usually reserved for only one car. What business owner doesn’t want to serve more customers? It can also help advertise and attract customers who arrive by bike, showing that a business welcomes and supports people on bikes. Additionally, on-street bike parking opens up the visibility of storefronts. The more on-street bike parking SDOT installs, the more businesses realize that active, human-scale uses of right-of way space makes their commercial districts more inviting.
The advantages go beyond the business district too. On-street bike parking can return sidewalk space to pedestrians; provide transportation options for employees of nearby businesses; increase the visibility of bicycling in the neighborhood; and increase the street’s net parking capacity. That is why cities across the US and around the globe are putting corrals where bicyclists want to be.
In 2013, SDOT installed on-street bike parking at eight new locations, bringing the total number throughout the city to 16. Based on current demand, SDOT expects to double the number of on-street bike parking locations again next year, bringing the total number to more than 30 by the end of 2014. Potential locations include Pioneer Square, West Seattle, Ballard, and Pike Place!
Ask your local public works department if on-street bike parking is a solution in your city. If you live in Seattle and are interested in bike corral in your neighborhood, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We will be happy to work with you to find a suitable solution to your bike parking needs.