On-Street Car-cycle Rack Offers A Visual Lesson
UPDATE 12:30pm: A better example of how people who walk or bicycle to a business tend to spend more money, referred to below, is the Bloor Street example in Toronto. There, the results showed that “86% of non-drivers spent more than $100/month in the area compared to 69% of those who drive.” More on that later!
The Car-cycle Rack, by Ilian Milinov is yet another bike rack design that aims to attract attention and respect to the issue of bicycle parking. Inhabitat describes the multi-functionality of the design as, “not only does the design cleverly address the widespread parking issues plaguing most cities, it also brings cycling to light as a green solution to gas-guzzling, space-hungry vehicles.”
Traverse City’s On-Street Trial Check-In
This idea came across my computer screen at an opportune moment. Prior to seeing it, I was in downtown Traverse City. Like many visits this past month, I took advantage of the one on-street bike rack on Front St. It hasn’t been overly used, but there is usually at least one other bike.
This is what I saw:
Not a horrible offense, but an intrusion on space intended for bicycle use. Also, notice that the entire rack was moved eastward allowing for more “car space.” If the bicycle rack was a little more “announced” would the driver have parked on it like this?
As the city continues the “trial-run”with on-street bicycle parking, it’s obvious the details need attention. The site for this particular experiment is an issue, but not as much as the lack of promotion to the public on the value of on-street bicycle parking. In fact, other than this BLOG, I haven’t seen any communication or encouragement about its use. It was discussed at a Downtown Development Authority meeting, but that was mainly criticism.
Clear communication to people looking to park their bikes needs to invite them to recognize and use the racks, and communication to people parking their motor vehicles needs to promote their detection and respect. The person who parked here obviously doesn’t respect basic parking regulation (to be fair, they did push the free 30 minutes on both meters), let alone have the common-sense to give the bike rack some space, so it won’t be easy.
Need For Bicycle Parking
There is a need for convenient, comfortable and priority bicycle parking downtown. The number of riders is increasing and with it the number of trips downtown. If you’re riding a bike for your main transportation, it’s a lot more pleasurable to spend money downtown than most other places and it’s also been shown that people who walk and ride bicycles tend to spend more money and to spend it locally. So, it’s good for business!
However, people on bikes want to be treated with respect and pampered at least as much as is traditional for how we are treated when we drive a car. A strategic on-street bicycle parking program would be a great addition. I’m told that the DDA’s parking and access committee has recently discussed bicycle facilities. If you bike to downtown, it wouldn’t hurt to express your ideas.
It’s not enough to throw-up a bike rack that is pure functionality, completely unannounced and lacking strong support by the powers-that-be…as well as the people parking their cars. I’m glad it’s up and I’m happy to promote it and use it (Park in it!) but we can do better next year.
I’m certain we will.
As the design by Milinov emphasis well, we can use good design to help us problem solve and communicate our intentions. Even if it’s just designing the pavement a little.