Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Bike Parking Initiatives

With the conversion of the city's parking meters to pay by space, a system that is more convenient for drivers and vandal resistant to protect city revenue sources, old meter heads are disappearing in favour of more compact designs that identify stall numbers. Trouble is that they no longer serve for informal bicycle parking, but the city is now working to meet the need with hundreds of new racks using the increasingly familiar inverted "U" design.

The inverted "U" was introduced to Victoria in the late '90s when Denise Savoie and I lobbied the city to change their standard bike rack from the less ideal "ribbon" rack (a.k.a the "serpentine" or "wave" rack). Denise was then working as our Bike to Work Week coordinator and myself I w as president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. The inverted "U" was a design introduced to me by the bicycle coordinator for the city of Denver who presented at the 1998 Pro Bike conference in Santa Barbara. It was a great conference to discover and this is just one of the ideas I've brought back to Victoria (including the whole conference itself in 2004 - and $500,000 in economic benefits), with the biking and walking conference.

Putting a replacement program on the front burner was one of my early efforts as a new councillor. I knew the conversion program was coming and the city wasn't quite ready for the dislocation it would mean for area cyclists working or shopping downtown.

I also initiated a project that converted on-street parking to a now busy weather protected bike shelter in front of our local Mountain Equipment Co-op store on Government St. It spurred a nearby business (Habit Coffee and Culture on Pandora) to ask for their own and we worked together to make it happen.

Fast forward to this year and the nudging I've been doing with the DVBA and with the enthusiasm now of other organizations, the initiatives have taken on a life of their own. Two new "corrals" will be set up for an extended cycling season at another couple of on-street parking locations where bike racks are needed and local business is supportive.

The DVBA did a great job of working with their members to solicit support (as many as 30 locations were identified by businesses downtown where more bike parking is wanted), and with MEC, other members of Capital Bike and Walk, Bike to Work and the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition (kudos also to Bike to Work president Rob Wickson who kicked in from his Discovery Economic Consulting business), and the pilots have been announced to launch for Bike to Work Week - May 31 - June 5, 2010.

See the news release at:

Bike to Work:

The Good: the inverted "U":

The Bad: the "wave":

What happens when no bike racks are available:

State of the art at MEC:
Low tech in Portland:

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