Chris’s column in the Courier: “Parking shortage puts brakes on cyclists”
If you walked past a café, restaurant or craft brewery this summer, you would have seen the familiar sight of bicycles locked to fences, railings, trees, signposts, and parking meters. Basically anywhere but to a secure bike parking structure.
This is true. Last summer at Athlete’s Plaza:
The availability of dependable, convenient bike parking has repercussions on where and when people will stop to spend their money. … Commuting makes up only makes up 20 per cent of bike trips. The rest — for shopping, dining, banking, and so on — gets overlooked. But without a secure place to lock up, the bike is more likely to get left at home. …
To its credit, the city installs bike racks for free and has done so roughly 1,100 times since 2010. But these are far from ideal racks since they provide room for two to four bicycles on an often narrow, overcrowded sidewalk.
The most simple, cost-effective way to address this inadequacy is with a bike corral, one of which was built outside the J.J. Bean coffee shop on Commercial Drive in 2010. Owner John Neate swapped two on-street car parking spaces for room to park 20 bikes. At the time he called it a “godsend” and intends to install more at other locations. …
A solution lies somewhere between private enterprise and public responsibility. The former must recognize the impact to their bottom line, and the latter must provide t the tools to address it. Until then, our cycling family will continue spending our money where we are made to feel welcome. If Vancouver is serious about becoming a great cycling city, we can’t ignore our bike parking problem.