February 2, 2015

Bruntlett: Bike parking shortage in Vancouver

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.

bike parking

Link to map here.


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.

jj bEAN

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  1. Also an acute problem at large places of work where bike parking was under-designed for recent increases.

    At the the research centre where I work, two large racks were installed a few years ago, situated by an entryway and caged over for security. It seemed so vast and forward-looking back then, to have a whole building entrance converted into bike parking, but now I have trouble finding a spot on sunny days. And there have been more bikes this winter than ever.

  2. Bear in mind a lot of bike trips, especially for social purposes, are very short. In fact, too short; there would be better benefits if they’d simply walked. For many (recently), bikes are a fashion accessory, and for men, for example, like untucked shirts, hats for unkempt hair, and laceless shoes (or even worse, flip-flops, the choice footwear of children), are a tool of the lazy.

    So, rather than walking a tiring 4-5 blocks, people bike, slowly. This is particularly true of the generations that wouldn’t dare step outside without a skateboard.

  3. It’s a question of supply and demand – and how it is addressed and expectations and tolerances of users.

    There’s bike racks shortages around popular restaurants or facilities. I can point to empty bike racks at unpopular restaurants or shopping areas.

    I can also point to cars circling Alexandra Road and its many restaurants in Richmond looking for places to park (not being allowed to park at nearby Lansdowne Mall). I can also point to the empty parking stalls at Lansdowne Mall (and Target) – it used to be popular in the 1970s – and cars circling for spots nowadays over at Richmond Centre Mall.

    Finding on-street parking downtown, on Commercial Drive or Gastown can also be difficult.
    Sure Gastown has the Cordova St. parkades and there’s Pacific Centre where drivers can park and walk a block or more to their destinations.

    Now, are there empty bike stands across the plaza or across the street from the bikes chained to trees? or is it non-sensical to look for an approved bike rack spot if it’s not exactly in front of your destination.. and you can chain it anywhere?

    To legally park [car or bike] or not?

  4. My bike got stolen from this bike rack even though I locked it and took the seat out. Is there nothing John Neate can do about this? Installing cameras? Making sure bike racks have safer more secure technology because obviously someone brome through my chains. I locked the bike 4 times to the rack. And Ive seen tens of bikes along the drive,.

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