September 7, 2016

Attracting People On Bikes — Granville Island Style

I haven’t been at Granville Island for a while, but these bike parking racks look new to me.  They replace 4 motor vehicle parking spots, and by my estimate, will park around 130 bikes.  It’s a good type of rack, and the spacing is excellent.
They’re just east of the Market — a great location. Perhaps it’s another baby step towards making Granville Island more friendly to people. Maybe one day it will become permanently car-free.

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    1. This style works fine if people alternate slots. Also they have to be installed (like here) to be accessible from both sides so that you can alternate.

      1. You can cut the skinny hanger with a battery angle grinder in a few seconds. I have seen several racks with cut hangers.
        A good bike rack should allow locking the frame at two points. The inverted U racks on Vancouver sidewalks do that, not these hanger racks.

        1. Or we cut (so to speak) to the root of the problem and not try to solve it with Fort Knox solutions. The vast majority of bikes are not worth the bother of that kind of effort to steal so the vast majority of bike racks do not need to be designed for $1,000+ bikes.

        2. Unfortunately all kinds of bikes are stolen since making $10 to $50 from a bike is often enough to justify the effort.
          Good bike racks are getting pretty standard now. UBC swapped out all hanger racks on campus for inverted U racks many years ago. Vancouver uses inverted U as do other municipalities.
          Many businesses (including perhaps Granville Island) don’t know much about bike racks and install less than optimal designs. Lonsdale Quay has even worse racks without any locking point that look like from the 1970s.
          TransLink has a guide to bike parking that doesn’t seem well publicized.

        3. Well, these old hanger racks still exist all over the place including out at UBC if you include the trail heads to Wreck Beach. I’ll admit I’ve seen a half dozen that have been cut over the years. But it seems to be a small problem aimed at expensive bikes. The staple design often takes more room to accommodate the same amount of bikes so I don’t see that as the best solution for all racks

        4. Wreck Beach trail head is Metro Vancouver not UBC. Hanger type rack certainly better than no rack. Given the high rate of bike theft providing good racks matters.

  1. If a business supplies free parking for cars they should also supply a form of secure parking for bikes. I gather that GI does this through the summer by offering valet bike parking service. Secure bike parking could be done with bike lids (an example is near SeaBus station on North Shore) or bike lockers or bike cages as exist at UBC and some Skytrain stations.

  2. Given that Granville Island is pretty much packed with people all the time, how is it not “friendly to people”? People don’t have to be there, they go there by choice, so that would seem to imply that it’s very friendly to people.
    I’d argue that that the mix of cars and bikes and people walking everywhere gives the place a sense of hustle and bustle that adds to its attraction. And makes it more accessible.
    Banning cars would make it much less accessible to anyone who lives in other parts of the city or region.

    1. People in Europe seem to manage getting to large car-free zones. They seem to be even more “packed with people all the time” because they haven’t had to give up so much valuable real estate for parking – free parking no less. Charge for parking! That would be a start.

        1. Not yet, but we are heading this way FAST: higher taxes, higher energy costs, smaller houses, more packed, too many and overpaid civil servants, disconnect between politicians and populace, more public transit, higher youth unemployment, lower or stagnating net wages, higher house prices, more and more regulations, more deficits, more debt .. i.e. sunny ways !

        2. Maybe someone should propose bringing cars back to Nanny State Capitol Copenhagen’s 100,000 m2, 100% pedestrianized six-street downtown network called the Stroget, and see how well that goes down with the businesses and public after years of roaring success.
          So just where has laissez-faire urban and social planning worked?

      1. As it turns out, at least 40% of the parking stalls are paid anyway. But that’s getting away from my point – GI is full of people, so how is it not friendly to people?

        1. @ bar foo: This is Vancouver – people flock to festivals that have nothing happening. We have a food truck festival of all things. Food trucks are supposed to support festivals – not be the entertainment. What next? Porta-pottie festivals?
          There is a dearth of real city action, energy and entertainment in Vancouver. That crowds show up to some small fissure in the oppressive wall doesn’t mean it’s people friendly. There is so little choice and there isn’t a single car free zone with which to compare. If we had the choice between real people friendly places and Granville Island you’d be able to argue you point.

        2. A few more car free zones sure would be appropriate, say Robson Street, sections of Granville Island, Davie or Denman. The layout of GI is tough to make it partially car free as the parking is at the E and W end of the island. Unclear why CanadaLine accessible Robson Street is not car free for at least 2-3 blocks on either side of Granville ? That would be a huge win for Vancouver and would actually increase shopping as sidewalks are far too narrow.

    2. Indeed, every notice how the vintage photos of Granville Street and Theatre Row look far more exciting and animated with it’s cars, people and neon than today’s pedestrian mall with it’s weekend pukefest?

      1. Now, there’s a place nobody goes to anymore.
        Coming out on to Granville from a movie late, then being thrust into an aggressive crowd, then seeing all the police vehicles and ambulances, it was clear that the authorities only had a tentative hold on things. Only severe incidences were being attended to. You won’t see any of us back there again. It looked like a Spring Break riot.

        1. “Now, there’s a place nobody goes to anymore.”
          “…then being thrust into an aggressive crowd”
          “It looked like a Spring Break riot.”
          Hmmmm…. who is nobody?

        2. LOL
          “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”
          – Yogi Berra
          But seriously, the designation of Granville Street as the “Entertainment District” and the concentration of bars there (rather than allowing the dispersal of nightlife options in other neighbourhoods) has been one of the biggest mistakes ever made by the city. Granville Street on a Friday or Saturday night is the scariest place in the Lower Mainland. Certainly scarier than the Downtown Eastside. I never fear for my safety at Main and Hastings, but I do at Granville and Smithe on a Saturday night.

        3. Other cities seem to have concentrated bar/nightclub areas that are somewhat dignified AND nightlife dispersed in other neighbourhoods. I don’t think the concentration was a mistake but a few of the people down there definitely are.

        4. Vancouver suffered for years under a withering attack from dance club owners and immature drunken suburban adolescents claiming it was a No Fun City. The kneejerk policy result was the vomitorium and the nighttime concentrated cacophony we now know and pay dearly for through policing overtime.
          This has nothing to do with cars.
          Man, how I miss the Jazz Cellar.

        5. Well it really was no fun on so many levels – it wasn’t an unwarranted attack and it certainly didn’t only come from immature drunken suburbanites. It came from middle aged, urban me too. It’s improved a little under Vision but it’s still pretty lame/tame. I repeat: we have a food cart festival… and people go. A lot of people. Says a lot.

      2. True Fact: No one one puked from consuming to much alcohol in Vancouver from VJ Day until the designation of Granville St. as an “entertainment district.”
        It was a golden age.

    3. I don’t think it’s necessary to make Granville Island car free. It isn’t working in its present state though. What could be done however is to discard the design of a flat surface with all modes sharing. That isn’t working. Cars tend to dominate, that’s their nature.
      Have a limited space where motor vehicles can go to park, access the hotel, do deliveries and access boats. Then you can make space delineated for cycling. The rest for walking. Also there needs to be better walking and cycling access to the island than there is now.

      1. How do you get those dominating cars to the parking without them dominating? Plenty of places have buried car access for this reason, but simply placing a parking structure off of the island would also do wonders.
        There’s a great art gallery in the Netherlands called the Kroller Muller. Its in a 10000 Hectare park (big) and unless you have problems walking, you have to park at the entrance and they have little white bikes to get around the park.
        Guess what? Vancouver now has some great little white bikes. Can we put 2 and 2 together?

    4. It isn’t that GI is already friendly to people. It’s that it is even more friendly to cars in terms of real estate, access and shortage of alternatives. That’s odd considering the inner city location.

  3. Better a bunch of hanger bike racks than none at all. Even MEC still has hanger racks outside the store.
    In the next two days I need to pick up some small items at a store on Broadway. The weather is really nice for cycling (dry, not too hot), but I probably won’t take my bike because I don’t recall seeing a bike rack within blocks of my destination. In theory I could lock it to a parking meter, but that’s rude and probably illegal. So instead of getting some much needed and desired fresh air and exercise I’ll be on the bus or behind the wheel of a car.
    Correction: I have just done a Google Streetview and found that there are, in fact, inverted U and hanger bike racks in the same block as my destination.
    My original point, however, stands. I planned to drive or take the bus because I knew the store offered free parking and nearby bus service, but was unsure whether there were any facilities for cyclists.

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