City to install its first on-street bike parking corral

An example of an on-street bike parking corral from Portland Oregon

In July of 2011, we contacted the city in regards to on-street parking for bicycles. We identified that there were no bicycle racks on our block, and a general lack of bike racks throughout downtown. Additionally, the metered parking spaces in front of our shop were larger than standard, and we had two huge loading zones. This resulted in too much space for idling vehicles, and not enough opportunity for cyclists to lock their bikes up.

What we proposed was for Bikehounds to lease an on-street parking space from the city, in which we would “park” a bicycle rack instead of a car. This would not affect the city’s parking revenue and seemed like a fair way for us to approach it.

Much credit goes to the city for taking our idea seriously. In September, we received a formal reply stating that they would investigate the opportunity to install an on-street bike corral themselves. Maybe not directly in front of the bike shop, but somewhere within the vicinity.

After communicating about design ideas, a meeting was set up by Public Works in January with the Downtown BIA. We were humbled when we were invited along. After communicating with other businesses, the city gave the go ahead for a year-long trial.

Public Works prepares to install Hamilton's first bike corral

The corral will be on our block, just a few doors down from us and will use space taken from a nearby loading zone and some parking spaces. Luckily, this will all be accomplished simply by shrinking these existing oversize spaces and we won’t lose any of the car spaces nor the loading zones. This will ease other businesses into the idea, and if successful, we will hopefully see more of these throughout downtown.

This week the rough location markers went down in spray paint and we hope to see some construction very soon. We are crossing our fingers that this goes smoothly and we will report back when the racks are ready to use.

We plan to connect an outdoor camera to our security system to monitor these racks, providing a bit of extra peace of mind to those who lock up there.

Thanks to the Public Works department for giving this a go – we are sure that it will be well received by all downtown cyclists.

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