There’s lots of bike parking news floating around Seattle this week. Here’s a look at some of the happenings around town:
Beacon Hill Red Apple creates bike corral in prime parking spot
I first heard of Beacon BIKES’ mission to get bike parking at the Red Apple about two years ago. After lots of urging and discussions with the Red Apple and the merchants association, their persistence has paid off. There is now a sweet cargo-bike-friendly bike corral in one of the grocery store’s parking spaces.
From Dylan Ahearn at Beacon BIKES:
It is the small things that count.
After months of persistent effort, hours of off-the-cuff design work, and even construction management, our own Ryan Harrison has, with the gracious support of our friends at the Beacon Merchants Association and Red Apple, succeeded in shepherding the construction of a sweet new bike coral at Red Apple. As you can see from the attached photo we are jumping for joy up on Beacon Hill.
Way to go Ryan for all the hard work, the Beacon Merchants Association for supplying a $500 grant, and Red Apple for footing the rest of the bill.
Bike corrals like this should be standard at all Seattle grocery stores and commercial areas, but it takes the hard work of people like the folks at Beacon BIKES to get the ball rolling. Hopefully, once other Beacon Hill businesses see the success of the Red Apple corral, they might want one, too.
City bike rack can’t come soon enough for El Portal owner
Every day, Ignacio B Ventura, owner of the new Veracruz-style coffee shop El Portal at 23rd and Madison, watches his biking customers struggle to find a good place to lock their bikes before stopping by for a cup of his home-roasted brew. He put in a request for a bike rack from the city when he first opened in June, but still no rack. He is even willing to have one fabricated on his own dime if need be, but the process for that is not very easy. From a recent follow-up email he sent to the city (and forwarded to SBB):
My name is Ignacio B Ventura, I’m the owner of El Portal Coffee Roasters, located at 2310 E Madison St, in the Central District of Seattle; I’ll like to have the opportunity to install a bike rack in front of my coffee shop (side Walk) for my customers, some of them struggle to park their bicycles and come in, to enjoy a cup of coffee. Which are the restrictions (if any) and what is he process to follow? please let me know what I can do to have the rack installed, do I need to fabricate one, or the city provides their own?
This is, unfortunately, normal. Strained budgets for bike parking mean long wait lists for businesses. The city’s permitting process is a little backwards, and businesses would actually be charged a fee for sidewalk use if they wanted to install a rack on their own outside the bike parking parking program. So the advice is always to just wait.
But that’s not good enough. The space El Portal is now has seen a host of businesses come and go. It’s a difficult location, too far west to get the Madison Valley foot traffic and surrounded by unpleasant busy streets (the bar on the corner is called The Bottleneck for a reason). A business’s most difficult time is when it first starts, and bike parking is a very easy way to help a business attract and keep the regular customers they need while also encouraging more cycling.
Sportworks profiled in the Times
You may not know the Sportworks name, but you have used their products. The Woodinville-based company created the first bike racks used on King County Metro buses back in the early 90s (King County was the first to install them on a whole transit system, which is now standard). Since then, the company has grown to be top bike rack makers for transit, and they are now moving into the street bike rack arena with their robber-lined scratch-free bike racks and a new angled design that could prevent handlebar wrangling.
Within several weeks, the company will begin testing its reinvention of mass parking for bikes — a new design that uses angle-parking.
“The company is more focused on bike infrastructure,” business-development manager Al Steiner said. “Our overall goal is to promote bicycle use in general, not just bike racks or bicycle components.”
The new angle-park design is intended to keep bicycle handlebars away from each other. As riders know, intertwining handlebars are a common problem with racks.
The design will be tested on the University of Washington campus near Bagley Hall and Seattle Children’s hospital, Sportworks management said.