After years of biking by these strange contraptions under I-5 at NE 65th St and Ravenna Boulevard (AKA the Green Lake Park & Ride), I finally decided to give them a try.
Clearly designed as mid- or long-term bike parking for commuters (for example, Sound Transit 542 riders), the racks are designed to secure your wheels and your frame with just a padlock or u-lock.
They were manufactured by bike rack company Graber and dubbed “The Bike Bank.” It takes a couple minutes to figure out the first time, and I’m not positive they fit all bikes, but here’s a quick walkthrough posted on the top of the rack:
First you pull the arm back so you can put your bike in place:
You have to fidget with your wheels a bit to close the contraption, since rods need to be able to fit through the spokes in order to secure your wheels. If you don’t mind getting spiders in your helmet, you can also lock it up in the box before closing the top and hinging the contraption back together.
Judging by the relatively low usage I’ve observed, the racks are not the most successful bike parking initiative. For one, they may just be a little too intimidating or confusing for most people. In fact, I saw several bikes simply locked to nearby street sign poles. There are also a set of the newer style of long-term bike parking solution popping up at transit stations across the city and county: Bike lockers.
Speaking of bike lockers, Metro just installed a ton more of them. They cost a nickel an hour (plus $20 up front for the card) and can now be found at:
- Aurora Village Transit Center
- Eastgate P&R
- Issaquah Highlands P&R
- Kenmore P&R
- Northgate Transit Center
- Renton Transit Center
- S. Kirkland P&R ( to open when new parking garage opens in August)
- S. Renton P&R
- S. Sammamish P&R
What do you think of the Bike Bank? And on the topic of bike lockers, would you pay a nickel an hour for an extra-secure bike parking solution?