Seattle has been doing a great job installing on-street bike corrals around town this year. Well, maybe not ALL around town. West Seattle still does not have a corral despite demand for one in the Junction business district, and residents have taken to writing open letters and urging elected officials to get involved and help make it happen.
On-street bike corrals make the most sense in business districts where demand for bike parking and sidewalk space make it difficult for people biking to lock up without blocking other sidewalk uses. A sidewalk bike rack might work fine when there are just a couple businesses around. But on streets filled with destinations, bike parking often needs to be moved into the on-street parking area. It makes it more comfortable for everyone and adds parking capacity for the district, since 12 or so bikes can fit in the space used by one parked car.
So far, most the city’s bike corrals have gone into the highest-demand areas in town, like Capitol Hill, Fremont, the U District, the Central District. And they keep coming:
New bike corral in Fremont! pic.twitter.com/3B9VdfsGRJ
— Jen Litowski (@JenLitowski) June 28, 2014
West Seattle’s Junction is the perfect space for a corral. Lots of businesses, skinny sidewalks and the need for more customer capacity. But West Seattle Bike Connections is tired of waiting for one, so they have formed a coalition and have started asking the city publicly:
Bikes are good for local business districts. When we travel by bike, we shop and dine locally, instead of at malls and big boxes. Bike corrals are good for business. That’s why Seattle is installing bike corrals in local business districts. Except in West Seattle.
Our West Seattle businesses deserve better treatment!
With the support of the West Seattle Junction Association merchants, we have been working for 18 months to get SDOT to install one bike corral at the busiest block in the Junction. The Junction Neighborhood Association and the West Seattle Transit Coalition have joined us in this effort. All we are asking for is one bike corral in West Seattle. The only timeline we have from SDOT is sometime in 2015. We are asking our elected representatives for help!
They have also written a more detailed letter spelling out why the rack should be installed at the corner of Alaska and California. The letter was posted by West Seattle Blog.
Meanwhile, White Center businesses and residents held a meeting to discuss bike parking needs in the 16th Ave SW business district. A few years ago, some not-entirely-anonymous people installed some not-entirely-legal bike racks in the area, but they are not enough.
Now, discussions are underway to install a bike corral among the many car parking spots in the area. If people agree and make it happen, it could be among the first modern on-street bike corrals in King County outside Seattle. It was also be great for White Center businesses.
As this photo demonstrates, the demand is there:
— Matt Weiner (@walkingbassist) June 18, 2014