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New free iPhone app displays nearby bike racks

A new free iPhone app allows users to quickly locate a nearby city-installed bike rack. It’s fast, responsive and easy to use. Good work, TeknaDesigns!

The only criticism I have of the app is actually a good thing: The city has done such a good job of installing bike racks all over the place, that I rarely find myself searching for one (though next time I do, I’ll totally use this app). For example, look at the screenshot posted here. Bike parking is everywhere (though if this app could show which racks were vacant, that would be crazy cool and probably cost prohibitive).

However, if you’re in Rainier Beach, the app might come in handy more often:

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Come on, Seattle, let’s get some bike racks in South Seattle!

Here’s a video explaining how the app works:

Seattle Bike Parking App from Tekna Designs on Vimeo.

Here’s an info graphic:

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20 responses to “New free iPhone app displays nearby bike racks”

  1. Brian

    This would be good prep for Seattle getting a bike share. I was in DC recently, using their Bikeshare, which (surprise) has a companion iPhone app. However, with the Bikeshare, racks are even more important for pickup and drop off. The Bikeshare app would not only show where nearby racks were, it would show how many bikes were available and how many free slots there were (for dropoffs). I’m looking forward to having that kind of app here in Seattle someday…

  2. andrew squirrel

    This is the ultimate bike theft navigation tool

    1. Maybe if they charged .99 for it?

      Yes, and maps of the U.S. would only help the Soviets corrupt our precious bodily fluids.

    2. Timmy

      The spirit of Willy Sutton lives.

  3. merlin

    What’s missing is a way to find secure, monitored bike parking. There’s free bike parking in most parking garages, but it varies greatly in quality. Some of my favorites: Mayflower Hotel behind Westlake Center – nice racks in view of the cashier booth, close to the entrance but not visible from the street; the new CityTarget – two big racks, monitored by guards, with neon bike icons announcing their presence (look up at the corner of 2nd and Union!); Municipal Tower garage, entrance off 6th – several racks behind the cashier station, well-used by employees. Not so good: Downtown Library – beautiful well-lit racks in the garage by the cashier station – but access down an impossibly steep ramp, and they won’t let you take a bike in the elevator; Swedish First Hill – one wobbly rack in a dark corner with no good access route. I’d love to see a compilation of other folks’ secure bike parking finds.

    1. Kirk From Ballard

      Russell Investment Center Parking Garage, on Union between First and Second. Big rack with a security camera, elevator access 24 hours. FREE.

    2. Sarah

      The Polyclinic on Broadway. Covered and well lit, on a little island between the entrance and exit lanes from the garage (no cars, no pedestrians) in full view of the parking lot attendant.

      Motorcycles park there sometimes, too.

  4. andrew squirrel

    I hope in Version 2.0 they roll out some social network interactivity to let all your friends know exactly where you locked up. Maybe a chat feature like on Grindr where you can text other cyclists locked up to your rack….. “hayyy baby, nice hamburger bell, wanna go out for a real hamburger later?”

    1. Luke

      I love this comment so much. I tried complimenting another bicyclist on her rack by leaving a note once, but it didn’t go anywhere.

      1. Timmy

        “Nice rack!”

        I don’t see how this comment could possibly be misconstrued.

  5. You have got to be kidding me.

    Why is this needed exactly? Just use your eyes and look around. Find a street sign to lock up to if a bike rack is filled up. It takes longer to bust-out a phone and start the app than it does to look around the corner.

    I’m holding out for an app to tell me when it’s dark enough to turn on my lights.

  6. Law Abider

    My experience with bike racks in Seattle is that, you see them everywhere biking around, but when you need one, it seems like there’s none for miles. It’s a weird phenomenon.

  7. Doug

    A silly app in a way, since if there’s not a bike rack at my destination, I just lock to a sign or trash can. I’m not going to walk a block to lock up my bike.

    However,it does demonstrate the huge number of racks installed by the city (in certain neighorhoods, that is). I think that’s pretty cool.

    I do wish they used a different image for the racks themselves. A huge sprite with a shadow makes it hard to see where they are, exactly.

  8. Joseph Singer

    How could you get what’s available without something on the rack reporting to a centralized place? Of course that would increase the cost.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Yes, that would be totally cool in a perfect world with unlimited money :-)

  9. J

    I live in and frequently bike around southeast Seattle, and this app would be amazingly useful for me. There aren’t many racks and sometimes it’s hard to find something to lock your bike to, especially around busy streets such as Rainier. Unfortunately, I have an Android phone.

    I assume it’s based off https://data.seattle.gov/Transportation/City-of-Seattle-Bicycle-Racks/vncn-umqp, which you can view as a map using the visualize button. (Note: nothing in SE Seattle)

  10. iPhone, making people even more lazier than they need to be since 2007

  11. […] second free iPhone app that helps you locate nearby bike racks has hit the App Store. Just on the heels of the Seattle Bike Parking app by Tekna Designs comes VeloRacks by […]

  12. That’s actually a quite amazing idea. We have something similar here in Dublin, although it only shows free spaces at the Dublin Bikes racks (the ones for the city provided bikes which you can rent for a day or so).
    Still, a great idea nonetheless.

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