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Let’s get Jimmy John’s a real bike rack…

…because this is simply unacceptable (and, judging by the comments, not all that rare). From Bike2Work2Live2Bike:

I was downtown this evening, getting a replacement phone (I ran mine through the washer). I locked my bike to a bike rack near where I was going. When I finished and went back…no bike. No lock. No nuthin’.

I had the adrenaline rush of panic. It’s been a very long time since one of my bikes was stolen.

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As I stood there with these thoughts running through my head, I happened to glance inside the nearby Jimmy John’s, and saw a bike by the counter. A large-framed bike. Minimal, aggressive, and rather cool-looking. My bike.

It turns out the guys at JJ’s took my bike, along with the rack it was locked to, and carried it inside. I suppose maybe they did this because the rack was not a public rack, and this was a way of getting my attention. That, they did. But, no matter. I am just so happy the bike was not stolen. Because I love this bike!

UPDATE: To clarify, this wasn’t supposed to be against Jimmy John’s. The city has rules about private bike racks, and sometimes businesses have to bring them inside at night, just like if it were a sandwich board sign. In fact, Jimmy Johns probably pays a permit fee to the city for sidewalk use (I haven’t verified that, but that’s usually how it works). The problem is that it is unrealistic to expect people to be able to tell the difference between a private and public bike rack. Especially in an area where bike parking is in such high demand, let’s just get some permanent bike corrals so this is not an issue.

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11 responses to “Let’s get Jimmy John’s a real bike rack…”

  1. discobandit

    I have suggested this to a few business owners, but I’m not sure how simple the process is, but it looks like a business owner can request a bike rack installation through the Seattle Bicycle & Pedestrian Program. More information here:

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      The downtown shopping districts need on-street corrals, and I’m sure SDOT is aware of this. Obviously, there’s a political element at play. With the upcoming discussion about downtown cycle tracks, when should the city tackle parking corrals? Maybe the first ones can come as part of the cycle track redesign. That would give people a chance to see them in action. Or maybe the city should get ahead of the game and install one sooner than later to get the conversation going.

  2. Josh

    Bike parking is a huge pain in downtown Ballard. I have talked to several businesses about getting more racks but they say everytime they ask the city they say there is no money. Some even said they offered to pay for the rack but the city doesn’t even have money to send people out to approve it.

    The corral at Maritime is great but downtown Ballard could really use at least 2.

    1. Mondoman

      I totally agree. I’d happily lock my bike to one of the sidewalk trees on Ballard Ave, but they’re often too big in diameter for my lock to fit around.

  3. Andre

    I think the main take away point would be to check that the object you lock your bike to is actually secure.

  4. It’s almost impossible to get a bike rack approved. Here’s a bit of one saga… http://washingtonbikelaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Microsoft-Office-Outlook-Memo-Style1.pdf

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      So silly. Thanks, Bob.

  5. I know kaffeeklatsch (www.kaffeeklatschseattle.com) on Lake City Way has a cool DIY bike rack. I think they have to bring it inside every night. There are not many other racks nearby. It would be nice if the city installed more bike racks where they are needed, but I appreciate the businesses that take the trouble to offer more bike parking.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I think the main point is that if a business wants to fully fund the install of a bike rack—especially in an area the city has previously targeted as in need of more bike parking—then it is ridiculous for us not to allow that.

      If the city is understandably hesitant to get into the bike rack sales business, then maybe this is a business opportunity. Start a biz that “sells” bike racks to businesses by working with the city to secure necessary permissions and design standards for sidewalk and street placement. City still gets to ok the plans, but doesn’t need to do the footwork or order processing. Businesses get the bike parking they need in a timely manor. A business is created. And people on bikes get more places to park (that won’t suddenly end up inside a Jimmy John’s). Seems like wins all around to me.

  6. I was the original poster of the item on bike2work2live2bike. I just want to be clear that I’m not upset with JJ’s. Once the folks inside JJ’s saw that I had noticed the bike, they came out to speak to me and invite me in, and were very polite.

    1. And yes, Tom, I agree, the problem is the lack of convenient public bike parking options, at least in that part of downtown (6th & Olive). Truth be told, as I mentally run through the errands I’ve run on bike recently, availability of bike parking facilities is by far the exception, rather than the rule.

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