The High Cost of No Parking

My latest Slate column is up, and it concerns bicycle parking. I notice some of the earlier commenters, perhaps mistaking the headline for the actual story, seem to think I’ve suggested that providing better bike parking facilities will magically transform the U.S. into Copenhagen. This is not the point, of course — instead I wanted to draw attention to the often overlooked factor of parking as it applies to traffic, how this plays in as well — and even more — to cycling, and that indeed providing it (along with all the other things) may be yet another of those small ‘pull’ factors that makes it more feasible (or at least eliminates another excuse why someone cannot do it).

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 9:12 am and is filed under Bicycles, Parking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “The High Cost of No Parking”

  1. spiderleggreen Says:

    Making parking less available for cars, would be another way to encourage cycling. Change all those zoning laws that treat parking as if it were a constitutional right.

  2. hokan Says:

    You didn’t mention Minneapolis which has had a program in place for several years to subsidize bike parking. Minneapolis has (so I’ve heard) more bike parking per capita than any other large US city. In my opinion this effort has been important in increasing the number of bike riders here.

    Too, this year Minneapolis updated their zoning rules to reduce car parking requirements and to increase bike parking requirements. It will be interesting to see how this changes things in the future.

  3. George Says:

    This a little off topic. Most people who design bike racks forget that bikes can be stored by hanging them by the front wheel. This reduces the area per bike.[rear fenders can be a problem].

    I was on a bike tour where they ‘really’ packed a rental van with bikes tied to the top and bottom of the inside of the van via the wheels only.

    By putting a bike on its rear wheel you can make it work in an regular elevator or rolling it through a hotel lobby without being a nuisance. [been there done that]


  4. Elaine Says:

    The thing that I often see missing in the bike parking outside of commercial buildings around here: cover from the weather. It’s sort of ludicrous, given that half the year is predictably rainy, but not so god-awful that it’s impossible to ride in. A lot of times I have to judge whether to ride based on whether my bike is likely to be soaked when I’m done with my errand. Even the covered bike parking at work is not so useful if there’s any wind, which is most of the time. :( Most of the time, I just carry a plastic grocery bag to cover my saddle and deal, but it’s still annoying.

  5. David Hembrow Says:

    Tom, thanks for pointing to my blog from your article. Cycle parking is of course only a part of the story. You also need to make cycling extremely pleasant, make bicycle journeys more direct and convenientthan car journeys etc.

    However, how places provide for bike parking is an interesting thing we can easily look at. Your article points to an article in a London paper which counted the cycle parking spaces in London’s 50 railway stations. Between them they offer 2800 cycle parking spaces. London has a population of 8 million people.

    On the other hand, over here in Assen we have just 65000 people, but our one railway station has 2300 cycle parking spaces.

    That’s two orders of magnitude more provision. There is one space for every 2800 Londoners vs. one space for every 28 Assenaars.

    No other country provides for cyclists as the Netherlands does.

    Oh, and spiderleggreen, people have plenty of room for cars at home if they choose, and parking a car in town here is not particularly expensive. However, it’s just not so convenient as cycling. That’s why there are more cycle journeys than car journeys. It’s not beating people with a stick, but waving a delicious carrot that has succeeded in getting people to cycle.

    The city has been transformed in the last 40 years. Now that it’s done, who prefers the “before” photos over the “after” photos ?

  6. mikey2gorgeous Says:

    @George – yes less space but you can’t lock a bike by it’s front wheel as that’s easily removed & the bike stolen. Also a problem for people with panniers sometimes.

    Main thing to remember is that we can park 10+ bikes in a car space even horizontally! 😀

  7. Michael Says:

    Looks like Bike Snob NYC is challenging your ideas now. I think this could be a good thing.

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