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163 < 1,644

October 29, 2013


Which benefits a city more? 163 parking spaces for cars or 1,644 parking spaces for bikes? Via Streetfilms and Treehugger:

Why are bike corrals so great? Because in a dense urban environment, the are very space-efficient; where 1 or 2 cars could park, dozens of bikes might fit. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) said that their bike corral program “has helped Portland businesses increase on-street customer parking ten-fold.”

It’s simple math. No one is arguing for eliminating automobile parking, but the smallest of shifts can bring about a very big change not only in safety and convenience, but in the fortunes of local businesses.

The city of Portland is a tad more enlightened on these issues than we are here in New York.  If you’ll recall, the DOT’s safety plan for Fourth Avenue was initially rejected by Community Board Six for, among other reasons, the potential inclusion of bike corrals.  It’s a pro-car-parking bias the board has demonstrated in the past:

Kummer also says the board opposed the plan because it includes potential locations for bike corrals. Even though the plan does not call for the installation of any corrals, each of which would go before the community board for future consideration, Kummer used it as a reason for the board to reject the safety plan entirely. The board “has a strong preference for proposals that are parking-neutral wherever possible,” he said. Last month, the board rejected a bike corral on Columbia Street because it would have removed one car parking space.

In a future post, I’ll explore how a “parking-neutral” approach to bike corrals is problematic, not only in the obvious phrasing issues it brings up, but in actual practice.

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