Bike parking at the new, LEED-certified Dominick’s at Foster and Sheridan. This installation has several good qualities: it’s near the entrance, sheltered, has good clearance, and an acceptable rack style. Please nominate the best bike parking!
At the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, Bicycle Parking Program manager Christopher Gagnon recapped the year by saying the City installed 749 standard u-racks on sidewalks (more than usual because 2010 saw few installations), Wicker Park-Bucktown Special Service Area (SSA) donated 20+1 racks (including the City’s first bike corral), and Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce donated 20 racks (you can see some on Clark Street).
That’s great! But what about that little part of the zoning code that requires property owners to provide bike parking? What do we know about them?
The code, Sec. 17-10-0300, says, “Except as expressly stated in this section, bicycle parking must be provided in accordance with the off-street parking ratios of Sec. 17-10-0200 [this is a table saying for X car parking spaces at this property use, install Y bike parking spaces]“.
It also says “Racks and other fixtures used to provide required bicycle parking for nonresidential uses must be of a design that is approved by the Chicago Department of Transportation” [emphasis added]. I don’t think CDOT would approve of the design below, a grill rack (also known as grid or school style), or other hard-to-use rack styles.
Jewel grocery store at Roosevelt and Ashland with a grill rack.
So Samantha of Ding Ding Let’s Ride, famous for her bike parking hall of shame, and Grid Chicago have teamed to create the first Chicago Bike Parking Awards. We want to highlight the property owners who’ve done things well when it comes to providing bike parking.
We have two additional categories to prod some property owners into providing better bike parking: “most in need of improvement” and “most in need of bike parking”. You have until January 20th.
This is one strategy we’re undertaking to uncover why so many bad bike parking installations find their way for use by the public. As a former employee of the Chicago Bicycle Parking Program, I believe that they are the best qualified staff to review and approve good bike parking designs at private property development for use by citizen cyclists.
If you represent a business, Special Service Area, or Chamber of Commerce, and would like to explore providing bike parking for your customers or the public, either on private property or in the public way, contact Gagnon at the Bicycle Parking Program.
I am on the transportation subcommittee at the Wicker Park-Bucktown Special Service Area and helped select the locations at which 20 orange-colored, specially-designed u-racks were installed on Division Street, Ashland Avenue, Damen Avenue, and Western Avenue. I also consult for Active Transportation Alliance on school and municipal bike parking plans. Lastly, I operate Simple Bike Parking, a website that describes the three simple steps to good bike parking.
Also notable in the zoning code: The code doesn’t require bike parking at residential uses (but it should be). The code defines the minimum footprint necessary for each bike parking space (2 feet by 6 feet).
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011.
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