As we ride more (and more and more) around our fair city, I’m struck by how little the city does to accommodate the parking of our two-wheeled steeds. Racks are few and far between, but cars are welcomed on nearly every curb. It used to be, back in the day, this didn’t matter much because you could count on a nearby, sturdy, parking meter…
But the city has pretty much wiped all the old-school meters by installing those ATM-like automated parking kiosks. From the standpoint of someone who never had $4 in change for two hours of parking, that’s a posititve. But as someone who needs a spot to hook a U-lock, it a pretty big bummer.
Take tonight… I was down in Fremont to hear a speaker at Adobe. You’d think Adobe, as a friendly, progressive, tech company would work to support cycling. They very well might — they may even have valet bike parking for all I know — but do you think I could find rack tonight? No parking meters, stair rails, or useful public art either. Instead, I was relegated to locking my Xtracycle around the corner of the building in a dark stairway.
Following the talk we popped over to Browers Cafe for a beverage. Browers has a bike rack. Granted, it is one of those ’70s-style units designed expressly so you can run your $2 stretchy cable/combination lock around your front tire and through the rack. It’s better than nothing but not exactly Xtracycle friendly. No matter because it was full (BTW, to the dude with the faux-fixie. I love the way you locked your bike sideways, obscuring three or four slots and prohibiting anyone else from using said rack. Classy).
Being resourceful (and thirsty) I finally locked it some sort of cast-iron storage cage off the pub’s kitchen. In the end it worked, but a decent, city-provided rack would have made things so much easier.
Well, apparently those racks are coming. According to the Cascade Bike Club Braking News (get it?) email, Mayor Nichols is HOT-HOT-HOT on installing bike racks around the city.
OK, I made that Hot-Hot part up, but can you blame me? Talk about a stunning visual. Anyway, what the email says is that this is the “season” for getting bike racks installed. Apparently winter rains mean paving projects stop for the year and (presumably) municipal employees need something worthwhile to do. And what’s more worthwhile to than installing a bike rack?!
Get your Rack Here:
To request a rack for a business or residential building in Seattle, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a description of the business or residence, detailed location, and name or phone number (if possible) of property manger/owner.
For more details about available racks and policies, check the SDOT Bike website.
I’m starting a list of locations where increased (or any) capacity is needed, right now, such as:
- Big Time Brewery on the Ave (this counts for most of the Ave)
- Trader Joe’s (today was the first time I’ve ever got to use the rack)
- Anywhere in Ballard near the Tractor
- Safeway in Wedgewood (these guys have an 1960s bike rack and it’s not even bolted to the ground!)
- Most of downtown Seattle.
Where would you like to see a rack? Tell me and tell the city!
UPDATE: This may not have be super clear from me, but anyone can submit a rack request. It doesn’t have to come from that business. I’m not sure what kind of weight these citizen’s requests carry, but for now at least, the city is taking them.