Urban Fold

Want To Encourage Bicycle Commuting? Build Parking

A lack of decent parking is the biggest reason more people don't bike to work. Several American cities are now trying to deal with the issue by adding more parking for bicyclists.

"Surveys have shown that the leading deterrent to potential bicycle commuters is lack of a safe, secure parking spot on the other end."

"As the share of trips made by bicycle has grown in recent years...new attention is being paid to what happens to those bicycles when they are not in motion."

"Philadelphia, for example, recently amended its zoning requirements to mandate that certain new developments provide bicycle parking; Pittsburgh's planning department is weighing requiring one bicycle parking space for every 20,000 square feet of development (admittedly modest compared with the not-uncommon car equation of one parking space per 250 square feet); even the car-centric enclave of Orange County, Calif., is getting in on the act, with Santa Ana's City Council unanimously passing a bill requiring proportional bicycle parking when car parking is provided."

Full Story: What Would Get Americans Biking to Work?



Parking leading deterrent to bicycle commuters??????

I really question the statement that "surveys have shown that the leading deterrent to potential bicycle commuters is lack of a safe, secure parking spot on the other end." I can tell you that the number one concern, by far, for every potential bike (or scooter or motorcycle) commuter I know is safety while commuting, not when parked. While parking is certainly an integral part of the infrastructure, I would argue that until we have safe, exclusive routes for these vulnerable, two-wheeled commuters, these modes will only be chosen by risk takers and will never become mainstream. The numbers don't lie, two-wheeled commuting in mixed traffic is extremely dangerous, to the point that it deters most Americans.


Duane Verner

Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes (EML)

Bike Parking is Essential

Two things.

First, bicycling is not dangerous especially if you ride predictably with the other modes of traffic. A separate bicycle infrastruture is not needed. Second, available bicycle parking is absolutely a key factor in getting more people to ride for short non-work trips and for commuting.

I commuted for years by bike and fortunately all of my employers allowed me to bring my bike into the office/building where it was safe from the elements, vandalism, and theft. One particular employer was able to secure an old storage room on the first floor of our office building and convert it to a bike parking room complete with a bike rack. We each had a key to the room. In the event that you could not pedal home, your bike would be safe and sound in the bike room. I would never leave a bike locked outside overnight or even during the course of the day.

As a planner, I have conducted surveys about bicycling and bike parking (or lack thereof) was one of the main reasons people didn't use bikes for short non-work trips. It was also a major consideration for commuting.

Yes, parking is important but safe routes are essential

I still respectfully disagree that parking is the most pressing concern for bike commuters. Massive efforts like Ghost Bikes and Critical Mass prove there is a real need to increase safety for bike commuters. I have never heard of a similar effort to increase bike parking. Also, living and biking in cities like Cleveland, Portland ME, and now Raleigh for over a decade, I have always found a decent place to park.

Just my 2 cents...


Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes (EML)

Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes (EML)

yes, it's the parking

I agree we need more safe routes for bicycles but I think this article has an excellent point. I know from personal experience that parking is a factor, perhaps the major factor, in choosing to commute via bicycle. We aren't talking about pleasure rides into uncharted neighborhoods here, this is commuting, where someone goes back and forth over the same route (or a few varying routes) every work day. Pretty quickly you learn the safe paths, and where the hazards are, and where you can make good time and where you need to really slow down and be careful. Great riders still get caught in tragic accidents and we should do more to prevent that, but here's my take on parking. I haven't commuted by bike for about 8 months now because my bike got stolen. Until there are lockers available, I don't want to risk that happening again. I can't afford it. Sure I could buy a cheap junker and not worry, but I'm middle-aged and I want a comfy ride. So for now, I take the bus. I would love to ride again. It's better for my health (as long as I'm a careful street user). But, when I did, my paneers were stolen, my seat was stolen, my lights were stolen, my wheels were bent, etc. Maybe I have bad luck, but I think this is pretty common. People who try to commute by bike quickly learn the value of good secure parking, or the cost of insecure open racks. If we had more bikestation facilities, lockers, secure racks, and indoor parking at employer/retail sites, I have absolutely no doubt that more people who try bike commuting, would stick with it. I would even be willing to pay for it, because it would be cheaper than replacing parts all the time.

Parking your bike does not matter if you are dead

NHTSA statistics show you are roughly 35 times more likely to die, per vehicle mile traveled, when riding a scooter or motorcycle than you are in a passenger vehicle. I do not have bicycle safety stats on hand but I would guess they are similarly as dire. So, when faced with these odds I can't see how parking trumps safety? It doesn't matter much if my bike is stolen if I am smashed in the road. Sorry to be so grim but we must first acknowledge that by promoting biking, scooters or other vulnerable modes, we are really asking commuters to make a very very risky choice to ride in mixed traffic. This danger creates a tremendous pent up demand to use these modes. Until safety is confronted, ideally through exclusive lanes, we will be hard pressed to significantly increase usage of these vulnerable modes.



Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes (EML)

Pittsburgh Bike Parking Map

There's a new community contributed map of bike parking in Pittsburgh:


Check it out and add any locations that aren't on it yet. Thanks!

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