Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who needs a rack when you have a fence post?

I captured this photo at the Sunset Valley farmer's market after watching a couple walk their bikes around the market in search of bike parking. As we left the market, we saw the couple chaining up their bikes to this fence post. Quite clever. But again I was reminded of bike parking woes that I posted about last week. After posting, I contacted the market and asked if there was available bike parking. I received the following reply: "there are lots of vehicles and trees you can lock your bike to, so yes." huh? Vehicles?
The market is held in the parking lot of the Toney Burger Center. It's a huge parking lot with lots of spaces for cars but none for bicycles. The Center itself is nestled in a residential neighborhood surrounded by retail shopping and jogging paths/bicycle lanes. In other words, there is an existing infrastructure for bicycles and therefore riding your bike should be encouraged more. But if you don't have anywhere to park, what's the point? It's kind of like putting the cart before the horse. The photo below depicts the dedicated bike lane and then the jogging/walking path on the far right.
So today I took action. I emailed the Market asking if they would consider asking a local bike organization to provide complimentary bike valet service in exchange for a free space or offering a larger space to an existing vendor who is willing to man the valet. I also contacted the Chairperson of the City's Planning & Environmental Committee to request that the City install complimentary bike racks (or incentives for doing so) at the Center and other shopping centers within the area. I then drove around a couple of the centers that I have yet explored searching for bike parking. I was pleased to find lots of it in the centers that are north of Brodie Lane. There were racks at several of the anchor stores and also strategically placed along the length of the mega centers. I happened upon the Sunset Valley City Hall and Public Works so I pulled in and inquired about the bike trails and maps depicting the bike path route. Unfortunately they don't have a published one so I'll be adding that to my list of requests as well as community education. If no one knows what those trails are, then no one is going to use them. Stay tuned.