Local bike advocate, Whiteaker Neighborhood Council member, and car-free father of four, Paul Adkins has submitted a proposal to the City of Eugene to install the first non-business related bike corral in Eugene. This may even be the first residential on-street bike corral in the nation. Many cities around the country are installing bike corrals in business districts including Portland, San Francisco, New York, and Boulder and as many readers know, the City of Eugene has plans to install three bike corrals this summer. Portland has even done a bike corral in a neighborhood, however that corral was done in the “planter strip” between the sidewalk and the roadway. This corral would actually replace a car parking space with bike parking for about 10 bikes.
The neighborhood bike corral would create a community amenity and utilize public space for a different type of parking than traditionally provided and one that matches the neighborhood usage. As Paul states in his application, “in a residential area where there is more bicycle traffic than car traffic, public bicycle parking is not offered. In this case, local residents simply prefer bicycles in the parking strip rather than autos in order to welcome people that are turning more to bicycles for transportation.”
His proposal is to install and maintain the parking space for the public to use. Since the street sweepers won’t be able to sweep the area with the rack, the proposal is for the resident in front of the corral (in this case, the Adkins family) to clean and maintain the area, including dealing with any vandalism. This is similar to the responsibilities of residents and sidewalks, where the sidewalk in front of a person’s home is the home-owners responsibility.
Paul says he thinks the bike corral would be a great addition to his neighborhood. “The Whiteaker is really embracing the bicycle revolution with more than 20% of the trips being done by bicycle. I can see this summer will really be big. We may near 50% bike ridership for the Summer season. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Over the past few years the Adkins family have sold their car, torn out their driveway to install more garden space and a “bikeway,” and even installed a bike rack in the front of their house. Paul says that creating on-street bike parking in front of the house makes it clear that he and his neighbors “welcome and respect visitors on their bikes” and that “There is no reason that streets should accommodate cars and not accommodate human powered vehicles when it comes to parking.”
On a related note, this spring is the start of the Eugene SmartTrips program in the Whiteaker (as well as the Trainsong & Jefferson/Westside neighborhoods). That program has the goal of increasing walking, biking, transit use, carpooling and car sharing through informational literature, free prizes, fun events and organized programs. What better way to kick off the program than with some SmartParking?!
What do you think? Is this a better use of public space? Would you like a bike corral in front of your house?