Starting next week, Eugene area bike riders will be able to experience a little art when they park their bikes at two downtown locations. The City of Eugene partnered with Lane Community College (LCC) art instructor Lee Imonen and his students over the last year to design and create three artistic bike corrals for downtown. Two of the corrals will be “inaugurated” with their first bike locking on Thursday, September 8th starting at 10:30 AM at 450 Willamette Street. The uniquely Eugene bike corrals reflect the city’s nationally ranked biking system in an artistic and creative way that also promotes downtown vitality.
A bike corral converts an on-street parking space or other unused curb space for bicycle parking. The two new corrals will be located in front of Morning Glory Café on Willamette and the Kiva Grocery Store on Olive, just north of 11th Avenue. Another artistic corral is planned in front of the Cornucopia Restaurant on Pearl Street north of 5th Avenue.
Combining the bike corrals with public art was inspired by the City of Eugene’s 2010 Public Art Plan which calls for integrating art into everyday objects from lighting fixtures to bicycle racks. The project serves a number of City goals including:
• promoting alternative transportation;
• incorporating art into parking;
• reinvesting parking funds where they are collected;
• increasing bike parking downtown; and
• reinforcing the creative, distinctive culture of downtown.
In addition, the project was another opportunity for the City to work with students in the community. While the City benefited from the donation of over a thousand hours of design work and labor from the instructor and students, LCC students got real world experience in helping shape their community. They also learned more about Eugene’s history and culture by researching the design concepts and locations.
Students in last fall’s Art 117: Three Dimensional Basic Design came up with nine different designs for the downtown bike corrals. The public reviewed and commented on the designs while they were on display in the Atrium and the Eugene Public Library during January and February. A selection committee composed of the City’s Public Art Committee, Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and other stakeholders reviewed public input and determined the winning designs.
In a nutshell, there is no intentional delay to get the first three bike corrals installed, it’s just the nature of trying to do something new and different that involves staff people from several different departments.
Some of you wonderfully astute readers may have noticed that there is a discrepancy in WBE reporting about when the downtown bike corrals will be installed. You may remember that in September I reported that the installation of the bike corrals at KIVA (125 W 11th), Cornucopia (5th and Pearl), and Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St) was “currently in queue behind a mass parking meter installation project at the University of Oregon, and should begin sometime in October.” You also may have noticed Shane’s recent article which says that the very same corrals “will be built during a spring fabrication class at LCC and installed during the spring of 2011.”
If you are like me, you probably are wondering, “Hey!… What?” (My inner monologue is not very eloquent.)
Confused, I contacted City of Eugene Associate Transportation Planner David Roth for an explanation. Turns out, neither WBE story is fully correct.
It takes many little things for a city to become and remain “bicycle friendly.” Our cycling infrastructure is more than just bridges and cycletracks, and while those things are important, they aren’t everything. If all we ever focus on is the big stuff, one might get the idea that not a lot is going on– but that’s hardly the truth. There are tons of little things being done to make cycling better in Eugene and Springfield all the time. These little things that may not change the whole city, but to the select people that ride in those areas, they may be ten times more important than a huge project across town.
Welcome to our new randomly repeating feature: The ‘Little Things’ Roundup!
The City of Eugene is planning on installing three bike corrals in the downtown area. They’ll be at KIVA (125 W 11th), Cornucopia (5th and Pearl), and Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St). The source of funding for the racks varies: Morning Glory is helping to pay for theirs with help from the grower’s market, and the city parking fund is paying for the installation and most of the other racks. The project is currently in queue behind a mass parking meter installation project at the University of Oregon, and should begin sometime in October. Isaac Marquez, the City’s Public Art staffer, is helping the city plan for a public art component for future racks. Lee Imonen, of the Delta Ponds Bridge Sculpture fame, is also interested in helping with the art component.
Why? The removal of parking meters. According to Jeff Petry, Eugene Parking Services Manager,the City Council has directed thatleft it up to city staff to decide whether the heads be removed off 288 parking meters downtown. This would make the meters inadequate for bike parking since bike locks could simply be lifted off the pole. It would be a grave mistake to remove 288*165 bike parking spots from an already inadequate downtown bike parking scene.
* Update: It was just brought to my attention by Petry that many of the meters are double heads on a single pole, so the actual loss in bike parking would be less than the 288. It’s actually 165 meter poles with 288 meter heads attached to them.
Eugene wouldn’t be the first city to make this mistake. Take the jump to read about some cities that have made this mistake in the past, and how other cities have avoided it. This issue is real and it is now, and we have only a few weeks to change the momentum of this project.
The City of Eugene’s May InMotion newsletter is out, and covers some great things. Two things that stand out for me are their May Facebook photo contest – which has already yielded some great shots – and the coming of bike corrals to Eugene.
Quoted from InMotion:
Bike Parking in Eugene – Bike Corrals Coming Soon
How can we improve the pedestrian environment, increase parking capacity in front of local businesses and improve visibility – all at a relatively low cost? One way to accomplish these often competing goals is to install a new type of bike parking facility called a bike corral. These on-street bike parking facilities help improve the pedestrian environment by opening up space that may have been used previously for bike racks installed in the sidewalk. And, they increase parking capacity by fitting up to 14 bikes in the space that was occupied by a single automobile. For some businesses, that’s a huge increase in customer parking!
The City of Eugene’s Transportation Planning Team is currently working with partners from City Parking Services, Permitting and Traffic Operations to develop a program to manage the installation and maintenance of bike corrals in Eugene. Modeled after other successful examples, Eugene’s bike corral program will rely on a collaborative partnership between interested private businesses and the City of Eugene. Businesses interested in adding additional bike parking should contact Associate Transportation Planner, David Roth at (541) 682-5727 for more information.
Take the jump to read and download the full InMotion newsletter, which includes information about the 2010 Bike/Ped counts, the Business Commute Challenge, Walk + Bike month, recycling bike tubes and tires, and much more! Also following the jump: In The News: Coconut Bliss goes bike powered, and the “Drive Less, Save More” Campaign.