On-Street Bike Parking = Awesome!

I saw this in Kendall Square, Cambridge, on my commute recently:


What an awesome sight! I’ve seen similar on-street bike parking in Boston, Somerville, and even suburban Lexington. Why do we think this is so great? Several reasons:

  • It increases the number of bike racks dramatically and quickly
  • It uses existing space (usually a parking space)
  • It’s mobile – so installation is simple and relocation is easy
  • It’s good business – you get more customers from 15 bikes than 1 car
  • And nothing says “Bikes Matter” more clearly than taking space from cars!

So what do you think about this? Where else have you seen it in Massachusetts?

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7 Responses to On-Street Bike Parking = Awesome!

  1. Kim June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    There’s two more in the Harvard Square area. One is in front of the Brattle Theater on Brattle Street and another across the street from Fire + Ice.

  2. pywaket June 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    There’s at least a dozen of these scattered around Somerville.

  3. Craig Della Penna June 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    I put one in front of my office in downtown Northampton almost 2 years ago. Story here.

  4. SGJ June 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    One of these is desperately needed at Fresh Pond mall; there are only a small number of bike racks there at one end (by the Whole Foods).

  5. Alex June 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Somerville has installed 10 bike corrals, as these on street racks are called, and Cambridge has installed 8. They were reimbursable through the MAPC. Here’s to seeing many more soon around the state!

  6. Henry Lieberman June 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Yes, those new rack-in-parking-spaces are great. But they have serious and easily correctable design flaws.

    MassBike should agitate to have awnings installed over them, not just leave them exposed. That rack is near an office building, and no doubt many of the parkers are employees riding to work. Sure, a bike won’t melt in the rain for an hour or two, but an everyday commuter who must leave a bike out in the rain and snow all day continually will soon have a rust bucket and be discouraged from commuting.

    The picture illustrates another common problem with these bike-racks-designed-by-people-who-commute-by-car. The spaces on many racks are much too close together. I constantly get pedals caught in my spokes and broken spokes, again, something that discourages everyday commuting. Nobody would build a parking lot where the car spaces were so close together that there wasn’t enough room to open doors.

    Henry Lieberman

    • David June 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Henry: You’re right, the racks could be better. But at least communities are trying and we need to let them know we appreciate it.

      Strangely, almost all multi-bike racks are badly designed, even ones made by experienced bike rack manufacturers. Last year, we assisted the MBTA in evaluating and redesigning the two-tier racks that will be installed in the next generation of Pedal & Park facilities at major stations. We noted many of the same problems you did, and the manufacturer was receptive to our feedback. I guess we’ll see how the final product comes out!

      Covered racks are certainly nice, especially when you need to park there for the day, but whether a cover is needed depends on where the rack is and who uses it. Cambridge has a very good guide to bike parking facilities at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/tpat_BikeParkingBrochure.pdf. The guide talks about considerations in choosing the right rack and location. Cambridge also has bike parking requirements in its zoning ordinance, which we would like to see more communities do.