Bike Friendly Richardson

Bike Parking BCBS Richardson

Posted in Advocacy by dickdavid on May 17, 2010

One of the biggest problems with biking around town is the lack of bike parking. We had discussed the need for visible bike parking at local events, but there’s also need for more parking at many of the city’s rider destinations.

Looking at the current state of bike usage around town, one might think there isn’t much need for bike racks. They might not appear to be a justifiable expense for the city and most real estate developers.

We would like people to view it from a different perspective.

Sure, there’s the initial expense of putting up these racks. Sure, these racks may start off mostly unoccupied. However, if you build them in highly visible places and you inspire more people to ride, they will get filled.

A great example of local, proactive, bike friendly efforts is the new Blue Cross Blue Shield campus in Richardson. BFR friend, Dave Carter, had mentioned to us that they offered plenty of bike parking that was within walking distance of Galatyn Park. We took a ride to check it out and found 20 full sized racks on the south side of their parking garage. There is obviously no immediate need for so much bike parking, but they took the initiative and built them to help inspire and grow the bike community.

Our only criticism is that they are a little hard to find. It’s hard to inspire folks to ride their bikes when the racks are tucked away and out of site. Perhaps some nice Bike Parking signage would help.

EDIT: Post was updated to clarify our perspective. See comments below.

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10 Responses

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  1. Brad M. said, on May 17, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Agree… Thanks for keeping this issue top of mind. BCBS has taken a great first step in providing the parking. However, as you said it needs to be more visible so users can know where it is. This is a great spot to put the majority of the bike racks as additional parking; however a few strategically placed racks near the entrance of the building will not only promote use but also give an incentive to commuters to have “front row parking.” Some simple signage, as you mentioned, would also help direct overflow to the back of the garage. It may seem hard to persuade a building architect to clutter up his entrance with a few racks, however times are changing and many are open to this use. There are also several new bike rack designs that can complement the site design when not in use. Nothing looks better than a full bike rack though…. Keep speaking, someone will hear us…

  2. Jim said, on May 17, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I’m actually going to disagree with you on this one. While I agree that there needs to be convenient, visible, and safe bicycle parking at commercial destinations in Richardson (and here in Plano), I do not believe that large bicycle rows are the answer. For one, they do take up a lot of space and can seem an eyesore. Businesses will not want to put up a lot of parking near the building if they take up walking space in front. They are also expensive, and without an immediate justified reason (i.e. a lot of cyclists riding up there and locking their bikes to parking signs and iron rails, etc.), they will not build them. In your example, Blue Cross Blue Shield has the funding to pay for the more expensive rows and the property space to build them so they are out of sight and safe. Most cyclist destinations will not be similar in this regard.

    However! Bicycling parking IS needed and I do believe it should be pursued (both to the benefit of cyclists and businesses). Instead of large rows, small facilities, like the U Style or Small Double-Wave parking racks ought to be pursued. These racks are low cost, secure, and have a very small footprint. They can hold from two to five bicycles. They can be placed in a visible location, in front of businesses, not take up much space, and (subjectively) have better aesthetics.

    Companies like Target (on Parker and 75), and On The Border Mexican Grill (on 15th and 75, just off the South Chisholm Trail), utilize these racks to high success.

    Small Businesses will not like the size and cost (both in money and footprint) of large rows. Instead the idea is to put a simple and inexpensive feature that will attract the cyclists. The initial investment is small and once it is shown to work, the business can then expand to meet any new demand.

    Example of U Rack: http://www.bicycleparkingracks.com/items.asp?itemcode=I145-1438&Cc=IBR-CM

    Example of Double Wave: http://www.bicycleparkingracks.com/items.asp?itemcode=I342-1053&Cc=IBR-WV

    • dickdavid said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:03 am

      Jim, I see your point and apologize for any misunderstanding. I’ve edited the post to clarify.

      We weren’t advocating that all businesses just bring in large, expensive bicycle rows of bike racks – but rather take on a different perspective towards cycling. IF and where it is possible, we would love to see more racks around town (any size or shape). Also, being an eyesore is subjective.

      Obviously, we wouldn’t want to take up walking space, but there is usually plenty of space in a parking lot. A couple of parking spaces given to bikes could reduce the need for a dozen used by cars. We agree, there probably won’t be an immediate justification of the cost, so we are open to finding ways to help offset that.

      We’re also fans of the more aesthetically pleasing racks.

      • Jim said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:17 am

        I tell you what would be a good idea (you like how I’m throwing this in your direction, instead of doing it myself! Ha!), is to throw a fund raiser to buy a couple of bike racks (cheapest I have found go for about 80 dollars each, but perhaps we can find a better deal). Maybe raise 3 to 4 hundred dollars. Then find four businesses that are interested in promoting their wares to cyclists. Pick a locational spread, throughout Richardson, so that the whole city is reached.

        Hold some sort of contest between all of the businesses and offer to pay for and install for free a bike rack at a business that participates in the BFR Retail Partner program. Make it a set of two events.

        Start off with finding businesses that will be interested in participating in the contest (don’t know what this could be… essay writing?! I don’t know… Perhaps just a simple vote of the customers that attend each business).

        Work up a good sized event to raise money. Perhaps a “Ride For Parking” fun ride with teams and individuals raising money. Throw in local radio, newspapers, Art&Seek, etc. Only need a couple of hundred, so it shouldn’t be hard to get our goal. Have the companies that are participating for their chance at a free bike rack be at the event.

        Once the money is attained, figure out who gets the bike racks and install them. Then promote those businesses (and others that have bike racks) as ideal businesses to go to. Use them as a case study to present to further businesses down the road of what a simple, 80 dollar investment can bring them.

        Don’t know the logistics or legal issues that need to be done, but what do you think?

        80 Dollar Bike Rack: http://www.bicycleparkingracks.com/items.asp?Cc=IBR-CM-S04

        • dickdavid said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:24 am

          That’s a great idea.

          Right now, we are still figuring out the best solution for fund raising. We are not set up with a non-profit status, so (for now) we are shying away from any financial dealings.

          • Jim said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

            BFR doesn’t necessarily need to be a non-profit, we can perhaps find a non-profit willing to handle the money side of things. (Is Bike DFW a non-profit?). Anyway, there are a couple of logistic issues involved here, but we can figure that out. I’ll send you an email so that we don’t have to clutter up the comments section.

  3. Patrick said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Urban bike racks should be placed on street, similar to on street parallel parking. These racks encourages cyclists to ride on the street/bike lane.

    http://cyclinginfrastructure.com/ec_photo.html

  4. Patrick said, on May 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Probably the best place for urban bike racks is on the street, similar to on street parking. These racks encourage cyclists to ride the streets/bike lanes.

  5. W. K. Lis said, on May 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Bicycle racks are an eyesore? Parking lots are an eyesore.

    And why, if parking garages are hidden away, they put up signs directing them to them. Do the same to the hidden bicycle parking.


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