Providing ample, convenient, and secure bicycle parking is an important part of serving those who currently use bicycles as a means of transportation, as well as encouraging future cyclists. Bicycle parking is an inexpensive and efficient means of increasing both public and private parking capacity for the City of New Haven as a whole.
What is a Bicycle Corral?
On-street Bicycle Parking Corrals make efficient use of a curb-side parking lane for bicycle parking in areas with high demand. Corrals typically have 6 to 12 bicycle racks in a row and can park 10 to 20 bicycles, in a space that previously was occupied by 1 or 2 automobiles.
Most of New Haven's bicycle parking is provided by bike racks on the sidewalk. However, in a growing number of commercial areas, the high demand for bicycle parking is too much for the sidewalk to accomodate. In other cases, local businesses simply prefer bicycles in the on-street parking lane rather than autos, in order to attract a customer base that increasingly choosing cycling. In all cases, corrals should be installed at the request of or in cooperation with adjacent businesses.
Why On-Street Bicycle Parking?
On-Street Bicycle Parking provides many benefits where bicycle-use is high and growing:
- Businesses: Corrals provide a 10 to 1 customer to parking space ratio and advertise "bike-friendliness". They also improve the outdoor cafe seating environment by removing locked bicycles from the sidewalk.
- Pedestrians: Corrals clear the sidewalks and serve as de facto curb extensions.
- Cyclists: Corrals increase the visibility of bicycling.
- Motorists: Corrals improve visibility at intersections by eliminating the opportunity for larger vehicles to park at street corners.
For these reasons, the design's popularity is growing around the world. Let's catchup, New Haven! For further reading, check out Bike Corrals: Local Business Impacts, Benefits, and Attitudes, a study completed by Drew Meisel while a graduate student in Portland State University's School of Urban Studies and Planning.
Initiative & Planning
Clearly this is not a new idea in New Haven, as Elm City Cycling has discussed and advocated for this in the past. This community discussion took place publicly on SeeClickFix ("On-street bike parking needed"), and was also endorsed by the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition.
For this proof-of-concept, I've selected the off-the-shelf Park-a-Bike Varsity bike corral. Of course, if the City of New Haven ever decided to roll out a larger program of installing these around the city, they would be free to choose an alternate vendor, or manufacture their own.
Considering Portland, Oregon has 87 on-street bike corrals, perfection is not the goal when choosing the location of the first installation in a city with 0 of them. The goal of this project is to bring on-street bike parking to the City of New Haven in the immediate future, with minimal friction and maximum exposure. If the project is successful, this will simple be the first installation of many in the New Haven County area. After this initial project phase, project supporters and ECC can re-evaluate the project, based on feedback from the City. As the bike corral won't be permanently drilled into the street, it can be moved to a new location in the future.
Parking Meter Bar
The plan is to apply to for a Parking Meter Bag from the City of New Haven, to alleviate any concerns about lost revenue from automobile use. :) Alternatively, I would be more than happy to have the City step in to sanction the removal of the parking space (either permanently or for a certain duration of time).
A key challenge with a project like this is to avoid both underestimating and overestimating the amount of funding needed. Both scenarios would lead to criticism. With that in mind, I will adhere to the following principles:
- As costs change or get more refined, I will post that information as an "update" to the project.
- Any overage of funds will be used to rent the parking meter bag for additional days, or as a donation to Elm City Cycling, who have officially endorsed this project.
Here is my current best estimate of the cost breakdown of the project:
$2,500.00 Park-a-Bike Varsity Bike Corral
+ $415.00 Shipping
= $2,915.00 goods sub-total
+ $185.10 CT sales tax (6.35%)
= $3,100.10 goods total
+ $650.00 Parking Meter Bag ($20/day x 30 days + $50 deposit)
= $3,750.10 project sub-total
= $3,100.10 project sub-total
+ $371.26 Amazon Payments & SCF fees (9.9%)
+ $306.91 Amazon Payments & SCF fees (9.9%)
= $4,121.36 project total
= $3,407.01 project total
As it would be foolish to launch a fundraising campaign for such an exact figure (guaranteed to be off), this was rounded to $4200 $3400. NB: There is still the possibility that this estimate is low.
That's all for now, stay tuned for updates! Please donate what you can afford. More importantly, please help spread the word by sharing this link on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please ping me at zackbeatty
Email: zackbeatty (at) gmail