Delivering More Bike Parking for Seattle

Imagine being able to bike almost anywhere in Seattle and know you can easily find parking for your bike. That’s the goal of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Bicycle Parking Program. Thanks to funding provided by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy, in 2013 SDOT installed 400 new bicycle parking spaces, providing more convenient access to some of Seattle’s top bike destinations.  In 2014 we aim to top that by at least 25%, providing more than 500 new bike parking spaces for the growing number of people discovering how easy it is to get around by bike.

Bike racks_EssentialBakingRESIZE With the growing demand for cycling in urban areas across the country, many cities are finding that typical off-street bike racks aren’t sufficient for the demand; on-street bike parking is an excellent solution to this dilemma. On-street bike parking can provide 14 bicycle parking spots in a space where only one parked car would fit. The example here is in the University District, at the intersection of University Way NE and NE 42nd St.

The design implemented in the University District uses a series of SDOT’s standard inverted-U racks.  SDOT has also installed corrals such as the one seen in the photo in front of Wallingford’s Essential Baking. The inverted-U design allows for the most flexible configurations but each site is different and the specific type of rack is chosen depending on site conditions.Bike racks U district_20131127_145843 RESIZE

SDOT installed the first on-street bike parking in 2009.  Each year since, we receive more and more requests from business owners who recognize that ten or more bicycles can fit in a space usually reserved for only one car.  What business owner doesn’t want to serve more customers?  It can also help advertise and attract customers who arrive by bike, showing that a business welcomes and supports people on bikes. Additionally, on-street bike parking opens up the visibility of storefronts. The more on-street bike parking SDOT installs, the more businesses realize that active, human-scale uses of right-of way space makes their commercial districts more inviting.

bikerackLocsThe advantages go beyond the business district too. On-street bike parking can return sidewalk space to pedestrians; provide transportation options for employees of nearby businesses; increase the visibility of bicycling in the neighborhood; and increase the street’s net parking capacity.

In 2013, SDOT installed on-street bike parking at eight new locations, bringing the total number throughout the city to 15.  Based on current demand, SDOT expects to double the number of on-street bike parking locations again next year, bringing the total number close to 30 by the end of 2014.  Potential locations include Pioneer Square, West Seattle, Ballard, and Pike Place!

Are you interested in having more bike parking in your neighborhood? It doesn’t matter if you own a business, work, live or just frequent the neighborhood – we would love to hear from you. Ideal locations include business districts with a high number of customers arriving by bike; existing bike racks on the sidewalk that are consistently in use; and an adjacent business that embraces the concept.  If you are interested, please contact walkandbike@seattle.gov and let us know.  We will be happy to work with you to find a suitable solution to your bike parking needs.