Monday, August 15, 2011

Venti's Taphouse Attracts Cars, not many Bikes

If you've been by the new Venti's Taphouse at all, you'll know it's already loved. Every time I've been by it, the parking lot is full.

And even the tweetscape is full of commentary. The Ventis themselves have been caught by surprise!
And we didn't know we would be filling up the parking lot for every meal.

That's the kind of problem you like to have.

Still, the parking lot is full of cars. As the bike locked up to the sign suggests, there's no obvious bike parking.

If you can make it to the back of the building, you might find what looks to be a temporary rack. It's on gravel, and mostly is surrounded by cars, some of them double parked. But you may not be able to reach it, because the cars are too tightly packed. The installed "comb" rack also doesn't have room to lock a bike frame - if you forget and lock only the front wheel, and you have quick-release hubs, you could find your bike missing! (The parking lot and restaurant were packed when this photo was taken! But only two bikes.)

Between the roadway and bike lane on Commercial, the cars packed like sardines in the parking lot, and "comb" rack discouraged by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and hidden in the back of the building, it is hard not to conclude that the downtown branch of Venti's is easier to reach by bike.

Last week it seemed like this stretch of Commercial could be on a cusp of change. Perhaps that's over optimistic.

It will be interesting to see how traffic patterns on foot, on bike, and in car evolve. The current configuration does not seem likely to generate additional bicycling demand. It is possible that driving is so firmly entrenched here that even neighbors will walk and bike infrequently. At the same time, there are plans for additional bike parking in front, and hopefully this will go in soon.

First-class bike parking could be just the tipping point!

Update, Friday, August 19th

Here's a detail from the photo and post on the Taphouse blog announcing the new parking. The comments on the photo are mine and show why the APBP recommends against "comb" style racks.

Happily, the racks are temporary and Leslie specifically encourages people to walk and bike instead of driving!
Plans for super fancy bike parking has been postponed until next summer.

We want our customers to have ample parking for their bikes, we at Venti’s all being cycle enthusiasts ourselves, and it’s a good thing, too, b/c car parking at the Taphouse is at a premium (see below map for overflow parking)....

we are encouraging our customers to walk or bike to the Taphouse. If parking is unavailable, there is on-street parking across the street from us on Alice Ave S (by Weather’s Music and the French Press) or north on Commercial on Waldo Ave SE, or across the street from Waldo on Candalaria Ave.

Let’s work together to choose alternate modes of transportation and/or respect our neighbors and park appropriately.


Melinda Filbert said...

Yes, infrastructure designed to support bicycle commuters, walkers, cyclists that run errands, or meet up at caf├ęs really doesn’t seem to be supported here in Salem. I was so excited with the CH2M Hill plan and the possibility of bike boulevards, upgrades to sidewalks, and intersection improvements, even if they did one sixteenth of the plan. Maybe things will change someday, especially if we had folks in local government that made this a major priority (along with better public transportation). I am learning to accept that we have what we have and at least there are a few bike lanes out there to ride on and a few spots to lock my bicycle up downtown before I head in for a cup of coffee.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

You note one of the great chicken-or-the-egg problems here, that of leadership in government.

Between Earl Blumenauer and Bud Clark, in the late 80s and early 90s Portland had some pretty significant leadership from electeds. Here in Salem we have not seen bicycling - or active transport generally - embraced so strongly or publicly.

But Electeds also talk about the need for their constituents to "make it easy" for them. That is to say, for politicians to be able to say "see, the public demands this."

We neither have a streak of independent electeds who are able to get out in front of an issue like active transportation and really to champion it, nor an electorate or portion of the electorate that is clamoring for high quality bicycling facilities.

Which will come together first? I don't know.

But readers should always feel free to let their City Councilor know that bicycling should be a higher priority in Salem!

Make some noise!

Melinda Filbert said...

Yes, you're right - we can't just sit and complain! I'll contact my City Councilor and do my bit.