Friday, November 4, 2011

Take City Parking Survey and Remind them about Bikes

Most people when they bike downtown also have to park downtown. Bike owners don't usually intend for them magically to disappear!

The City's got a new survey on "parking" downtown and not surprisingly it omits bike parking.

On the one hand, the total number of people who come downtown by bike is still small compared to the number who drive a car, so that population may round to zero. On the other hand, bikes are vehicles and we have to park them. A parking management strategy should include provisions for people who bike.

And one way to make more car parking spots available is to make it easy for people not to drive a car to downtown! If people feel they have a real choice, they might choose not make a car trip. When the streets make it easy for people to bike and when there is plentiful high-quality bike parking, more people will choose to bike. Easy bike access frees up car capacity!

Not to mention that a super fantastic bike parking stall costs less than 5% of a parking garage stall.

Here's the 2010-11 budget for the downtown parking district. That's a $2.6M annual investment for car storage! (The amount of the direct subsidy for "free" parking is unclear; some of the income is from parking permits and other parking fees. I've never got a clear answer from the City on this.)

The economics are clear: A good way to make car existing capacity go farther is to invest in much cheaper bike capacity.

For inspiration, here's a clip from an exhibit in Eugene based on a summer bike class in the Netherlands.

Take the survey and remind 'em that making it easy to bike will also make it easy for all road users.

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