What’s wrong with this picture? It appears that the hula dancers are beckoning riders to park their bikes here. However, it is to no avail. This was taken on the opening day of Trader Joe’s in Larkspur, California. If you live in Marin or happen to find yourself nearby, you will quickly realize two things – the hula dancers are not there and the tightly packed bike racks are never used.
In the blog post, Guidelines & Resouces, I shared a few examples of what to do and what not to do when selecting bike racks and their layout. The above picture is a good example of what not to do. I think it is pretty obvious what the main issue is here. Below is another image to reinforce it.
Allow me to point out a few positives:
- Location. The location is great. The bike racks are located close to the building and the front door. This is very important because the bicyclists can easily transition from their bike to the front door. Also, when the bicycles are locked up they can be easily seen from within the building.
- Rack Design. The inverted “U”, “A”, and the post and loop are most popular among cyclists. The 3/4 circle is a creative departure from the standard shapes but it is still effective. These shapes are preferred because they support the bicycle in two locations, prevent the wheel from tipping over, enable the frame and wheels to be secured, and they support bicycles without a diamond shaped frame. Via APBP
Now for the obvious:
- Placement. Stairs are not a good area for bike racks. Also, the bike racks are jammed together too closely – making it difficult to maneuver a bicycle and lock it to the rack. This configuration also reduces the number of bikes that can use the racks. According to the APBP Guidelines, the minimum distance between racks is 30 inches. Below are two examples from the report.
I shop here at least once a week and I have only seen one bicycle locked up on these racks. There is one more reason I believe these racks are not being used that I think is very important to point out – the store is located in an area where shoppers are forced to drive. You will notice in the google aerial below that a highway separates the majority of residential from the shopping area. This is a major deterrent for pedestrians to walk or ride their bicycles.
It is not good enough to just place bike racks in a location and hope they will be used. The “build it and they will come” philosophy does not apply in this case. Many more large-scale considerations need to be made.
Until next time…