Monday, October 13, 2008

Philly's Bicycle Jams

One of the less remarked upon trends in Phila-delphia has been the upsurge in bicycle commuting. As I wrote in my Changing Skyline column on Friday, traffic is way up in the city's bike lanes. But now, as a consequence, bike parking is increasingly scarce. It's nearly impossible to find an untethered bike rack, parking meter or tree along Walnut Street during peak hours. But it's not only Center City. As Michael Schaffer (an Inquirer alum) reported in his lovely account of Saturday's Obama rally for the New Republic blog, not a single free pole or meter could be found near the West Philly event. The Nutter Administration is planning to add another 1,500 racks, but that won't make much of a difference when you consider they'll be scattered throughout town. The Bicycle Coalition says the city needs 7,500 at least. You can read their report, which details areas with the fewest racks. What are some other spots where bike parking is in short supply?

The increased prevalence of two-wheeled transport is not unique to Philadelphia. A day before my column appeared, the New York Times' Thursday Styles ran a photo essay about bike fashions, wittily headlined, "A Field Guide to the New York City Bicyclist." My bike style guru will always be the woman I spied in Florence many years ago, sailing along on a three-speed while wearing a fur coat and carrying a coffee in her free hand.

As long as we're talking style, be sure to check out Bill Cunningham's fashion essay from Paris, which offers images of some very bike-crowded streets, along with the latest Dior dresses.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

i dont see why businesses dont take a proactive approach. $300 is not much and i think it makes a statement of support to your customers that they know there will be bike parking and they dont have to search around. i know ive continued on my way when it has been annoying to lockup.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Crux said...

ahh..the beauty of $4.00/gal gas. Brings the bikers, mopeders, and cyclers out of the wood work.

Two other random bike thoughts:
1. I have seen a Philly bike share around town...seems to be in a beta test phase?
2. One needs to bring a cable lock when transversing the city these days since a krypto lock may not work when your only fixed hope is a bug fat city light pole or similar.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Crux said...

ahh..the beauty of $4.00/gal gas. Brings the bikers, mopeders, and cyclers out of the wood work.

Two other random bike thoughts:
1. I have seen a Philly bike share around town...seems to be in a beta test phase?
2. One needs to bring a cable lock when transversing the city these days since a krypto lock may not work when your only fixed hope is a bug fat city light pole or similar.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

I'd like to see more businesses and office towers being proactive about bike parking as well. Several years ago, all of the meters and city racks filled up. My old building had a bike rack in an alley that served as an entrance to a parking garage. The rack was out of site of humans or cameras (I was unaware of it until someone else mentioned it). I complained in writing to building management. They moved the rack to the smoking area. I complained in writing again and it was moved to a safe, non-smoking area. I also think that gyms should be especially conscious of the need for bicycle parking by offering both indoor and outdoor racks.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could use some more bike racks that aren't "reserved" for bike messengers. My co-worker locked his bike in front of our building, and got a few notes scrawled on building pass stikers that they'd hack his bike to pieces if he ever put it there again.

3:48 PM  

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