In some cities, there are more parking spots than there are people – for cars, that is. But try to ride your bicycle to work instead, and you’ll likely find that a secure place to park is hard to find.
Not only is that a major inconvenience for dedicated cyclists, it’s keeping many more Americans from ditching their cars for a bike in the first place. But some cities are fighting back, enacting legislation that mandates bicycle parking. New York City recently passed a bill requiring commercial parking garages to provide one bike space for every 10 car spaces.
According to Slate, a number of additional cities are considering similar measures. Philadelphia recently amended its zoning requirements to mandate that some new developments provide bicycle parking, and Pittsburgh is considering a new requirement that would provide one bicycle parking space for every 20,000 feet of development. Santa Ana, Calif., passed a bill requiring proportional bicycle parking when car parking is allowed.
Portland, Ore., is one of America’s most enthusiastic bicycling cities, with bicycle use growing 150 percent since 1990. Accordingly, the city has taken on a number of initiatives to increase bicycle parking, like requiring residential buildings to have the same bicycle parking requirements as commercial buildings. Portland is also spending $1 million in stimulus funds to install bicycle parking at transit hubs.
Unless more cities follow suit, even commuters who are drawn to the idea of free, healthy, environmentally friendly transportation will think twice about it because of parking issues. Plentiful, secure bicycle parking increases the number of cyclists on the road and the many benefits that come along with it – like cleaner air, increased bicycle safety awareness and a deeper sense of community.