Bicycle parking is almost impossible for non-bicyclists to get right. Since there is almost no mainstream cultural understanding of bicyclists needs and patterns, its like hiring an english major to design your next airplane - there are dozens of ways they can get it wrong, but really only one way to get it right. There are standards aplenty, but who reads those? Businesses typically do not bother, and big businesses especially. I'm happy to report that the Target at Westport and Hubbards gets it right.
The bike parking is visible in the above panorama at the extreme right side. Look closely for the three red dot bollards. It's only about 100 feet, despite the fish-eye making it look really far.
What defines great shopping bike parking, anyway?
- ample! - there is plenty of parking to go around considering the demand - 10 spots is forward-planning for higher gas prices yet.
- mountable curb - you can roll your bike - or your shopping cart - or your wheelchair - right up onto the sidewalk. No need succumb to the tyranny of curb cuts. A good innovation I haven't seen anywhere else.
- bollards - keep the sidewalk from becoming a parking lot. These are playful and conspicuous, not like the stealth booby traps some agencies put in their unlit bicycle facilites
- lighting - check!
- drainage - check!
- close to exit - you have to be able to find bike parking to use it. That means near the entrace. In this case, they instead opted for closer to the exit, but this is an acceptable tradeoff since most neighborhood traffic is coming from the exit-side anyway.
- 2 supports - one of downfalls of the obsolete ladder racks used virtually everywhere in Louisville is that they only support the bike in one place. That makes the bike unstable and it flips when you put your purchases on the bike. Two points of support are standard now.
- square pipe cross section - you can go into this store and buy a pipe cutter that will cut through bike racks made of straight, round pipe.
- U-lock friendly - these racks can take either low-secruity cable locks or medium-security U-locks with ease. Not so the obsolete ladder racks used virtually everywhere in Louisville.
- attractive design - they did not just throw the bike rack in at the last second, the streetscape was planned for it from the beginning. The pavement colors, the way the rack is painted the same institutional beige as the building, all speaks of a concious design to invite in bicycle-transported customers.
'Grats to Target for making its bicycle-based customers feel welcome and valued. This is what big-box bike parking should be like.