• A Tale of Tube Racks and Warning Tags

    by  • February 20, 2012 • Bike Parking • 3 Comments

    Bike Delaware members have reported seeing some additional bike parking being added along Newark’s Main Street. While anything at all is welcome by the bicycling community – ranked among the nation’s highest in modeshare at 4.7% (likely higher on Main Street) – it will take more than a few “yellow zone” tube racks, pictured above. While we applaud and are grateful for the City’s efforts to isolate and use whatever sidewalk space is available, it would be unfair to ticket bicyclists until regular provisions are made available, even if it comes at the expense of a few car parking spaces, such as on-street “corral” parking.

    Above:  The author was ticketed last night for parking on a tree in front of Panera Bread. While politely worded about tree preservation – totally understood – the nearest (newly installed) tube rack was about 30 yards away, in front of “Gecko”, and in use.

    Some good news:  A member of the Newark Bicycle Committee has been meeting with the Newark directors of Planning, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation to show them custom bike parking solutions developed by Vintage Metalwork of Milford, DE. Responses have been favorable. If approved, they will be presented to other municipal committees in the beginning of March. Planners are aware of individual Merchants that might be willing to invest in bike parking as well. All of this tells us that the City is seriously moving toward a green, bicycle-friendly initiative that can only help Main Street’s traffic woes – and for that we are grateful.

    The sooner we can get parking installed along Main street, the sooner others will see the benefits first hand, and hopefully be more willing to join forces. This will hopefully lead to enough bike parking at regular intervals, at which time the city can legitimately begin enforcing its “no bike parking on trees or other city furniture” ordinance.
    Above: 
    Yesterday’s scene out front of Panera Bread on Main Street in Newark. It would be unfair for the City to ticket any of these folks until equal or better bike parking capacity is installed.

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    3 Responses to A Tale of Tube Racks and Warning Tags

    1. February 21, 2012 at 1:46 am

      Sorry Frank but you deserved the ticket. It’s never cool to park on a tree under any circumstances as repeated abrasion to the bark and vascular cambium underneath with eventually kill the tree. Plus its not unheard of, of bike thieves cutting down a small tree to steal a bike.

    2. James
      February 21, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Andy –

      If there was bike parking anywhere near, you would have a point. But there isn’t. That’s Frank’s point. He’s spent about a 100 hours trying to get Main street bike parking so that he (and the thousands of other bicyclists who come to Main street) don’t have to do lock their bikes to trees. This is not an issue of (lack of) personal responsibility by scofflaw bicyclists. It is a simple issue of (lack of) adequate cycling infrastructure.

      Rather than give these tickets to bicyclists, it would be more effective to simply forward them each and every time to the Mayor and City Council. I think getting a few hundred of these tickets every week might be helpful at focusing the attention of decisionmakers. We bicyclists on Main Street are already painfully aware of the issue.

    3. Frank Warnock
      February 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Actually, the tree is dead already. The next one closest to it – also in front of Panera – was cut down leaving a stump. This is a battle of ideology and ignorance. Most business owners and govt officials still see greater value in a single car parking space – usually an SOV – as opposed to parking for up to 10 on bicycles. And unlike many cities that install bike parking *hoping* to attract us, these racks will be used with overwhelming success, just like the scattered few that are there now.

      A lot of the frustration over this issue has to do with human and environmental condition – cities should welcome, even roll out the red carpet for folks who choose to leave the car home (or not own one, as many in Newark choose to do). Up to now, many feel that we’re seen as a nuisance – something to be dealt with. Hope has arrived that these rack negotiations are a turning point.

      Sidewalk parking must have business buy-in, and the on-street corral concept must have city/DelDOT buy in, or it’s a no go. So each have an issue hurting progress. We are hopeful, however, that VinMet will get the go ahead to start installing additional sidewalk parking, as their products are aesthetically pleasing and serve a genuine function, i.e. tree guards=racks. The key is regularity – it’s a college town and unless there’s a rack nearby each destination, they’re still going to forge for something closer.

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