This is the fourth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.
Bicycling and driving have one thing in common that is almost universally frustrating, time consuming, friction causing, and potentially expensive.
No matter how seamless your ride across town, no matter how well-timed the traffic lights or low-conflict the bike lanes, it’s all pointless if when you arrive at work, or the store, or the music venue or party, and have nowhere to put your ride.
Worse is when you go back outside find your lock still securely attached and that sweet bike you invested in nowhere in sight.
Or when you buy the rustiest, most theft-proof bike you can find, and arrive at work sweaty because your gears don’t shift and covered in grease because your chain falls off every other block.
These are all real barriers to bicycling. And the solutions might seem difficult and costly … until you break them down and put them in perspective.
We bend over backwards to make car parking easy and cheap. The costs never seem to be too high, the urban real estate too valuable, or alternatives to driving worthy enough of actually incentivizing. Even though we can never build enough to keep up with demand, we keep demanding — and constructing — more. And to hell with the price.
Bike parking, on the other hand, is an afterthought in many municipalities, if it exists at all. Which is a real shame — because it can be a powerful economic development engine.
A recent study in Melbourne found that bike parking spaces are better at generating revenue than car parking spaces. In part, this is simply because bicycles take up so little space, and parking can provide more opportunities for paying customers to park right at a business’s front door.
To read more, click here.