I just completed a development proposal for a bicycle parking structure in Milwaukee as a part of a land use planning course I took this semester. While I don’t imagine that the demand exists currently for such a structure, I believe in the future such a structure will be useful.
Plenty of times I’ve tried to park my bicycle on the street and have had a hard time finding an open rack. Aside from the momentary frustration, seeing this makes me happy – at least people are using the racks provided! This is a stark contrast from the city I grew up in, where a bicycle rack was rarely used (or full). Group of bicycle racks off of Brady Street in MilwaukeeIn busier areas of Milwaukee, particularly Downer Avenue, Farwell Avenue (near North Avenue), and Brady Street, I’ve seen a grouping of bicycle racks that occupies about one or two parking spaces. I think these bicycle racks are a great idea, and given the smaller size of a bicycle, many more bicycles can fit in the same space that one car occupies.
I believe that as cycling becomes a more ubiquitous method of transportation, especially with the introduction of bicycle sharing networks, bicycle parking “garages” will become important. Indoor facilities will reduce the likelihood of bicycles or their parts being stolen and may make cyclists feel better about leaving their bicycle. Those currently finding it difficult to store their bicycle (if living in a high-rise building, for example) may find a bicycle storage facility helpful for longer-term, safer storage.
Their use as a hub of a bicycle-sharing network also has great potential. Bicycle storage facilities can also serve as a bicycle-sharing node, perhaps with staffing that can assist its users or serve as a repair facility. A bicycle storage facility could serve as the “transfer station” of a successful bicycle-sharing network.