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Bike Parking Brainstorm: Put 'Em in the Streets, and Beater Bikes Everywhere!

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Back to Curbed's roundup of hypothetical design interventions to various problems: presented by Good magazine and SPUR, along with AIA San Francisco and CEO for Cities, the design series recently proposed filling in the Ferry Building's backyard with mobile kiosks, and installing the Spanish Steps on Broadway. That same night, Stamen Design went to the podium to propose a bike parking solution for the SFMTA. The city currently faces myriad bike-parking problems, not least among them the years-long moratorium on any bike infrastructure ever, barring a full environmental impact report. The problem, in short: more people are riding bikes now, and the city's infrastructure hasn't caught up — or hasn't been able to catch up — yet. Stamen's solution? Put very simply: bike corrals installed along streets and hemmed in by bollards.

Stamen Design, like the designers who took Broadway into Photoshop, isn't an urban design firm. They specialize in visual representations of data, and were responsible for the "Trees, Cabs, and Crime" map that appeared on Curbed some time ago. Still, they gave it a good old college try, and came up with a proposal to sprinkle bike corrals like the Main Library's all over the city. The corrals would be sheltered from the elements and lit at night. Because sidewalk space is limited, bike parking would go into the street, but be delineated by bollards. They also recommended strategies to increase bike parking on non-city space:

Cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have planning code regulations on the books that require a share of new parking facilities be allotted for bicycles in both commercial and residential developments. New York went a step further and mandated that existing private garages sacrifice some car space for bikes. San Francisco has some regulations similar to Pittsburg’s and Philadelphia’s, but they’re pretty weak. If mandating a larger share of bicycle parking proves difficult (parking in San Francisco being as politically charged an issue as it is) the city should consider encouraging garages and new developments to provide it with tax breaks.
All interesting design and policy proposals. Then Stamen goes off the rails with an idea to "seed the city with beater bikes," thus materially devaluing the bicycle, making it less of a theft target and more of a casual, hey-I-found-a-bike-leaning-against-the-wall ride. Hellooooo, critical mass.
· My foray into bicycle infrastructure planning [Com Pulse]
· Bike Parking: A Modest Proposal [Slide Share]
· Broadway Brainstorm: Neon Fortunes and Spanish Steps [Curbed SF]
· Ferry Building Brainstorm: Floating Gardens, Trees and More Vendors [Curbed SF]