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“Bike Corral” Debuts Downtown

by Melissa Bailey | Sep 20, 2013 8:08 am

(28) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Transportation, Downtown

Melissa Bailey Photo The city has converted one car parking spot into a “corral” of 16 parking spots for bicycles, in the latest effort to rethink on-street parking downtown.

City traffic chief Jim Travers (pictured) gathered with cycling activists Thursday to unveil the city’s first ever “bike corral,” a mega-sized bike rack that sits in the street in the place of an on-street parking spot.

“This is not about creating a bike rack, but about creating a sense of place,” said Travers.

The rack occupies a spot on College Street near Chapel, right outside Anchor bar and Claire’s Corner Copia restaurant.

It represents the latest city effort to make downtown more friendly to two-wheeled denizens. Less than a month ago, the city unveiled a vegetable-themed bike rack sculpture at the same intersection.

The vegetable rack filled up instantly, proving a high demand for more bike parking downtown, Travers said.

The idea for the bike corral came from Zack Beatty of SeeClickFix. Beatty launched a campaign on the map-based neighborhood problem-solving website to raise money to bring one to city streets. He started crowd-funding donations to pay for the bike rack. Elm City Cycling, which has long advocated for more bike infrastructure around town, got behind the effort.

To Beatty’s pleasant surprise, the city didn’t block the idea—it ran with it. The city bought the rack for $4,000, according to Travers.

Travers announced that the first 50 people to park their bikes in the rack get a free “I Bike New Haven” mug from the nearby Info New Haven booth, as well as a bike taillight.

In other recent experiments, Travers has let restaurants rent parking meters for an entire day to lure in customers, and even let people dine in on-street parking spots. More experiments are planned for Friday, to celebrate International Park(ing) Day, an effort to reclaim parking spots for creative uses such as theater productions.

The new bike corral will stay until the winter. As soon as the skies threaten snow, Travers said, the city will remove the rack in the winter to accommodate snow plows. He said winter is a lower-volume time for bike traffic anyway. The rack will be back in the spring, he pledged.

Win Davis, head of the Town Green Special Services District, applauded the development.

“One parking spot” for a car, “16 spots for 16 bikes. This is building our density,” he said.

Downtown Alderman Doug Hausladen rolled up on a black Miyata bicycle and added his approval.

“Let’s keep New Haven moving forward,” he said, “on two wheels.”

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posted by: HewNaven on September 20, 2013  8:43am

As someone who does not own a car and rides a bike everywhere in town, to see those gorgeous coffee mugs just arbitrarily doled out really burns my buns. I want one, and I earned it darn it!

Seriously, great job by Travers for bringing the first bike coral to the city, and great job by Beatty for giving birth to this idea. Its moments like these when New Haven almost resembles a progressive community. Now if only we had a Mayor who understood transportation issues….

posted by: Anderson Scooper on September 20, 2013  9:12am

Travers is fantastic!  I particularly like his willingness towards trying this or that.

Can someone ask both Harp and Elicker if they would keep him on, were they to win, and then I’m wondering if we shouldn’t be working up a petition to be sure Travers’ job doesn’t get handed to someone less great as part of the patronage game.

posted by: Wooster Squared on September 20, 2013  9:16am

Great work Jim!

posted by: TheMadcap on September 20, 2013  9:47am

On that note, this was posted by Mark Abrahams yesterday, executive director of DataHaven

@urbandata 1h
Today’s new #Census data shows 3.8% of #NHV workers bike to work every day: one of highest rates in USA. Massive increase since 1990 & 2000.

posted by: Stylo on September 20, 2013  10:02am

Awesome. Bike share should be next. Set up one at Union Station and one near the green to start.

posted by: shadesofzero on September 20, 2013  10:02am

Very cool. Love all of the bike-friendly changes lately.

posted by: cannondale on September 20, 2013  10:07am

Hats off to Zack Beatty and Jim Travers. I will bike to Anchor and raise a Sea Hag to you.

posted by: Mike Slattery on September 20, 2013  11:03am

Awesome.    This should declutter the sidewalk, so peds and motorists get something too.    Hadn’t thought about the plows - good call.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 20, 2013  11:54am

Woot woot Travers and Zbeat! Friends on facebook we’re asking when they could get one in SF.

posted by: darnell on September 20, 2013  11:54am

There’s 4 youth ($4,000 in city money) who won’t have jobs this summer. Really? Four or five pieces of metal screwed together equal $4 grand? City residents have to feed dollars to those meters all day to take care of personal business, but the city coughs up 2 tons of dollar bills (my taxes) to put up a bike rack? I know I’m going to be slammed by the bikers (a very well organized lobby) by just questioning the logic of spending this sort of money while so many New Haven residents are looking for work, but so be it. I guess that is partially the reason why I’m not an alderman anymore…lol…By the way, I’m not anti biker, I’m just anti taxes paid for these sort of “experiments”, but I’m sure that most folks responding will call me some bike hating anti environment backwoods hick…lol

posted by: darnell on September 20, 2013  11:58am

Real quick google search, 8 bike rack for $215
http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/outdoor-grounds-maintenance/parking-lot/bike-racks/8-bike-stadium-bike-rack-ready-to-assemble

Why $4000?

posted by: Liam on September 20, 2013  12:09pm

Great work by Jim Travers, the city transportation staff, and the folks from seeclickfix. This is really awesome and innovative for New Haven. Also a big “thank you” to Claire’s for the support (the folks from the Ordinary were also out in support at the unveiling).

Elm City Cycling’s 2013 Bike and Pedestrian Plan outlined three vision items for New Haven. They were a bike corral, a bike share, and cycle tracks/ buffered bike lanes. 

http://elmcitycyclingwebsite.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bikeplanfinalsm.pdf

Jim Travers announced the cycle track to the East Shore not long ago (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/bike-friendly_road_improvements_on_the_horizon/) and unveiled the first bike corral yesterday. This is really great news and, as Travers stressed yesterday, it help makes downtown a place for people.

In that vein, I want to give Travers and city staff another big “thank you” for downtown’s first dedicated bike lane on Elm Street. It is great and personally makes my morning commute so much easier. (Now let’s get one heading westbound too!)

Great work!

posted by: TheMadcap on September 20, 2013  1:17pm

@darnell

I haven’t gone taken a look at it yet, but I imagine a bike corral placed on the streets(and meant for 16 instead of 8 bikes) has to have a much higher quality and strength, and hence cost, than a 90lb portable one.

The image the bike corral makes is mentally impressive. Bike parking itself really isn’t a terrible problem, bikes can be locked to plenty of things, and those U shaped things can be installed just about anywhere on a sidewalk if need be. With those though you don’t get a space comparison. With the corral you can see where the same spot that would’ve held one car, most likely carrying one person, now holds 16 bikes carrying 16 people.(and maybe even up to 20, because if its filled people will probably just lock their bikes to the side of it as well)

posted by: frog on September 20, 2013  1:52pm

@Darnell,
Regarding the cost, how much of the $4,000 do you think is labor?

posted by: Threefifths on September 20, 2013  1:56pm

Get ready New Haven this will be you to.

Bike Sharing? Sure. The Racks? No Way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/nyregion/complaints-rise-as-bike-share-program-nears.html?pagewanted=all

New Yorkers Furious to Discover Bike Sharing Requires Bikes, Racks

http://gawker.com/new-yorkers-furious-to-discover-bike-sharing-requires-b-505856823


The problem with artsy bike racks

http://brokensidewalk.com/2011/08/08/the-problem-with-artsy-bike-racks/

posted by: anonymous on September 20, 2013  2:07pm

Darnell, a 0.5% increase in city tax revenue would fund how many youth at work spots? Every year that the city continues to stall on meaningful transportation improvements, it loses at least that much money.

One bike rack and a cycle trac to the east shore is a good start, but it doesn’t cut it.  DeStefano’s failure to make significant changes (until now?) is one of the reasons why city general fund positions have been slashed, cutting huge numbers of city resident jobs over the past decade. You need economic development and transport if you want to keep up with the times. The idea of a “jobs pipeline” is literally useless if the trend is negative.

Cities that recognize the simple fact that most people don’t drive are seeing double digit growth rates and lots of new taxes to support firefighters, cops, jobs, and youth programs.

Other places will keep passing New Haven by, and we’ll keep cutting our youth programs back, until we get people in office who understand basic economics and are willing to go beyond a couple experiments.

posted by: darnell on September 20, 2013  4:11pm

As usual, folks want to take my point and twist it to something else. I did not argue against converting parking spaces to bike “corrals”. What I did argue for is having taxpayers foot the bill for a bike rack that is clearly overpriced, and we aren’t even charging the riders for the spots. So everyone else is subsidizing the bikers. They want equal access to roads, more lanes, more parking spaces? Then pay for them like drivers do. What’s worse, you folks aren’t even willing to question the cost of the part time rack. I bet if they had to pay for those spaces and racks they would start to look at the bottom line.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 20, 2013  6:50pm

The roads for motorists are already heavily subsidized like nothing else.
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/these-2-charts-prove-american-drivers-dont-pay-enough-roads/6917/
Maybe motorists should actually start paying an amount that more reflects the cost of their usage so they see the bottom line of what cars cost? I mean at the federal level it’s at the point the highway fund faces bankruptcy in a few years(I don’t actually really want to support increases in fuel or car taxes, but every time I hear someone try to pull the ‘motorists pay for the roads’ schtick I get one step closer to wanting to)

Also I don’t know what is more fun in a story about bicycles, the inevitable comment from 3/5 and how bicycles are the worst(the bikeshare program in NYC has a 2 to 1 approval rating and some of those who disapproved in the Pew poll did so because the program wasn’t in their neighborhood) or the inevitable anonymous comment of how cars are the worst.(there is only one city in the US where ‘most people don’t drive would be true, and that is NYC. In New Haven about 60% of residents drive alone to work, and that’s one of the lowest rates in the nation)

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on September 20, 2013  8:59pm

“The idea for the bike corral came from Zack Beatty of SeeClickFix. Beatty launched a campaign on the map-based neighborhood problem-solving website to raise money to bring one to city streets.”

So, why the need for the City to pay $4,000.

Darnell is right; $4K is a lot of money. I support the idea but find a less expensive solution. Let a private enterprise sponsor it, just as citi bank did in nyc.

posted by: JuliS on September 21, 2013  11:19am

@darnell & newhaventaxtoohigh

you are thinking about this backwards.

when was the last time you considered how much a road project cost the city when it was to benefit cars?

a tiny fraction on transportation costs goes to cycling infrastructure, which has proven itself to benefit the economy far more than dollars spent on subsidizing car traffic.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 21, 2013  12:11pm

Citibank sponsored a bike share program that costs money to join, not public bicycle infrastructure. That’s like saying you want TD bank to sponsor the repainting of a road.

posted by: anonymous on September 21, 2013  2:04pm

Madcap, those figures only count commuters. What about children, elderly, unemployed, college students, and others?

posted by: swatty on September 21, 2013  7:10pm

Darnell is right.

A biz could pay for this. Great idea, but someone else besides the city should pay! doah.

posted by: Threefifths on September 22, 2013  10:45am

If the city is paying for this put in Bike parking Meters to cover the cost.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 21, 2013 12:11pm

Citibank sponsored a bike share program that costs money to join, not public bicycle infrastructure. That’s like saying you want TD bank to sponsor the repainting of a road.


Every day, about 25,000 times, someone saddles up on a Citibike, which has the company’s name plastered on it prominently, and rides around Manhattan or Brooklyn, usually with a smile on her face. The company has subsidized and paid for the construction of a new transportation amenity used by city residents (who are potential Citi customers), and by tourists (who are also potential customers for Citi’s global operations).

Notice the bank paid for everything including the bike racks.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 22, 2013  11:27am

Yes, Citibank paid because aside from mobile advertising, citibike has a user fee and generates revenue.(I Wish the NHI had italics available for that last part). They didn’t do it out of the kindness of their heart to build city infrastructure.

posted by: William Kurtz on September 22, 2013  6:45pm

This is a great, long-awaited step and Mr. Travers should be commended once again for embracing progressive design in transportation. The more bicycle infrastructure makes its way into downtown, the more people will ride, and the more cycling will be normalized as a viable transportation option—and hopefully the more normally and predictably people who ride but don’t see themselves as ‘cyclists’ will behave in traffic.

Madcap—you can use italics with some simple HTML code. Just use the ‘less than’ sign, the letter i, then the ‘greater than’ sign. Here’s an example with some spaces to make it inactive:

<  i >

To close the italics, use a ‘/’ before the i:

< /i >

This link explains it all: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_formatting.asp

posted by: JuliS on September 22, 2013  11:06pm

@threefifths & others, who keep making a comparison to citibike:

a bike share is not the same thing as transportation infrastructure. to reiterate what madcap stated, it would be like asking for a company to install speed limit signs or traffic lights. the comparison is completely useless.

posted by: Threefifths on September 24, 2013  9:41am

posted by: JuliS on September 22, 2013 11:06pm
@threefifths & others, who keep making a comparison to citibike:

a bike share is not the same thing as transportation infrastructure. to reiterate what madcap stated, it would be like asking for a company to install speed limit signs or traffic lights. the comparison is completely useless.

Some friends of mine in new york told me Citibank is looking to start there program here.

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