During our recent visit to Portland, I paid particular attention to the plethora of on-street bike corrals in that city.
Portland, as you may know, has about one hundred bike corrals so far—and they have proven so popular, and so good for business, that merchants are on a waiting list to have corrals placed in front of their businesses.
Now, the bike corral program in Portland began with the same thoughtless reactions from retailers that you often hear in Los Angeles: that taking away a single parking space to make room for a dozen or so bikes would “kill business.”
This, in a city that, like our own, is oversupplied with parking on streets and in lots and parking structures. (Portland has many, many parking structures and lots of car traffic, as well as healthy transit options, and lots of walking, as well as cycling.)
Portland, however, had done its homework—something Los Angeles scorns, actively refusing to study the examples of other cities—and the first few corrals went in a few years ago.
The results? Success! The corrals were immediately put to use by city residents happily riding their bikes along the city’s ubiquitous bike lanes and locking up in front of restaurants, bars, and boutiques, without imposing the heavy costs on the city that dangerous and space-wasting car traffic brings.
Now nearly every merchant wants a bike corral nearby. And many happy tenders of cash registers have gotten them.
Here are (a very few) photos of Portland’s bike corrals and the businesses they support—photographed mostly during the less-busy middle of the day:
On 3rd Street downtown, one of the original corrals (This photo from 2010)
Serving the Ace Hotel, Clyde Common restaurant, and a number of other establishments
Bike corral at SE Burnside & 8th, near a cluster of eateries and local shops
At the Stumptown on Belmont on the eastside, in a charming shopping district
In front of a taqueria on SE Hawthorne
These scenes aree repeated all over town. Portland has found that an extensive and connected bike network, anchored by ubiquitous bike parking, makes for a healthier and more prosperous city.
When will Los Angeles ever learn its lesson?