It Works: Bike Parking In Town

Lest you think everything is irrevocably broken in our faire city, Oakland does have its act together about bike parking – and the rules and locations make sense for our commercial districts.

As a prime example, here’s a map showing rack locations currently installed or planned for Montclair Village.  If you think there should be additional locations, then pass your requests to the Oakland administrators.

Montclair - Bike Parking

Bike Racks, Bike Racks

Oakland’s bike parking regulations have changed with the times.  When individual parking meters were replaced by parking kiosks last year, most of the bike parking evaporated.  The city left two meter poles behind on each city block, to accommodate bike parking on a temporary basis.

This year, Oakland Public Works began installing bike racks around eight commercial districts.  These “inverted U” racks can’t be missed, and you see them around Montclair now.  Public Works is supposed to complete their planned installations soon, though we haven’t confirmed city-wide progress.

If shopkeepers want to attract bicycle traffic, they may apply for racks near their businesses.  For the past ten years, the CityRacks program has installed bike racks around the city.  This program seems straightforward, but we’re not clear how they decide the winning locations.

Bike-Friendly Aspirations

Props to all the city bicycle advocates, who work tireless to make Oakland as bike-friendly as possible.  The big fish here is Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, which works through a large agenda related to bike routes, public transportation and generally getting folks off their duffs.

We have a few things in our favor when it comes to bicycling, starting with that climate we all take for granted.  Oaklanders also live in a two-wheeler culture, ranging from scraper bikes to sleeker models.  Yet we can only aspire to bike-first lives like Amsterdammers and their brethren.

Unfortunately many Oaklanders make long daily commutes to the office, and literally scatter to the four winds in their gas-guzzlers (guilty as charged).  Yet when we are home, at least we can jump on our two-wheelers and head to the village – and park with ease.

More info:   Neighborhood Bicycle Parking PlanBicycle Parking RegulationsBicycle Parking OrdinanceOakland Bicycle Parking InfoOakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities ProgramWalk Oakland Bike Oakland SiteWOBO NewslettersEast Bay Bicycle Coalition SiteEBBC Newsletters

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Bicycle To The Village Instead

Maybe it’s time to think about your bicycle as a practical means of transportation.  One way to stop worrying about Village parking is to bike there, if you can handle the hills near your home.

Oakland has long supported efforts to bicycle within city limits, and passed a new planning ordinance last summer regarding short-term and long-term parking – see bicycle parking requirements.

Even valet bike parking is part of the act, for major civic events with more than 5,000 people.  I remember grinning about this service at last fall’s Jazz & Wine Festival, and it’s proudly promoted again.

Valet Bike Parking

On a more regular basis, Oakland Police have been spotted with Cannondales in Montclair Village.  While cars are used to patrol the hills for would-be burglars, it’s nice to see these trusty steeds appear in town.  (There’s also an Oakland Bike Patrol, which accepts volunteers to help monitor the park trails.)

Oakland Police Bikes

From a commuting perspective, around 18% of 94611 residents say they live under 15 minutes from work – but only two percent bicycle to their workplaces.  Maybe the increased focus on bike parking plus shower facilities (in large buildings) will begin to change behaviors.

Many pieces are in place to support increased bicycle use.  Walk Oakland Bike Oakland keeps tabs on all the local news, and generally encourages us to hop on our two-wheelers throughout the city.  There’s also a local shop, Wheels of Justice, which provides the equipment and moral support.

Where are the riders?  We are creatures of habit, but should get off our collective duffs when going to the Village or other nearby spots.  I’m willing to give it a spin, next weekend.