As an avid bike commuter, I am often stunned how little respect or thought is given to bike parking at some stores. As the three photos I have included in the post show, we are usually relegated to some hidden location (usually by the dumpster), at some far off corner of the site that needs a treasure map for finding the store entrance, or are impeded by apparently more important items.
Instead of sending bicyclists out into the parking hinterlands or hiding them from view, how about moving us closer to the entrance along side or near the barrier-free spaces? This will promote and support active (healthy) transportation, show appreciation to those customers who make an effort to ride to the store on their bike, and force those driving to walk just a little bit more. The added bit of exercise would be beneficial to many of them trapped in their metal cocoons.
Fortunately, some communities have adopted bike parking ordinances. Given the bonuses provided for including bike parking (less car parking required) and the much lower cost of constructing bike parking spaces than motor vehicle spaces, one would think existing business would jump on the bandwagon too. So far, my e-mails, calls, and verbal or written comments have had little, if any effect at the local Kohls, Rite Aid, Schuler’s Books, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Quality Dairy, Toy R Us, or Biggby Coffee shops. To me, any store selling bikes ought to have parking for bike riding customers – that includes you too, Walmart. Same for those stores that sell health care items – practice what you preach, please!
On the positive side, the persistence of a cycling friend has garnered bike parking spaces at the existing Home Depot, right in front of the store near the entrance. Kudos to him and Home Depot for that success. Hopefully, other businesses will wake up and soon follow.