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Monday, May 19, 2008

Re: Chain Your Bike to the Convention Center, Get the Boot

posted by on May 19 at 12:59 PM

Great post, Erica. And, hey, this makes a lot of sense:

…security [at the Convention Center] are instructed to lock bikes only when the bike is blocking access…

Because the last thing you want, when a bike is blocking access, is for the bike’s owner to remove that bike. Better it should stay put and impeded pedestrian access for as long as possible.

But I disagree with you on this, ECB:

Is it really better to have bikes clustered on trees and on heavily trafficked stairways than tethered safely to a bike rack tucked away from public view?

Bike racks shouldn’t be “tucked away,” out of “public view.” Bikes and bikers and bike racks aren’t unsightly. Racks belong right on sidewalks, right along curbs, right in front of entrances to offices and schools and convention centers (and ball parks). Like this bike rack.

Would that kind of bike rack placement impede pedestrians? Yes, but only people crossing in the middle of the street and—hey!—we’re not supposed to be jaywalking here in the Best of All Possible World-Class Cities anyway, right?

Oh, and I love the idea of “Lock Your Bike to the Convention Center Day,” and I have two crappy, old bikes that I’d be happy to lock to the Convention Center. But why limit it to just the Convention Center? We should target other locations that fail to provide adequate or convenient parking for bikes—like Safeco Field.

UPDATE: And here’s what bike racks look like when a city—when a society—gets serious about bike commuting….


This picture was taken in front of the central train station in Groningen, the Netherlands, by Slog tipper Eric F.

RSS icon Comments


Yeah I want my bike tucked away from public view. That way someone can take the time to steal it without worrying about being seen.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 19, 2008 1:05 PM


That's the first and best tip for where to lock your bike. Put it in plain sight!

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | May 19, 2008 1:11 PM

I agree that bike racks should be visible -- but the ones in the Convention Center happen to be tucked away from view. So if they add more racks in the same place, that's where they'd probably be. Personally, it doesn't matter to me where they are , as long as they're accessible, plentiful, and easily found.

Posted by ECB | May 19, 2008 1:16 PM

How about replacing a few vehicular street parking spots with bike parking like they are experimenting with in NYC?

Posted by cmaceachen | May 19, 2008 1:20 PM


Fair enough.

Go bikes!

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | May 19, 2008 1:21 PM

Dan, I hate to bust your balls but Safeco field has a bike cage with tons of bike racks in the south parking garage. It's about a 30 second walk to the main gate.

The place is gigantic, and rarely full. Plus they have on-site security.

Posted by Jeff | May 19, 2008 1:27 PM

I love Groningen -- they launched the V-2 rockets from there! Woot!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | May 19, 2008 1:30 PM

Please go read my post, Jeff.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 19, 2008 1:30 PM

I'm confused ... where's the special bike rack for fixies?

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 19, 2008 1:40 PM

Whoops, I read that wrong and stand corrected. Safeco's cage is the standard that all huge venues should follow.

I am curious, what does the Stranger do for its employees who bike to work?

Bike cage? Lockers? Showers? Subsidized bus passes?

I can tell you the evil overlords at Fairview handle all of those.

Posted by Jeff | May 19, 2008 1:43 PM

The problem with having bike racks discretely out of public view is this: how the fuck are bicyclists supposed to find the goddamned things? If the Convention Center (or other venues) have bike racks tucked away in their parking garages where nobody can see them (or find them), then maybe they would be well advised to post signs where bikers are prone to locking their bikes, rather than booting the bikes. Seems like half this problem could be solved by a little effort at communication.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 19, 2008 1:52 PM

Oh, and if we were serious about providing parking for bikes, here is the penultimate example: a 7000+ bike parking structure.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 19, 2008 1:57 PM

well, what's the ultimate example?

Posted by aeg | May 19, 2008 2:09 PM

Tokyo kicks Amsterdam's ass.

Of course, they could put ten of these things in front of the convention center, and hardly anyone would use them. I agree that bike-riders are treated shabbily there, but it's not better facilities that are keeping people from riding.

Posted by Fnarf | May 19, 2008 2:15 PM

You assume it is someone else's responsibility to get bike racks.

Posted by w7ngman | May 19, 2008 2:19 PM

if you want a real story involving the convention center, find out why frank chopp took money ouyt of the future operational budget for the convention center to pay for low income housing when the entire operation budget is paid for by the hotel tax. it is supposed to be used to make capital improvements for the convention center AND attract conventions to the Seattle area and benefits businesses that employ low income people.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 19, 2008 2:31 PM

Fixies? Bike racks?

Please, they're more committed cyclists than the rest of us. They should be allowed to ride their bike into the store and stand in line on it. Since their gears are fixed, they can do trackstands, you know. They're more talented than us freewheel slobs.

Then again, maybe they need some kind of rack, because their bikes are so light they might blow away if the wind picks up.

Posted by CP | May 20, 2008 5:00 PM

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