SDOT moving forward with more on-street bike parking for the Hill

After initially struggling to find business owners on Capitol Hill supportive of new, on-street bicycle parking racks — a surprise considering the success of the one already in front of 12th Ave’s Stumptown Coffee and Café Presse –Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has begun to find a warmer audience outside their most preferred area.

SDOT’s Doug Cox said his department has made some good progress in finding alternative locations on the Hill, and that the community should expect finalized plans by this summer. But given the difficulty encountered thus far in finding businesses agreeable to the new bike parking, Cox said he’s not quite ready to reveal details of the new locations.


Responding to community suggestions, ideal logistics, and sheer demand, SDOT representatives said their top choice for installing a corral capable of accommodating up to 14 bikes in a space currently reserved for one car was along Pike St between 10th and 11th.

SDOT reps said that Caffé Vita turned down the opportunity to have a hub of bike parking directly outside their doorstep and opted instead to retain the street parking for a car in front of the coffee shop.

Caffé Vita’s Andrew Woodcock, who worked with SDOT on the decision, said that Vita’s managers are “big supporters of the biking community” but felt the space in front of Bimbo’s/Cha Cha was “a better fit for the block.”

SDOT said Bimbo’s/Cha Cha business owners were at first on board with the idea, but their property owners were less enthusiastic, and SDOT was left looking for more receptive owners outside the Pike & 10th core. 

Wherever they end up, the new stalls are part of Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, with funding already in place to sprinkle them throughout city neighborhoods this year.  SDOT is betting on the success of this initial wave of installations to justify adding more in 2011.

As for getting more of the standard sidewalk bike racks, almost all citizen requests for new installations are being fulfilled, according to SDOT, and the best way to request one is by filling out the form on the bottom of this page.

Think an on-street rack would still be worthwhile at Pike & 10th?  “Businesses might embrace it more if they hear this from their customers, rather than the City,” SDOT says.

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19 thoughts on “SDOT moving forward with more on-street bike parking for the Hill

  1. I think it’s great that the city is moving forward with these kinds of efforts to make biking an easier deal – especially thinking of the prospect of a cycletrack on Broadway in just a few years…Local businesses should hop on for the ride!!

  2. It seems strange that businesses are turning these down when bike parking plays so well into the hipster population so many of these businesses are trying to attract.

  3. More side street racks a block or less off the main drag – bikers have legs that can walk a few feet.

    Signs – bight green arrows, stylish, of course –

    Does NOT need to be in front of the store, that is auto parking concept for lazy car drivers.

  4. If there is only 1 bike on the bike rack that equals 1 customer unless it is a tandem. So 1 bike could potentially be less than one car. You are assuming the racks are full and they never are.

  5. I am fully supportive of ways to increase bicycle use in Seattle, especially adding dedicated bike lanes, but I do not agree that on-street bicycle racks are needed. What exactly is the problem with sidewalk racks? I realize they can only be placed where the sidewalk is of a certain width, but it couldn’t be that difficult to find such locations. They are a helluva lot cheaper than on-street installations, which cost something like $5000.

    In my opinion, the blind support for on-street racks has more of an ideological/political basis….”let’s stick it to those car drivers”…than a real need for such a thing.

  6. I doubt very much that this is true. There is no way a public parking space can be reserved for one person.

    Please provide proof of your statement.

  7. I was visiting family in Portland a few weeks ago and noticed these on-street bike racks everywhere. They were usually in front of hipster coffee shops and were usually totally packed with bikes. Those business owners certainly didn’t seem to mind.

  8. Calhoun, you don’t get out much do you?

    http://www.streetfilms.org/portland-bike-parking/

    if you notice most given weekend day and latter weeknights, most of the bike parking on pike.pine is full up. on street bike parking has many benefits–including a good way to deter bike theft. businesses love it, the corrals keep the sidewalks a little more clear when there are already mailboxes, trees, signs galore, garbage cans, bus stops, bodies, trash and countless other things to dodge and weave as you walk. Go SDOT! Go bike corrals!

  9. Sidewalk racks are great and we should have more of them, but when they are always full in locations where the sidewalk is already super narrow (like in front of Caffe Vita!)…
    Also, on-street racks are a great opportunity to promote and welcome biking to the community. The way i see it, if a biker has to walk even a half a block or has to spend more than a few seconds looking for an open pole, biking is being stifled on some level.

  10. I’d be willing to consider it in front of Vermillion, especially since people seem to think that Barca’s patio fence is an appropriate place to park their bikes DIRECTLY in front of my door. There is not enough bike parking. I always tell people to use the fence above the Value Village parking lot.

  11. @ —

    Lets look at it this way. At the minimum 1 car equals 1 person and 1 bike equals 1 person. So at the *absolute minimum* they are equal assuming 1 car or 1 bike. However the likelihood of 2+ bikes and up is much higher than 2-4 additional people for that existing car.

  12. I am dissappointed with Cafe Vita’s decision. The benefits of the rack are obvious, just take a look at Stumptown, I always see a rack full of customers.
    I’ll send Cafe Vita an email showing my support for more bike parking. In the meantime I’ll just pedal a few blocks to a more receptive business on 12th.