The Chainlink

bike parking hall of fame/hall of shame (was bike parking at stores, libraries and other major destinations)

I previously started this topic with a slightly different focus.  I'd like to keep the info we've already gathered and encourage you all to add more.  The goal is to collect data for a project I'm pursuing with a few folks to improve bike parking in the city.

Please post comments about Chicago businesses whose bike parking is either good (to say thanks) or needs improvement.  Include identifying information - name of business, address, and what is good or not so good about their bike parking

Photos are useful if you can get 'em.  If you have multiple businesses you'd like to mention, feel free.  They can be big chains (Jewel, Dominick's, Walgreens, Home Depot, etc.), franchises (hardware or fast food stores, for examples), or independent businesses.

If you talk to a store manager about the issue, tell us if you got any positive results.

Thanks for all your info!  It would be great if we can get better bike parking at the majority of stores and restaurants in bike-accessible locations in the next few years.  Your info can help make that possible.

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I've had an ongoing discussion with a few people about the lack of good bike parking at most grocery stores, drug stores, etc. 

County Fair (a family-owned independent) at 108th & Western has city racks out front.  Riding there to shop is a piece of cake.

Jewel and Dominick's stores typically have no racks at all or one rack installed so close to a wall that it can only be used by a few bikes, or one rack in a location where it's always surrounded by shopping carts - not bike friendly.  Walgreens stores near me have wheel bender racks similar to this

The nearest CVS has a city rack out front near the door, which is well used, but the one on their own property is so far from the flow of traffic and installed so close to the wall that it's never used. 


There's a new public library on 95th St. that opened less than a year ago.  It has a 10-bike rack near the front door.  Guess what?  It's installed so close to the wall nothing with wheels larger than 20" can be secured to it with a U-lock.  It usually has no more than 2 bikes locked to it, then people start locking to the nearby benches and fence. 


Meanwhile, another perfectly good 10-bike rack goes unused, because it's tucked away in the corner of the parking lot, out of sight from where most cyclists approach the library.


Which grocery store, pharmacy and library are your usual stops?  Do they have good bike parking?  Tell us about what's good or bad about the bike parking at these places or other frequent destinations.  Curious minds want to know.

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When I lived in Rogers Park, the then-new Dominick's store (built around 2003) had an old-style rack installed in front of the store - too close to the wall, so it was only useable by 2 or 3 bikes. I've encountered the same problem on other north side stores further from downtown. Where there IS a useable rack, it's usually a 2-bike city rack on a sidewalk near the grocery store.

David said:
You may be right about a majority of markets in the city, but location matters a lot here. I regularly hit most of the supermarkets near me, namely the Dominicks on Chicago, on Clybourn and on Grand (occasionally), Jewel on Desplaines and on Ashland/Milwaukee, Trader Joes on Clybourn and Ontario, and I've never had a problem finding bike parking at any of them (with TJ, often one rack fills and you have to use another, though). And riding around the city, Dominicks is usually where I stop for a CLIF bar or something if I need quick energy, and I can't remember ever not finding bike parking at one.

Now I don't find myself down on 95th St. very often, which I'm sure is much worse for bikes. And the areas I frequent tend to be pretty bike-friendly (that's why I frequent them). But it's just not my experience that Dominicks typically has NO bike parking. I think that like most things in Chicago, there's a huge north side/south side split in this area.

BTW, someone above complained about bike parking at Jewel on Ashland, but I've always treated the grating in front of the store as a huge bike rack and nobody has ever complained. OTOH, somebody also mentioned Stanley's on North, which is the one store in the city where I regularly find myself with no place to park. It's not just the lack of racks there it's also the bizarre absence of any street signs.

Anne Alt said:
The majority of other Dominick's locations provide NO bike parking, or have bike racks too close to the wall or in places where they get buried in shopping carts, rendering them useless.
I did some research to find out why less-than-adequate bike parking (poorly installed or poor design) has been installed at many buildings where bike parking is required under the revised code. I learned that there's a big old loophole - no firm standards for what an appropriate rack is, nothing specifying that installation specs must be obtained and adhered to, and no inspection to ensure that a rack was installed to the specs.

H3N3 said:
The answer is that a revision in the building code that took effect in 2006 required them to offer this much bike parking (one bike space per five automobile spaces-- I guarantee you they didn't install one smidgen more than required) for new construction, whereas an existing store is exempt.



Jared said:
I think the answer is they weren't trying to "rack" up LEED points at the Ashland store.



Steven Vance said:
There is indeed bike parking at this new, "green," Dominick's store! See my friend's photo here.

Now why didn't Dominick's install this many bike racks (and of the same decent quality) at the 3145 S Ashland store when they completed major renovations last year (meaning there was money and a crew to do it)?



Anne Alt said:
In today's Tribune, Blair Kamin (architecture critic) writes about a new green Dominick's store at 5233 N. Lincoln Ave. Towards the end of the article he says "The combined impact of the energy-saving measures . . . will be the equivalent of removing 160 cars from the roads and planting more than 250 acres of trees a year." [italics added by me]

My question to him (which I'm posting in comments and sending via e-mail) is this: Did they follow the lead of Whole Foods in one important aspect - by providing bike parking to actually get more cars off the roads and make shopping by bike feasible? The majority of other Dominick's locations provide NO bike parking, or have bike racks too close to the wall or in places where they get buried in shopping carts, rendering them useless.

Stanley's has at least three CDOT racks along Elston Avenue. Request more, if it needs it.

The Dominick's I mention above to Anne Alt has NO bike racks, but it has bike parking. In the form of metal garbage bins with open metal loops. It works, but it's not acceptable from a major corporation who has employees and customers riding their bikes to the store.



David said:
You may be right about a majority of markets in the city, but location matters a lot here. I regularly hit most of the supermarkets near me, namely the Dominicks on Chicago, on Clybourn and on Grand (occasionally), Jewel on Desplaines and on Ashland/Milwaukee, Trader Joes on Clybourn and Ontario, and I've never had a problem finding bike parking at any of them (with TJ, often one rack fills and you have to use another, though). And riding around the city, Dominicks is usually where I stop for a CLIF bar or something if I need quick energy, and I can't remember ever not finding bike parking at one.

Now I don't find myself down on 95th St. very often, which I'm sure is much worse for bikes. And the areas I frequent tend to be pretty bike-friendly (that's why I frequent them). But it's just not my experience that Dominicks typically has NO bike parking. I think that like most things in Chicago, there's a huge north side/south side split in this area.

BTW, someone above complained about bike parking at Jewel on Ashland, but I've always treated the grating in front of the store as a huge bike rack and nobody has ever complained. OTOH, somebody also mentioned Stanley's on North, which is the one store in the city where I regularly find myself with no place to park. It's not just the lack of racks there it's also the bizarre absence of any street signs.

Are you talking about the store on Howard next to the red line terminal? I used to live up there and until recently I kept a PO Box at that UPS store, so I rode my bike to that store constantly up until a few months ago and never had a problem parking at the bike rack (right next to the exit to the red line). I'll admit I don't really remember the quality of the parking, I just park at the racked without really thinking about it (I *think* it's a wave rack). Maybe it *is* too close and I've just parked at an angle and not paid much attention, but there's definitely been many more than 2 or 3 bikes there.

I've been in Chicago less than two years, so it's quite possible that things are much better around the (north side of the) city than they used to be, which would be one reason our experiences are so different.

Anyway, I completely agree with you and Steve that *all* the markets should have bike parking, but it simply isn't the case that almost none of them do.

Anne Alt said:
When I lived in Rogers Park, the then-new Dominick's store (built around 2003) had an old-style rack installed in front of the store - too close to the wall, so it was only useable by 2 or 3 bikes. I've encountered the same problem on other north side stores further from downtown. Where there IS a useable rack, it's usually a 2-bike city rack on a sidewalk near the grocery store.

David said:
You may be right about a majority of markets in the city, but location matters a lot here. I regularly hit most of the supermarkets near me, namely the Dominicks on Chicago, on Clybourn and on Grand (occasionally), Jewel on Desplaines and on Ashland/Milwaukee, Trader Joes on Clybourn and Ontario, and I've never had a problem finding bike parking at any of them (with TJ, often one rack fills and you have to use another, though). And riding around the city, Dominicks is usually where I stop for a CLIF bar or something if I need quick energy, and I can't remember ever not finding bike parking at one.

Now I don't find myself down on 95th St. very often, which I'm sure is much worse for bikes. And the areas I frequent tend to be pretty bike-friendly (that's why I frequent them). But it's just not my experience that Dominicks typically has NO bike parking. I think that like most things in Chicago, there's a huge north side/south side split in this area.

BTW, someone above complained about bike parking at Jewel on Ashland, but I've always treated the grating in front of the store as a huge bike rack and nobody has ever complained. OTOH, somebody also mentioned Stanley's on North, which is the one store in the city where I regularly find myself with no place to park. It's not just the lack of racks there it's also the bizarre absence of any street signs.

Anne Alt said:
The majority of other Dominick's locations provide NO bike parking, or have bike racks too close to the wall or in places where they get buried in shopping carts, rendering them useless.
You can actually follow google street view along the front of the Dominic's as the fire lane is apparently considered to be part of Birchwood street (address for the whole thing shows as 1792 Birchwood).
I'm not seeing anything that looks like a decent rack-- in fact there are a couple of bikes outside one store that look to be free-locked in the picture.
The link to the bike rack is below, there's about a dozen bikes parked there but still a few empty spaces. It is a wave rack as I remembered.

Admittedly, the main rack at that strip mall isn't absolutely directly in front of Dominicks, it's a less-than-30-second walk away on the other side of Marshall's, but that's not exactly an onerous trek. The upside is that it's directly in front of the security office.


http://maps.google.com/?q=1792+Birchwood,+chicago,+il&ie=UTF8&a...


H3N3 said:
You can actually follow google street view along the front of the Dominic's as the fire lane is apparently considered to be part of Birchwood street (address for the whole thing shows as 1792 Birchwood).
I'm not seeing anything that looks like a decent rack-- in fact there are a couple of bikes outside one store that look to be free-locked in the picture.
One place that has horrible bike parking is Brookfield zoo.
Right at the end of Salt Creek path. There is a nice little opening in the fence to the parking lot, when you ride in just to the south of the ticket stand is a beat up old wheel rack. I Dont even think it's bolted into the ground, and it's half on grass half taking up a car spot. It also looks like it got ran over once or twice.
The key language in the Municipal Code is "Racks and other fixtures used to provide required bicycle parking for nonresidential uses must be of a design that is approved by the Chicago Department of Transportation." Section 17-10-0302-A.

Problems:
1. No one asks CDOT which designs are approved. This is the Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning's responsibility.
2. The only "list" CDOT has of approved bike racks is really just a list of rack types CDOT has installed.



Anne Alt said:
I did some research to find out why less-than-adequate bike parking (poorly installed or poor design) has been installed at many buildings where bike parking is required under the revised code. I learned that there's a big old loophole - no firm standards for what an appropriate rack is, nothing specifying that installation specs must be obtained and adhered to, and no inspection to ensure that a rack was installed to the specs.

That's right. The rack right in front of Dominick's is (or at least was, unless they've changed it recently) an old-style bare metal rack installed VERY close to the store wall. There is a wave rack at the opposite corner of the parking lot, by the atrium entrance to the health club. That rack has often been full when I've been there. Since the renovation of Howard station was completed, there is now bike parking inside the station, which is another block further away from Dominick's.

Does anyone consider one good rack that's a full block away from Dominick's (opposite corner of the parking lot) to be acceptable parking for Dominick's? I don't.

David said:
Are you talking about the store on Howard next to the red line terminal? I used to live up there and until recently I kept a PO Box at that UPS store, so I rode my bike to that store constantly up until a few months ago and never had a problem parking at the bike rack (right next to the exit to the red line). I'll admit I don't really remember the quality of the parking, I just park at the racked without really thinking about it (I *think* it's a wave rack). Maybe it *is* too close and I've just parked at an angle and not paid much attention, but there's definitely been many more than 2 or 3 bikes there.

I've been in Chicago less than two years, so it's quite possible that things are much better around the (north side of the) city than they used to be, which would be one reason our experiences are so different.

Anyway, I completely agree with you and Steve that *all* the markets should have bike parking, but it simply isn't the case that almost none of them do.

Anne Alt said:
When I lived in Rogers Park, the then-new Dominick's store (built around 2003) had an old-style rack installed in front of the store - too close to the wall, so it was only useable by 2 or 3 bikes. I've encountered the same problem on other north side stores further from downtown. Where there IS a useable rack, it's usually a 2-bike city rack on a sidewalk near the grocery store.

David said:
You may be right about a majority of markets in the city, but location matters a lot here. I regularly hit most of the supermarkets near me, namely the Dominicks on Chicago, on Clybourn and on Grand (occasionally), Jewel on Desplaines and on Ashland/Milwaukee, Trader Joes on Clybourn and Ontario, and I've never had a problem finding bike parking at any of them (with TJ, often one rack fills and you have to use another, though). And riding around the city, Dominicks is usually where I stop for a CLIF bar or something if I need quick energy, and I can't remember ever not finding bike parking at one.

Now I don't find myself down on 95th St. very often, which I'm sure is much worse for bikes. And the areas I frequent tend to be pretty bike-friendly (that's why I frequent them). But it's just not my experience that Dominicks typically has NO bike parking. I think that like most things in Chicago, there's a huge north side/south side split in this area.

BTW, someone above complained about bike parking at Jewel on Ashland, but I've always treated the grating in front of the store as a huge bike rack and nobody has ever complained. OTOH, somebody also mentioned Stanley's on North, which is the one store in the city where I regularly find myself with no place to park. It's not just the lack of racks there it's also the bizarre absence of any street signs.

Anne Alt said:
The majority of other Dominick's locations provide NO bike parking, or have bike racks too close to the wall or in places where they get buried in shopping carts, rendering them useless.
That one was added more recently and is even further away from Dominick's - downstairs on the other side of the atrium. That's not a 30 second walk, especially not with bags of groceries. Being in front of the security office is the only plus, IMO.

David said:
The link to the bike rack is below, there's about a dozen bikes parked there but still a few empty spaces. It is a wave rack as I remembered.

Admittedly, the main rack at that strip mall isn't absolutely directly in front of Dominicks, it's a less-than-30-second walk away on the other side of Marshall's, but that's not exactly an onerous trek. The upside is that it's directly in front of the security office.


http://maps.google.com/?q=1792+Birchwood,+chicago,+il&ie=UTF8&a...


H3N3 said:
You can actually follow google street view along the front of the Dominic's as the fire lane is apparently considered to be part of Birchwood street (address for the whole thing shows as 1792 Birchwood).
I'm not seeing anything that looks like a decent rack-- in fact there are a couple of bikes outside one store that look to be free-locked in the picture.
That's exactly the problem - that in addition to the lack of inspection or any oversight on what type of rack is being installed where. It's a loophole you could drive a truck through.

Steven Vance said:
The key language in the Municipal Code is "Racks and other fixtures used to provide required bicycle parking for nonresidential uses must be of a design that is approved by the Chicago Department of Transportation." Section 17-10-0302-A.

Problems:
1. No one asks CDOT which designs are approved. This is the Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning's responsibility.
2. The only "list" CDOT has of approved bike racks is really just a list of rack types CDOT has installed.



Anne Alt said:
I did some research to find out why less-than-adequate bike parking (poorly installed or poor design) has been installed at many buildings where bike parking is required under the revised code. I learned that there's a big old loophole - no firm standards for what an appropriate rack is, nothing specifying that installation specs must be obtained and adhered to, and no inspection to ensure that a rack was installed to the specs.

A block away? No way. I like the Broadway (and Thorndale) Dominicks' bike parking situation. Two wave racks on Broadway, 2 Bike Lids in front of the store nearer the train tracks.

Anne Alt said:
That's right. The rack right in front of Dominick's is (or at least was, unless they've changed it recently) an old-style bare metal rack installed VERY close to the store wall. There is a wave rack at the opposite corner of the parking lot, by the atrium entrance to the health club. That rack has often been full when I've been there. Since the renovation of Howard station was completed, there is now bike parking inside the station, which is another block further away from Dominick's.

Does anyone consider one good rack that's a full block away from Dominick's (opposite corner of the parking lot) to be acceptable parking for Dominick's? I don't.

David said:
Are you talking about the store on Howard next to the red line terminal? I used to live up there and until recently I kept a PO Box at that UPS store, so I rode my bike to that store constantly up until a few months ago and never had a problem parking at the bike rack (right next to the exit to the red line). I'll admit I don't really remember the quality of the parking, I just park at the racked without really thinking about it (I *think* it's a wave rack). Maybe it *is* too close and I've just parked at an angle and not paid much attention, but there's definitely been many more than 2 or 3 bikes there.

I've been in Chicago less than two years, so it's quite possible that things are much better around the (north side of the) city than they used to be, which would be one reason our experiences are so different.

Anyway, I completely agree with you and Steve that *all* the markets should have bike parking, but it simply isn't the case that almost none of them do.

Anne Alt said:
When I lived in Rogers Park, the then-new Dominick's store (built around 2003) had an old-style rack installed in front of the store - too close to the wall, so it was only useable by 2 or 3 bikes. I've encountered the same problem on other north side stores further from downtown. Where there IS a useable rack, it's usually a 2-bike city rack on a sidewalk near the grocery store.

David said:
You may be right about a majority of markets in the city, but location matters a lot here. I regularly hit most of the supermarkets near me, namely the Dominicks on Chicago, on Clybourn and on Grand (occasionally), Jewel on Desplaines and on Ashland/Milwaukee, Trader Joes on Clybourn and Ontario, and I've never had a problem finding bike parking at any of them (with TJ, often one rack fills and you have to use another, though). And riding around the city, Dominicks is usually where I stop for a CLIF bar or something if I need quick energy, and I can't remember ever not finding bike parking at one.

Now I don't find myself down on 95th St. very often, which I'm sure is much worse for bikes. And the areas I frequent tend to be pretty bike-friendly (that's why I frequent them). But it's just not my experience that Dominicks typically has NO bike parking. I think that like most things in Chicago, there's a huge north side/south side split in this area.

BTW, someone above complained about bike parking at Jewel on Ashland, but I've always treated the grating in front of the store as a huge bike rack and nobody has ever complained. OTOH, somebody also mentioned Stanley's on North, which is the one store in the city where I regularly find myself with no place to park. It's not just the lack of racks there it's also the bizarre absence of any street signs.

Anne Alt said:
The majority of other Dominick's locations provide NO bike parking, or have bike racks too close to the wall or in places where they get buried in shopping carts, rendering them useless.
I'm not sure if you meant to respond to this post or to a different one, but that link is to a rack on the same level of Dominick's, not downstairs. I suspect it's the rack you mentioned earlier next to the atrium, except that it's at the midpoint of the parking lot, certainly not at the opposite corner. Personally, I always found it perfectly convenient to walk to the market from there (it's just two stores down in the strip mall), but obviously YMMV. I realize some people really hate to walk. It's roughly the same distance I'd walk to my car when I've driven there. I think we get a little spoiled with front-door parking.

Personally I've never had a problem parking my bike there, but if you've often found it full, then obviously it's not adequate. However, there can be no doubt that it's more than "no racks at all or one rack installed so close to a wall that it can only be used by a few bikes". Dominicks isn't going to win any prizes for excellent bike parking, but there's parking for at least half a dozen bikes at virtually every north side store, often much more (I think Roscoe/Western would be the only exception, though Clybourn/Division comes close). If somebody is telling you or Steven that it's corporate policy to have no bike parking, that person is simply lying.

Anne Alt said:
That one was added more recently and is even further away from Dominick's - downstairs on the other side of the atrium. That's not a 30 second walk, especially not with bags of groceries. Being in front of the security office is the only plus, IMO.

David said:
The link to the bike rack is below, there's about a dozen bikes parked there but still a few empty spaces. It is a wave rack as I remembered.

Admittedly, the main rack at that strip mall isn't absolutely directly in front of Dominicks, it's a less-than-30-second walk away on the other side of Marshall's, but that's not exactly an onerous trek. The upside is that it's directly in front of the security office.


http://maps.google.com/?q=1792+Birchwood,+chicago,+il&ie=UTF8&a...

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