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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Another problem is that a lot of bike parking is right next to busy streets and near drains, which in the winter become clogged, and then cars splash salt water on your gears - problem because I now have a completely rusted set of gears on my winter bike after four months of needing to park it on Addison. It would be nice to make sure it's not too close to a drain, or to put it closer to the building or under an overhang if possible to keep the bikes safer from the elements.
The racks themselves also take a beating when they're near the curb on a busy street. Yesterday morning I was on 95th St. locking my bike to a rack, which had a 2004 installation label on top. There was a significant amount of rust on the rack. I've noticed the same problem in many older street-side racks on busy streets. Racks that are several feet away from the curb stay in good condition a lot longer.

Hannah Bass said:
Another problem is that a lot of bike parking is right next to busy streets and near drains, which in the winter become clogged, and then cars splash salt water on your gears - problem because I now have a completely rusted set of gears on my winter bike after four months of needing to park it on Addison. It would be nice to make sure it's not too close to a drain, or to put it closer to the building or under an overhang if possible to keep the bikes safer from the elements.
Last time Marauders were at the Handlebar, the back patio bike racks were still there.

Clark said:
Christopher Bidinger said:

...One place of note that doesn't makes sense to me is the Handlebar bar on North Ave has crappy bike parking!..You'd think that a bar that caters to cyclists would have better bike parking. I dig the place but it was too inconvenient to lock it up tonight and it was a Monday! Half the bar was empty....

I may be wrong now, but last summer my buddy and I brought our bikes in the Handlebar's rear gate from the alley, and there was a great bike rack at the back of the back yard. Is that now gone?
Yup, the racks in the back patio are still around, as well as the transparent green roof that makes everyone look nice and sickly in the shade.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Last time Marauders were at the Handlebar, the back patio bike racks were still there.

Clark said:
Christopher Bidinger said:

...One place of note that doesn't makes sense to me is the Handlebar bar on North Ave has crappy bike parking!..You'd think that a bar that caters to cyclists would have better bike parking. I dig the place but it was too inconvenient to lock it up tonight and it was a Monday! Half the bar was empty....

I may be wrong now, but last summer my buddy and I brought our bikes in the Handlebar's rear gate from the alley, and there was a great bike rack at the back of the back yard. Is that now gone?
Ya know, I do need to retract my statement about Handlebar, they do have plenty of parking when I opened my eyes. I was there today and there are a ton of spots in and around the place. Initially I just noticed the very front of the bar in which there isn't much parking. Sorry, I was a newb to the bar a couple days ago and after another trip there tonight, I realized how much there really was. My bad!

pb said:
Yup, the racks in the back patio are still around, as well as the transparent green roof that makes everyone look nice and sickly in the shade.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Last time Marauders were at the Handlebar, the back patio bike racks were still there.

Clark said:
Christopher Bidinger said:

...One place of note that doesn't makes sense to me is the Handlebar bar on North Ave has crappy bike parking!..You'd think that a bar that caters to cyclists would have better bike parking. I dig the place but it was too inconvenient to lock it up tonight and it was a Monday! Half the bar was empty....

I may be wrong now, but last summer my buddy and I brought our bikes in the Handlebar's rear gate from the alley, and there was a great bike rack at the back of the back yard. Is that now gone?
I've created an e-mail address to collect photos and other details for this project. I'm especially interested in your examples from big chain stores, such as Jewel, Dominick's, Home Depot, Walgreens, etc.

Going shopping soon? Please take a photo or two of good AND bad examples of bike parking where you need to shop. If the store has bad racks, and/or racks installed too close to a wall or where they always get buried in shopping carts, we want to see 'em. E-mail your photos with location and other descriptive info to: chibikeparking (at) gmail (dot) com
I never go to that Jewel because of the awful bike parking there. The rack in front of the K-Mart is a wheel-bender and looks like it would fall apart if you sneezed on it. I once locked to the fence on Paulina and a Jewel employee told me I wasn't allowed to lock there. I don't know whether that's a real rule or if the guy was just being a tool though.

Christopher Bidinger said:
The Jewel/KMart Plaza on Ashland between North and Milwaukee has a poor bike parking system. There used to be a couple racks there but one got beat to pieces (real comforting) and the other closer to Kmart's entrance is small and looks like it is a few good kicks from being destroyed.

Jewel does have the gating in front of it but the bikes can impede pedestrian/cart traffic.
The Whole Foods on Canal is definitely the best example. The locations in Lakeview (on Ashland and Halsted) are pretty good too-- not enclosed, but at least plenty of spaces and properly installed. However, the Lincoln Park location seems to have a tough time getting it right. Both the old location on North Ave and the new one on Kingsbury have a bike rack area in outdoor parking lot, not on the sidewalk, so it becomes a convenient place to pile up all the snow from plowing the parking lot. The new location is especially annoying because of all the railroad tracks on Kingsbury, but I guess there's nothing Whole Foods can do about that.

Anne Alt said:
I think that Whole Foods definitely gets it. That particular store probably has the best bike parking of any store in the city - lots of good racks, properly installed, close to the store entrance, out of the weather. Anyone else seen better bike parking at a store around here?

Michael Perz said:
It may be worth mentioning that the Whole Foods on Canal just north of Roosevelt sports a fairly impressive array of bike racks beneath the parking deck. It also appears to be under camera surveillance.
Good to know about the snow pile problem at the Whole Foods Kingsbury location. I didn't get there during the winter, so I wasn't aware they were doing that.

The railroad tracks can make it a serious challenge to safely get in and out of there.

heather said:
The Whole Foods on Canal is definitely the best example. The locations in Lakeview (on Ashland and Halsted) are pretty good too-- not enclosed, but at least plenty of spaces and properly installed. However, the Lincoln Park location seems to have a tough time getting it right. Both the old location on North Ave and the new one on Kingsbury have a bike rack area in outdoor parking lot, not on the sidewalk, so it becomes a convenient place to pile up all the snow from plowing the parking lot. The new location is especially annoying because of all the railroad tracks on Kingsbury, but I guess there's nothing Whole Foods can do about that.

Anne Alt said:
I think that Whole Foods definitely gets it. That particular store probably has the best bike parking of any store in the city - lots of good racks, properly installed, close to the store entrance, out of the weather. Anyone else seen better bike parking at a store around here?

Michael Perz said:
It may be worth mentioning that the Whole Foods on Canal just north of Roosevelt sports a fairly impressive array of bike racks beneath the parking deck. It also appears to be under camera surveillance.
Does the Home Depot look anything like this?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/2801348101/

Todd Allen said:
Home Depot at Kimball and Addison has a 4 bike rack in a poor corner location which makes it only useable by 1 bike at a time. Except most of the time it can't be used at all because they use the area as their seasonal merchandise display spring, summer and fall and in the winter it is a place to store snow. I've complained repeatedly but now just park my bike in car parking spots.
I'm not sure all Whole Foods visitors know the bike parking is on the lower level of the parking garage. Because of the shadows the garage casts, it's hard to see the bike parking from the street so many bicyclists may be choosing to lock up on the sidewalk.

Anyway, awesome bike parking at Whole Foods Southgate Market. I need to get some photos of it.

Michael Perz said:
It may be worth mentioning that the Whole Foods on Canal just north of Roosevelt sports a fairly impressive array of bike racks beneath the parking deck. It also appears to be under camera surveillance.
The Roosevelt/Clinton/Jefferson Home Depot has its bike parking also too close to the wall to effectively lock one's bicycle in the designed manner (perpendicularly).
See this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/3297893049/

I tend to lock at the sole parking meter left in front of the store, or on the decorative fence in their landscaping.

In some of my other photos, the "rent me" truck is parked here.
Frankly, I don't even pay attention to this "nook" anymore because it's a horrible location and site design. I go straight for the sidewalk objects in view of the entrance.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/2642560175/

Anne Alt said:
Thanks for the tip about the 800 number success with Home Depot. Got any good or bad nominees among the grocery stores you shop at?

H3N3 said:
2) Roosevelt/Jefferson-- They have one long multiple U-rack placed in a nook by an employee exit, stupidly close to a wall. Employees had got in the habit of parking right up next to it so you could get one bike in and out of there with paint-job-endangering acrobatics only. I complained through multiple channels again and it's seemed to be solved, at least in my very sporadic sampling.

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