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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A good bike rack installation is at Flat Top Grill at 30 S Wabash. The city rack is easily visible from the front of the restaurant, it's well illuminated, and it's easy to get to and lock up on.

I agree with Anne about County Fair. I do about 75% of my grocery shopping there--not a bit due to the fact that they have excellent bike parking.

The Whole Foods on Canal has excellent bike parking on their lower level. A small quibble: it would be nice if they had bike parking on the top parking deck, for those who access the store from Roosevelt.

One thing we haven't commented on here is that many store's employees ride to work and can benefit from good bike parking options, as well as the customers.
I like this idea a lot. we could have a 'street team' to hand out flyers as needed.

kind of like the friendly snow-shoveling reminders...


Dan

Jane said:
Clark said:

I've had good success with some store owners by
1. Beginning by mentioning some neighborhood affiliation to give your request weight
2. State (perhaps fictitiously) that the neighborhood group is trying to encourage more bicycle usage to reduce congestion
3. Point out that each shopper that arrives by bike leaves a store parking space available for other shoppers
4. Back up your verbal request with a letter, providing some sources for good bike racks



These are great ideas! I esp. like the letter with sources for bike racks, and hopefully information or links to how to properly install a bike rack. Managers can take a letter and pass it on to their superiors. Verbal comments tend to get lost in the see of stuff a manager has to deal with. A letter can be stuck to the wall or filing cabinet, and even if it doesn't get immediate response, it might get taken care of in the long run.

What are the chances of us getting together a standard form letter that provides info, that we can share here? I'd be happy to pass this sort of thing on to local businesses, but quite honestly, I don't have much time to do the research and writing...

Jane
That's a good point about store employees riding to work. When I lived in Rogers Park, I often went to Clark-Devon hardware by bike. Employees rode there regularly, so there wasn't much rack space for customers. I sometimes commented that more racks would be helpful. Some of the employees agreed. My requests to management seemed to fall on deaf ears. Haven't been there in a few years, so I don't know if more racks have been installed since then. Can anyone from Rogers Park or Edgewater comment on that?

I've encountered similar situations at other stores. I absolutely agree with Jane that this is relevant to our issue. It's just as important for store or restaurant employees to have bike parking available so that bicycles are a commute option for them.

Jane said:
...One thing we haven't commented on here is that many store's employees ride to work and can benefit from good bike parking options, as well as the customers.
My Daughter is going to Mother McAuley High School next year and we live less than a mile away and there is no bike rack at the school. You would think with all the talk about young people with obesity problems the school would encourage bike riding to school. Started to look at Brother Rice did not look hard but I think there are no bike racks there. Both schools charge the kids for parking passes, maybe there is no money in bike rakes for the school. Saint Xavier has bike racks all over and you can rent bikes by the houre there.
Hi, my son graduated recently from Br. Rice and sometimes rode his bike there. I do believe that there are some kind of racks to lock up to, as he did, and never had his bike stolen or tampered with. Look by the entrance to the football field, as I remember, but I could be wrong. I will have to ask him. Yes, Saint Xavier does have quiet a few racks, but they are a ways from Mother McAuley. My son attened summer school at Rice one year, and rode his bike almost every day without problems. You could always give both schools a call, and ask if they have them or not. Hopefully they would know.

Ed O'Connor said:
My Daughter is going to Mother McAuley High School next year and we live less than a mile away and there is no bike rack at the school. You would think with all the talk about young people with obesity problems the school would encourage bike riding to school. Started to look at Brother Rice did not look hard but I think there are no bike racks there. Both schools charge the kids for parking passes, maybe there is no money in bike rakes for the school. Saint Xavier has bike racks all over and you can rent bikes by the houre there.
I'd recommend calling Mother McAuley and asking if they have racks. If not, perhaps mentioning the health aspect of riding, the child obesity crisis and the relatively low cost of bike racks compared to a single parking space might help persuade them. You might also suggest that they contact ATA for advice on appropriate racks and installation guidelines.

Ed O'Connor said:
My Daughter is going to Mother McAuley High School next year and we live less than a mile away and there is no bike rack at the school. You would think with all the talk about young people with obesity problems the school would encourage bike riding to school. Started to look at Brother Rice did not look hard but I think there are no bike racks there. Both schools charge the kids for parking passes, maybe there is no money in bike rakes for the school. Saint Xavier has bike racks all over and you can rent bikes by the houre there.
I haven't followed this discussion because I get too frustrated hearing about problems outside the sphere of those I can help solve (In a typical week I personally call 311 at least 10 times and make 3-4 other contacts to try to fix problems for pedestrians and cyclists-- I rarely report about these efforts publicly and most wouldn't find them of much interest.) But on the subject of Home Depot I have had success twice:

1) Logan/Elston location-- they were putting outdoor merchandise in front of the racks so that you couldn't get to them at all. I complained to the manager on duty, called and spoke to the store manager during their regular hours, and most importantly logged the complaint/request with their central 800 customer service number, which I think had the most bang. The rare times I've been there since (3 years?) I have not seen the rack blocked.

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.

Again, the 800 number has the most bang for the buck-- I have the impression that those complaints get logged and tracked and much like the post office they are used in some way to internally rate a particular location, so the manager takes notice.
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:
I haven't followed this discussion because I get too frustrated hearing about problems outside the sphere of those I can help solve (In a typical week I personally call 311 at least 10 times and make 3-4 other contacts to try to fix problems for pedestrians and cyclists-- I rarely report about these efforts publicly and most wouldn't find them of much interest.) But on the subject of Home Depot I have had success twice:

1) Logan/Elston location-- they were putting outdoor merchandise in front of the racks so that you couldn't get to them at all. I complained to the manager on duty, called and spoke to the store manager during their regular hours, and most importantly logged the complaint/request with their central 800 customer service number, which I think had the most bang. The rare times I've been there since (3 years?) I have not seen the rack blocked.

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.

Again, the 800 number has the most bang for the buck-- I have the impression that those complaints get logged and tracked and much like the post office they are used in some way to internally rate a particular location, so the manager takes notice.
Anne Alt said:
What's the location of your library with the wheel bender rack and your grocery store with no bike parking?

I have never heard this term before. what is a wheel bender rack/what do they look like?
A wheel bender rack is anything that is based around the expectation that you'll roll your bike up and stick your front wheel into it. It can be the old galvanized style we saw everywhere in the 70s, or a few new incarnations that only come up to about 1/3 the height of the wheel.
Here's a simple example:

It's more of a term of un-endearment than what this style of rack is actually called . . .

cinchel said:
Anne Alt said:
What's the location of your library with the wheel bender rack and your grocery store with no bike parking?

I have never heard this term before. what is a wheel bender rack/what do they look like?
Yep, that's one example. The 1/3 height version Howard referred to looks like this. It's not very effective except for kids' bikes with small wheels, hence it's other nickname - schoolyard rack.


So what are the locations of the library and grocery store you mentioned?

H3N3 said:
A wheel bender rack is anything that is based around the expectation that you'll roll your bike up and stick your front wheel into it. It can be the old galvanized style we saw everywhere in the 70s, or a few new incarnations that only come up to about 1/3 the height of the wheel.
Here's a simple example:

It's more of a term of un-endearment than what this style of rack is actually called . . .

cinchel said:
Anne Alt said:
What's the location of your library with the wheel bender rack and your grocery store with no bike parking?

I have never heard this term before. what is a wheel bender rack/what do they look like?
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.

One place of note that doesn't makes sense to me is the Handlebar bar on North Ave has crappy bike parking! There is a small pole area in front of the bar, two sign posts and a fence immediately next door (the outdoor patio area). 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 do like this bar a lot but it could use better bike parking.

I also wish Stanley's on North Ave and Elston had more bike parking and/or better placed racks. Quite a few times going there, I've had to basically wait for a person to come out and free up their spot from one of I believe three upside down U posts. Stanley's is a great place but their bike parking leaves something to be desired.

I do appreciate Target on Elston @ Logan Blvd for their bike parking as well as Microcenters across the street. Very nice.

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