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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Sorry. At first glance, I thought it was on the downstairs side. If someone is a single person doing a light shopping trip, walking all the way across the parking lot is okay. If you're shopping for more than one person and buying a trailer's worth of stuff, it's a long walk.

I never said it was corporate policy NOT to have bike parking, or have good bike parking. My experience has been that most Dominick's or Jewel stores I've visited anywhere in the city have had no bike parking or inadequate bike parking, and store managers have been indifferent to requests.

One of my main motivations in starting this topic was to get descriptions and pictures from people of what they encounter when they go to grocery or other major stores that they would prefer to visit by bike. I hoped to get a better sense of how good or bad the big picture looks outside of what I see.

For example, has the bike parking at Clark-Devon hardware gotten any better recently? In years past, it was similar to the Howard-Clark Dominick's situation (the parking right by the store) - less than ideal - and the manager was indifferent to requests from customers and employees.

Are there other major stores you visit in the city that need better bike parking OR stores that are an example of excellent bike parking?

David said:
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...
Let's be specific, because I find the issue pretty interesting. I'm always trying to convince people that living car-less in Chicago isn't difficult and that it's easy to go grocery shopping on the bike, so I generally take notice of what bike parking is around. Since Dominick's is unionized I usually try to do general shopping there, so here's the stores I know, along with some occasional pictures:

Chicago/Damen: 5 u-racks scattered around the store, plus some heavily used signposts and (sadly) trees on Chicago. I go here all the time and I've never not found parking, so it's hard to complain. But for such a bike-heavy neighborhood, they could do better.

Fullerton: like the one above, they rely on a ton of city u-racks on the sidewalks surrounding the store. But there's a *lot* of bike parking at this store since it's at DePaul.

Halsted: 3-4 u-racks along the front, but there's a grating in front that's the perfect height for locking up bikes, so in practice there's plenty of parking. In the background here, you can see bikes locked to the grating



Division/Clybourn: There's this:


Now, that's really not so bad because it's installed correctly. There's enough room to do a wheelover so you could fit 8 or so bikes pretty easily if people parked vertically. OTOH I'm not here that often, but I've never seen more than a bike or two. I seem to remember that the Dominicks across from Superdawg has a similar rack installed.

Clybourn: This is a weird one. Technically, there's this directly across from the entrance.


A decent wave, and a stupid worthless rack next to it. But there's also this, just around the corner


But nobody uses it because it's easier to just lock to the sign posts near the store entrances. So there's a decent amount of OK bike parking, but it's not used very much.

Broadway: as mentioned above, two long waves plus the two bike lids (I'm not sure the bike lids are functional).

Lincoln: There's plenty of bike parking at this store. Someone provided a picture in another post.

Damen/Ridge:
This is an interesting rack, I'm not really sure how I feel about it. There's also a 3-wave rack just around the corner from it, so if you really hated it you could use the standard wave rack.



Roscoe/Western: This is really the only hall of shame example for Dominicks, at least on the north side. The Dominicks on McCormick is about like this, but I don't think that one is in Chicago.


Anne Alt said:
Are there other major stores you visit in the city that need better bike parking OR stores that are an example of excellent bike parking?
the bucktown/wicker park library has a one-piece rack that spells "books." while a creative idea, it only works if you get one of the good letters to lock up to. i wonder if the people who design these racks ever actually try locking up bikes to it.
Is *that* what's going on there? I feel really stupid, I always thought it was some kind of weird non-functional abstract design. It manages to convert decent bike rack space into something really hard to use.

Luckily there's some normal racks in front of the library though.

The new West Town branch has no bike parking at all, just two leftover parking meters. That might be a temporary thing, though, since the branch just opened. It might have one u-rack, I'm not 100% positive, but it's nowhere near enough.

milesperhour said:
the bucktown/wicker park library has a one-piece rack that spells "books." while a creative idea, it only works if you get one of the good letters to lock up to. i wonder if the people who design these racks ever actually try locking up bikes to it.
That's more like it! Your Division/Clybourn example is like what I've seen at many Dominick's stores - not the easiest design for today's bikes and more often than not too close to the wall even to do a wheelover locking job.

The wave rack with "schoolyard" rack next to it - that "schoolyard" (or "wheelbender") rack is what I'm seeing at a lot of Walgreens stores now - usually installed where locked bikes will block the sidewalk, and not necessarily attached to the sidewalk very securely. Those are a rash of bike thefts and wheel damage waiting to happen.

The one you show at the Dominick's on McCormick (Lincolnwood) is a bit of a joke for a store that size.


David said:
Let's be specific, because I find the issue pretty interesting. I'm always trying to convince people that living car-less in Chicago isn't difficult and that it's easy to go grocery shopping on the bike, so I generally take notice of what bike parking is around. Since Dominick's is unionized I usually try to do general shopping there, so here's the stores I know, along with some occasional pictures:

Chicago/Damen: 5 u-racks scattered around the store, plus some heavily used signposts and (sadly) trees on Chicago. I go here all the time and I've never not found parking, so it's hard to complain. But for such a bike-heavy neighborhood, they could do better.

Fullerton: like the one above, they rely on a ton of city u-racks on the sidewalks surrounding the store. But there's a *lot* of bike parking at this store since it's at DePaul.

Halsted: 3-4 u-racks along the front, but there's a grating in front that's the perfect height for locking up bikes, so in practice there's plenty of parking. In the background here, you can see bikes locked to the grating



Division/Clybourn: There's this:


Now, that's really not so bad because it's installed correctly. There's enough room to do a wheelover so you could fit 8 or so bikes pretty easily if people parked vertically. OTOH I'm not here that often, but I've never seen more than a bike or two. I seem to remember that the Dominicks across from Superdawg has a similar rack installed.

Clybourn: This is a weird one. Technically, there's this directly across from the entrance.


A decent wave, and a stupid worthless rack next to it. But there's also this, just around the corner


But nobody uses it because it's easier to just lock to the sign posts near the store entrances. So there's a decent amount of OK bike parking, but it's not used very much.

Broadway: as mentioned above, two long waves plus the two bike lids (I'm not sure the bike lids are functional).

Lincoln: There's plenty of bike parking at this store. Someone provided a picture in another post.

Damen/Ridge:
This is an interesting rack, I'm not really sure how I feel about it. There's also a 3-wave rack just around the corner from it, so if you really hated it you could use the standard wave rack.



Roscoe/Western: This is really the only hall of shame example for Dominicks, at least on the north side. The Dominicks on McCormick is about like this, but I don't think that one is in Chicago.


Anne Alt said:
Are there other major stores you visit in the city that need better bike parking OR stores that are an example of excellent bike parking?
Just to clarify, that picture was one of the store at Roscoe/Western, where there's really no excuse for poor bike parking. The one on McCormick in Lincolnwood is even worse, although I'll admit that's not an easy store to get to for bikes. I especially love the safety cone, as if the bike rack were some small pothole in the sidewalk.


Although it's not my favorite, the rack style at Division/Clybourn doesn't bother me much because it's installed far enough away from the wall to do a wheelover:


However, it's easy to install this rack poorly. Here's the one at Howard that you mentioned, they've managed to install this rack backwards, rendering it almost completely useless (sorry for the picture quality):


PS. I meant to get pictures of one or two racks at stores near me, but as you can perhaps tell, it was such a gorgeous night last night that we wound up riding around the entire northside. It was really fun, it makes me want to organize a bike rack documentation project where we visit, say, all the libraries in town or something.

Anne Alt said:
The one you show at the Dominick's on McCormick (Lincolnwood) is a bit of a joke for a store that size.
Humboldt Park Library on North Avenue, just north of the Park has two racks that are close to the front door and get used regularly. Yay library!


David said:
Just to clarify, that picture was one of the store at Roscoe/Western, where there's really no excuse for poor bike parking. The one on McCormick in Lincolnwood is even worse, although I'll admit that's not an easy store to get to for bikes. I especially love the safety cone, as if the bike rack were some small pothole in the sidewalk.




Same one serving as the sole bike rack at the giant Menard's at 23rd and Cicero. Just kind of sitting there, in a different place every time I arrive, not attached to anything.
Looks totally ridiculous when my bike with 8-foot trailer is locked to it. Occasionally I'll lock a shopping cart to it just so security would care if someone tried to hoist the whole thing into the bed of their pickup.
Thanks for posting all the pictures. Your idea about a picture-taking tour is a good one, but I think that having a few of them to cover different areas of the city would be even better. I'd love to get a good collection of images from various store chains, libraries, etc., to take this project further.

David said:
Just to clarify, that picture was one of the store at Roscoe/Western, where there's really no excuse for poor bike parking. The one on McCormick in Lincolnwood is even worse, although I'll admit that's not an easy store to get to for bikes. I especially love the safety cone, as if the bike rack were some small pothole in the sidewalk.


Although it's not my favorite, the rack style at Division/Clybourn doesn't bother me much because it's installed far enough away from the wall to do a wheelover:


However, it's easy to install this rack poorly. Here's the one at Howard that you mentioned, they've managed to install this rack backwards, rendering it almost completely useless (sorry for the picture quality):


PS. I meant to get pictures of one or two racks at stores near me, but as you can perhaps tell, it was such a gorgeous night last night that we wound up riding around the entire northside. It was really fun, it makes me want to organize a bike rack documentation project where we visit, say, all the libraries in town or something.

Anne Alt said:
The one you show at the Dominick's on McCormick (Lincolnwood) is a bit of a joke for a store that size.
Last I used the Bike Lids a couple months ago, one had issues locking, but the other was ok.

David said:
Broadway: as mentioned above, two long waves plus the two bike lids (I'm not sure the bike lids are functional).

The Lake Street entrance to the State of Illinois Building has one small "single hump" bike rack. It's not a very friendly entrance being right under the el tracks, but considering it's a state building and cta station, there should be more bike parking along the sidewalk.


Cameron Puetz said:
Has anyone here tried engaging a property owner to improve their bike facilities? If so, what approach did you take and what was the response?

I wrote a mailed letter to the store manager. Read the details about my letter.

I've started a database of bike parking at grocery stores. You guys can help me expand it. You've already started, by posting the photos here. Visit the Bike Parking at Grocery Stores database. You can also leave a comment on the database page.

David, at what Clybourn Dominick's did you find those two wave racks?

Bike parking at a strip mall
Dominick's at 3145 S Ashland

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