Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bike corrals for safer streets

Making Brooklyn Streets Safer With On-Street Bike Parking from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

A few years ago, when Richard Florida suggested whole new urban forms will grow out of the Recession, it seemed far away. A half century ago, when Jane Jacobs suggested active and diverse streets can cut crime, who knew it would take so long to catch on.

Bike corrals are among the first bits of evidence suggesting both are well underway.

Bike corrals are on-street parking strips with parking for up to 20 bikes in parking spaces normally used for one or two cars. They bring more customers to their street than car parking provides. They pollute less and cut gas costs. For CPTED, corrals provide better natural surveillance and less opportunity for theft.

Bike corrals in Portland, Oregon

Brooklyn, NY has just opened its first bike corral (sometimes called parking swaps). Portland Oregon has over 70.

My urban design friend Megan Carr has just put me on to Streetfilms. It's a fantastic organization with over 400 free educational films about inspired transportation like bike corrals. Check them out HERE.

5 Replies so far - Add your comment

  1. Street films looks like a great resource, thanks!

  2. Nice post Greg! Streetfilms is an excellent resource and educational tool for rethinking the design of our streets.
    As this video confirms, the discussion of street safety today is primarily focused on road safety, i.e. reducing collisions. This video, however, starts to hint at a broader discussion by pointing out one of the road safety benefits of increased surveillance.
    In the CPTED community we know natural surveillance as a cornerstone to deterring crime. And according to Angel Schlomo's study, we can also expect installations like this to pay dividends toward reducing crime by the inverse relationship between crime and the level of activity on a street.
    As we look to improve the safety of our streets and communities it's important we include these considerations and look at safety from a full definition of its implications. But I don't need to tell you that!

  3. Hi Greg-

    It’s good to see this happening more now. I took a picture of a bike corral/bumpout at the corner around 6 or 7 years ago in Berkley, near the University.

    I’ve been trying to get us to do something similar in Philly. It’s a LOT less expensive than building a bump-out and figuring out the engineering of the stormwater inlets. This wasn’t welcomed by the engineers in the City Streets Dept. at the time, but since NY is doing it we will probably follow suit.

    Thanks- Andy

  4. Civitae: Thanks for the comment. I'm impressed you quote Angel's 1960s work in CPTED. Few practitioners have done their homework that well. You're bang on regarding his doctorate showing how normal daily street activity inversely relates to violent crime.

    When will we get cities to appreciate how catering to cars minimizes natural surveillance while bike corrals can do the reverse?

    Andy: Thanks also for the history of bike corrals from Berkley. So many innovative ideas emerged from that part of the country over the past decades. I think Richard Florida is correct about The Creative City and the contribution of neighborhoods filled with creative people.

  5. Ha... That good idea seeming to me! Bike corrals is really safety for the street though I appreciate it. Thanks! :)


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