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Cleveland wields stick on bike parking ordinance

Marc Lefkowitz  |  03/07/13 @ 10:00am  |  Posted in Biking, Transportation choices

In Cleveland’s first attempt to be a Bike Friendly Community—an honor that the League of American Bicyclists bestows upon cities that make progress in the five “Es” of bike sainthood (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation & Planning)—the city didn’t rank higher than an honorable mention.

The city’s Planning Department offered a response in 2010 with its Active Transportation Plan. In it, planners spun a vision for how the city would improve, including big goals like a 180-mile bike way system with the Towpath Trail as its spine. The 2010 plan pointed to policies like Complete Streets (finally passed in 2011), and an ordinance written in 2008 that requires all parking lot operators in the city to install bike racks.

<br />Bike parking in Cleveland<br />200 Public Square (BP Building) parking garage bike parking spaces.  This garage has a grid style, 9 bike capacity rack located near the main vehicle entrance off of Superior Ave. 

With 755 total vehicle spaces, this garage will be required to provide 24 bicycle parking spots by June 2010.Room for improvemet<br />515 Euclid Avenue parking garage.  This facility has a grid style, doublesided 6 bike capacity rack installed near the main vehicle entrance, with a large sign.   Unfortunately, it is installed against the concrete wall, making 3 of the bicycle parking spaces unusable.

This 524 space garage will be required to provide 24 bicycle parking spaces by June 2010.Going up?<br />Before tenants in Key Tower worked with management to improve the bike rack, his grid style, double sided, 10 capacity bike rack was installed in the lowest level and in a manner where the bikes could only be accommodated on one side of the rack without blocking a car space, effectively limiting capacity to 5 bikes.

City of Cleveland ordinance will require this 986 car space garage to have 24 bicycle parking spaces by June 2010.Key improvements<br />After a tenant law firm worked with the building's management to improve bike parking in the parking garage, the new Key Tower garage racks are located closer to the entrance to the building than the nearest handicap spot, and in a spacious area with plenty of light and foot traffic .

“The Cleveland bicycle parking ordinance will be the tool that finally allows us to provide plentiful, safe and convenient bike parking across the city,” the city plan states.

The Cleveland Bike Parking Ordinance requires parking lot operators to install one bike spot for every 20 car spots with a maximum of 24 bike racks. Existing operators had two years to comply with the law.

But, a review conducted by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) in November 2012 found wide scale non-compliance with the city’s bike parking ordinance at downtown parking operations.

DCA staff inspected parking garages and surface lots in the Gateway and Warehouse districts, Erieview, the Theater District and the civic center and found that only 15 out of 108 lot operators have installed bike racks.

Since parking lots require the city’s annual license of operation, Cleveland has a stick that in could use to enforce the bike parking ordinance.

And, at the prompting of GCBL, the city moved quickly to rectify the situation, mailing a pointed letter demanding that all parking lot and garage operators fall in line.

“Beginning in April (2013), the City will begin to take enforcement action against any licensed parking facilities that are not in compliance with the law,” Bob Brown, Director, Cleveland City Planning Commission wrote in a letter dated March 4.

The letter details the history of outreach including presentations on the bike parking ordinance in 2008 and reminders in 2010 to the Cleveland Parking Association.

Cleveland might also dangle a carrot in the form of a direct education campaign.

To that effect, GreenCityBlueLake conducted a mini-survey of the city’s bike parking ordinance in 2010. At the time, we credited three of downtown’s biggest garages for their bike racks. We encouraged parking lot operators to look to The Cleveland Clinic and its newly installed bike racks at its E. 89th and E. 93rd Street garages for guidance on rack type and placement. And we advised that with an education program, the garages will make the most of this opportunity—install the proper racks, with ample room to use them, and brand themselves as ‘green.’

The city included with the compliance letter a copy of its “Bicycle Parking Guidelines: A set of recommendations from the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals”.

"Safe, secure, covered bike parking is important to continue to encourage more people to ride a bike,” Bike Cleveland executive director Jacob Van Sickle concludes. “Think of it this way, would you drive your car to work if you knew it was going to get vandalized, stolen, or taken away by police because you didn't have a place to park? No. The same is true for people on bikes; they need safe, secure bike parking, which this ordinance requires and parking garages are not complying with."

The city did get some credit from the League of American Bicyclists for installing 500 individual bike racks around Cleveland at schools, recreation centers, and neighborhood retail districts, in 2009. And it will earn points for building, in 2011, The Bike Rack, secured indoor bike parking, with a maintenance shop, bike rentals and shower facilities for individuals commuting to work downtown by bike.

Time will tell, but it is our firm hope that we’re not repeating the same story two years from now.

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Bike parking follow up
4 years ago

GCBL emailed Cleveland Planning Director on April 10, 2013 for an update on the city's renewed effort to achieve compliance with its bike parking ordinance. Here's the response:



"The City followed up on the letter by conducting thorough inspections of all parking facilities with respect to compliance with the bicycle parking regulations, and, yes, we have received many responses committing to installation of bike racks by specified dates. The City is now in the process of following up with enforcement action. We can provide a detailed update to you and others soon."

Mayfielder
4 years ago

Did DCA's audit determine whether parking garages were complying with the Bike Parking Ordinance or just whether the parking garages had installed bike racks? I think it is important to emphasize that the Bike Parking Ordinance not only mandates that parking garages must provide bike racks and a specified number of bike parking spaces but also the design and location of the bike racks and how the number of bike parking spaces are determined. In fact, the rim-bending bike racks shown in three of the five pictures provided with the blog post are non-compliant under the ordinance ("Bicycle racks that support the wheel but not the frame of the bike may not be used to fulfill a bicycle parking requirement"), so those bike racks actually count toward zero bike parking spaces.

Big thanks
4 years ago

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that John McGovern was instrumental in taking this kernel of my idea to a request at DCA. Thanks for your continued efforts on behalf of the bike community, John.

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