Today I stepped out from the trade show for a walk in a nearby neighborhood. Being Amsterdam, there are bikes everywhere, on the cycle paths and locked to anything imaginable. In this little neighborhood, I found large bike racks on the sidewalk for the residents. The racks were overflowing. I guess when your bike weighs 40 pounds, dragging it upstairs to an apartment doesn’t make sense.
A few weeks ago I read an article about why San Francisco doesn’t install bike racks in residential areas. The short answer: they’re focusing on racks at commercial locations because they have more demand. But based on the article’s comments, there’s also a fear that the racks would be used by residents for long-term parking, not by visitors. Sounds reasonable at first—why fill up city-provided bike racks with resident parking? Shouldn’t residents or the building owners foot the bill for bike parking?
But take a step back and consider that long-term car parking in neighborhoods by residents is not only allowed, it’s demanded. That’s why converting street parking to bike lanes meets a lot of resistance. Some neighborhoods go so far as to restrict parking to residents only through permit programs, giving them priority over visitors. So why not give bike owners the same privilege as car owners?
What do you think? Should cities provide bike racks in neighborhoods, just like they provide street parking for cars?