I’d like to get your feedback on what should be included in the letters, but first I’ll share a story that might illustrate how these letters can be helpful.
Early on a recent morning last week, I planned to get a few dozen bagels for my students for the last day of class. As I rolled into the parking lot, I spotted the rack they provided.
It was an old style rack that requires you to put your wheel in a slot and doesn’t allow you to lock up your frame. In addition to wheel-only locking, this particular rack requires you to lift the front wheel three feet off the ground, which is made more difficult with a cargo bike.
The rack was placed across the parking lot, covered in weeds and appeared to not be secured to the ground.
Because of all of these factors, I decided to forgo the rack and just wheel my bike into the mostly empty bagel shop. I parked the bike in an out of the way spot and waited for the employee to help me.
When he saw the bike, he said I couldn’t park the bike inside the store. I explained that the bike rack they provided wasn’t really adequate and that I just wanted to pick up a couple dozen bagels and I’d get going. He said again the bike couldn’t be in the shop because someone could trip over it.
He also said the rack was more than adequate. When I told him I couldn’t lift the bike into the wheel slot and it wouldn’t allow me to lock the frame, he said I could lock up on the outside edge of the rack.
I explained that I could probably do that, but that the rack wasn’t secured to anything and could be taken, not that it was actually going to happen at 6:15 a.m.
He told me the rack was secure because cars hit it all the time and it never moved. As if that was a selling point for using the rack.
I told him I’d have to take my business elsewhere and left the shop.
Having a letter that could be sent to the manager or owner of the shop outlining why quality bike parking is important and beneficial to them would be helpful.
That said, I want your feedback on what needs to be included.
I’m thinking we’ll need form letters that apply to businesses with no bike parking, bike parking that is too far away, not enough bike parking and old racks that aren’t functional. Anything else?
I’d also like to include a section about why it is beneficial to the business to include bike parking. Thoughts I had were encouraging people to ride their bike to the business frees up more parking spaces for other shoppers, allows cyclists to utilize their business, keeps cyclists from locking to other items cluttering up their walkway. What other benefits are there?
Lastly, I’ll include a section about the new parking rules the city is working on, which instructs businesses on the best practices when it comes to bike parking as well as resources for getting bike racks purchased and installed.
What other suggestions do you have?