The economic case for on-street bike parking

BikenomicsIf your city is to go the bike route, and we can think of no good reason why it should not, you have to figure out the parking angle. Which, once you get into it, proves to be not nearly as easy as you might at first have thought.  Here is a thoughtful piece on the on-street parking piece of the city bike puzzle which appears in Grist this morning under the byline of the ever-inventive Elly Blue.  We propose you check it out with that second cup of coffee.

The economic case for on-street bike parking 

This is the fourth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling.

Bicycling and driving have one thing in common that is almost universally frustrating, time consuming, friction causing, and potentially expensive.


No matter how seamless your ride across town, no matter how well-timed the traffic lights or low-conflict the bike lanes, it’s all pointless if when you arrive at work, or the store, or the music venue or party, and have nowhere to put your ride.

Worse is when you go back outside find your lock still securely attached and that sweet bike you invested in nowhere in sight.

Or when you buy the rustiest, most theft-proof bike you can find, and arrive at work sweaty because your gears don’t shift and covered in grease because your chain falls off every other block.

Or when you are running late for a meeting and hastily lock up to whatever is handy and then return to nothing — except, if you’re lucky, a note informing you it’s been impounded.

These are all real barriers to bicycling. And the solutions might seem difficult and costly … until you break them down and put them in perspective.

* * * For the full text, click to this morning’s Grist right here.

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About the author:

Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist living in Portland, Oregon. She has been the managing editor of, the lead coordinator of the Towards Carfree Cities conference in Portland in 2008, and has been an active bike funnist since 2005. She publishes a feminist bicycle zine called Taking the Lane.  You can find her on Twitter.

About Grist:

“Grist has been dishing out environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999 — which, to be frank, was way before most people cared about such things. Now that green is in every headline and on every store shelf (bamboo hair gel, anyone?), Grist is the one site you can count on to help you make sense of it all. ” Check them out at

One thought on “The economic case for on-street bike parking

  1. Good morning, Eric. Or evening, your time.

    I just read the piece on bike parking with considerable delight. Here in Davis, California, the self-proclaimed City of Bikes, we are looking down the barrel of a massive parking structure proposal right in the core of our wonderful, walkable downtown. It will consume $12 million from our redevelopment agency, virtually every last dime we can expect to get from that source. To store cars.

    So I ran the math from the Texas example cited in the Grist article you posted. For those same 21 million dollars, we could get 269,231 bicycle parking spaces downtown.

    That’s probably too many for downtown Davis. So those of us in the bicycle community are being generous and working out the details of an arrangement we will propose whereby we share some of those funds for other uses like better street lighting, crosswalks, and outdoor cafe seating. Seems only fair.

    Steve Tracy.


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