How often to do you find yourself foraging desperately for bike parking? You've pedaled to your local cafe or to the hardware store or to the bar and you have to scrounge around for some viable place to lock up your wheels. A parking meter perhaps? Maybe there's a free street sign? Or a tree? Figuring out what to wrap one's U-lock around is part of the urban cyclist's conundrum.
Cities nationwide though are responding to this need by installing "bike corrals"—elongated bike racks that accomodate up to a dozen bikes—on the curbsides formerly occupied by a single car. Pressure to build the bike corrals is coming from riders, but also increasingly from local businesses who see that this simple, inexpensive piece of infrastructure instantly boosts their traffic. San Francisco's Mission neighborhood is on track to have 19 bike corrals installed by the end of year and Portland boasts 85.
Several cities are starting to catch on. In fact, it's shaping up to be the summer of the bike corral. The Philadelphia Mayor's office has received a slew of requests for these practical parking swaps. Pittsburgh installed its first corral in May and now that the city's Art Commission has approved a replicable design, Steel City will soon be getting plenty more. San Diego also installed its first in May and has plans for a couple more on the horizon. Columbia South Carolina is looking forward to two corrals installed in its downtown by the end of the summer. Santa Barbara, it seems, is still crawling with bike parking foragers, but perhaps not for long.
Even tiny Newark Delaware is clamoring for corrals.