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Yesterday we shared that the Portland Business Alliance believes, “converting on-street metered parking spots and loading zones for non-auto parking use should be avoided.” The PBA’s position that auto parking and loading zones should remain the top priority over other uses of the public right-of-way in the downtown core was made clear in a letter to PBOT about the Street Seats program (a program that allows cafe owners and other organizations to convert parking spaces into customer seating areas).
After seeing our post, Drew Meisel, a planner at Alta Planning + Design in Portland, sent us over an infographic about bike corrals. Meisel published a study on bike corrals in 2010 as a graduate student at Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and he created the infographic for a presentation he gave this weekend at the American Planning Association’s 2013 National Conference.
While PBOT’s Street Seats program is much different than their on-street bike corral program, they both utilize space currently used for auto parking. And they both have proven to very popular with business owners.
PBOT’s bike corral program has been around for several years and nearly 100 corrals have been installed throughout the city. In the downtown core area — where the PBA successfully thwarted the Street Seats program — there are currently five on-street bike corrals (a sixth corral, at SW Broadway and Pine, was recently decommissioned).
It will be interesting to watch how Portland decides to use its public space downtown: Will the PBA will continue to extend their influence on these issues? Or will PBOT be able to remain flexible and use the right-of-way for things other than truck and auto storage and access? One thing is for sure: There is increasing pressure to re-purpose public right-of-way and the trend is away from auto access and toward other (non-motorized) vehicular access and social uses. And this is just the beginning. In less than a year, PBOT will start mapping out where to put dozens of bike share rental stations. Stay tuned.