Bike parking exam: Planet Granite in the Pearl District

Bike parking exam: Planet Granite in the Pearl District

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Bikes parked outside Planet Granite on NW 14th and Pettygrove.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I have a thing for bike parking.

As I move through our city I an constantly scanning the streetscape for bike parking. I enjoy seeing the different ways businesses handle the task of providing a place for customers to park their bikes — or how they can completely ignore it. To me, bike parking isn’t just a place to park bikes, it’s a symbol that shows how much a business understands, and more importantly, respects its customers.

Every once in a while I see an example that deserves a closer look. On Friday while biking up NW 14th I came across Planet Granite, a new bouldering gym. Given its size (over 30,000 square feet of climbing walls and fitness equipment) location in the Pearl District (a dense area that’s home to lots of high-rise condo and apartment buildings) and a customer demographic that matches up well with cycling, Planet Granite was smart to be proactive with bike parking provisions.

Here’s what they’ve got…

granitepic

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Up front near the main entrance are six staple racks which are made to fit two bikes each. The design of Planet Granite’s racks are new to me. They’re not the standard u-shaped racks supplied by the Bureau of Transportation. They have an elliptical shape that comes to a point at the top. I’m all for variety, but more often then not when people veer from the standard staple rack, they get it wrong (there’s are good reasons why PBOT uses the racks they use).

The racks at Planet Granite have a locking surface of flat, bare metal. It’s not clear from the design which way you’re supposed to position a bike on them. Bikes were locked both parallel and perpendicular to the racks. I suppose either way works, although in the parallel orientation the bare metal is sharp and could scratch frames easily.

The main racks at Planet Granite get high marks. They’re easy-to-use, spaced out away from each other, and they’re right up front (this is not rocket science). But what really caught my eye is that they offer overflow bike parking.

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Follow the signs and you see this…

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Planet Granite has a large covered bike parking area behind the front entrance. They get major kudos for this! I love covered racks. They should be a given, especially in rainy places like Portland. I also appreciated that the area is monitored by security cameras — a fact that’s publicized by a large sign.

But unfortunately, the design of the parking itself was way off. All they offer is a long cross-bar to lock your bike to. Was I missing something here? Do they think people will lift their front tire over this and hang bikes over the bar? I wasn’t surprised to see that the only bike parked in the structure was locked to a piece of the structure itself rather than the crossbar.

Overall Planet Granite should be commended for putting thought and resources into their bike parking. They went above and beyond. It’s too bad the covered parking has such an odd design. Overall score: 7/10.

Have you parked your bike here? What do you think?

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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