I am pleased to introduce the first in an occasional series of remote postings from Louisville, Kentucky by She Rides A Bike reader Sushi K! Applause please! Sushi K has some great wisdom about the placement of bike racks or the lack thereof. If you happen to know or love an urban planner or someone who is merely passing as one, please pass this post on to him or her.
Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Bike Rack Band
Louisville has quite a few bike racks. However, they are not everywhere. I often have to lock to a signpost or a parking meter when a proper rack is not nearby. Or sometimes a nearby rack is already full of bikes! That is always a sight that makes me smile! However, I am sad because I have recently noticed several forgotten, lonely bike racks that never seem to have bikes locked to them, such as this one:
This is a serviceable rack, maybe a bit old school, but otherwise fine. What is its problem? Why is it shunned by Louisville's bicyclists? Well, dear readers, the answer is....LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! These racks, even though they are all in downtown Louisville, near destinations such as hospitals, schools and businesses, are tucked away into forgotten corners, and no one knows they are there. So sad. I realize that the folks who bought these racks and installed them had good intentions, but they seem to be assuming that all bicyclists have bike rack x-ray vision to help them find racks that are in strange corners of the city. That would be a handy skill.
This rack is around the back of a hospital: It is by a door labeled "Non flammable gas." Hmmm...what a great place for a bike rack. At least it isn't next to the toxic waste or the flammable gas entrance....but still is a weird spot for a rack. I go by it every day and have never seen a bike locked to it.
I found this rack in the dark back corner of a parking garage...it would be a good, secure place to park a bike in a rainstorm if people only knew it was there! A sign on the outside of the garage would help. The Do Not Enter" sign doesn't seem friendly!
Ahhh...finally a rack that is seeing some love! Yay. This rack is always full, often it is overflowing with bicycles. Located right next to the main (and only) entrance to the downtown YMCA, everyone knows it is there and uses it often. However, even when this rack is full, and people are locking to poles and fences nearby, its "sister" rack not half a block away in the YMCA parking garage is always empty:
Awww....so sad. This rack is so lonely. Even though I have worked nearby for several years, I didn't even know this rack was there until I recently discovered it when I was in the garage for an unrelated reason.
So..the moral of this story is: people don't use racks they can't find! I am tempted to put up some signs on nearby poles directing people to these lonely, forgotten racks. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch! - Sushi K.
For more about bike commuting in Louisville, Kentucky visit Bike Louisville on the Metro Louisville website!