Eyes on the Street: SFMTA Installs Four New Bike Corrals

mikesbikes
New bike corral in front of Mike's Bikes on Howard St. Photo: Aaron Bialick

More city businesses and their cycling customers are enjoying new on-street bike parking after the SFMTA installed four recently approved corrals, repurposing four parking spots for motor vehicles with forty-six spots for bicycles. A total of nine have been installed since the bike injunction was lifted last August.

“As you can see, it hasn’t even been a week and each rack has a bike on it.”

“As you can see, it hasn’t even been a week and each rack has a bike on it,” said Nicole Cooper, manager of Timbuk2 in Hayes Valley, who was very pleased with the results. “I see more bikes, less people asking, ‘Hey, can I just drop my bike off in here?'”

Nate Rotsko of Mike’s Bikes in SoMa sees value in their new corral on Howard Street that goes beyond just tidying up the sidewalks and attracting customers. “It also helps draw the attention of the drivers to bicycles. The fact that bikes are here helps reinforce the fact that bikes are on the street to people driving,” he said.

In South Park, customers who pedal to the popular French restaurant, the Butler and the Chef, will also find a new bike corral. The restaurant is just a few doors down from Public Bikes, where the company’s Dan Nguyen-Tan was excited about the new on-street bike parking even though Public did not receive a corral of its own.

The Butler and the Chef restaurant (on a closed day), South Park. Photo: Aaron Bialick

“It makes perfect sense,” said Nguyen-Tan, who expects that the new corral will draw even more people to South Park, which he describes as a European-inspired oasis, especially “as they find out that it’s an amenity, that it’s so easy for them to bike and park right in front of the place they’re going to have brunch at on a weekend.”

“On a beautiful day, hundreds of people use the park for eating, hanging out, bringing their kids to use the playground,” he added. “Before, all we had was basically street poles and some signs.”

A joint bike corral was also installed in front of Box Dog Bikes and Thieves Tavern on 14th Street between Guerrero and Valencia in the Mission District.

Despite design measures taken for visibility, one of the five original corrals installed on Valencia near 21st was damaged over the New Year’s weekend by what appears to have been the driver of a motor vehicle. An SFMTA spokesperson told Streetsblog a work order has been issued to repair it.

The corrals are in demand in a number of neighborhoods and commercial districts and merchants seem optimistic about their potential not only as a boon for business, but for their neighborhood and for cycling in the city overall.

“A lot of people coming in have been saying how handy it is – not just here, but throughout the whole city,” said Rotsko.

“This was just the first round. As this program continues, I’m sure you’ll see more of these popping up.”

To request a bike corral, check out the SFBC’s bike parking page. H/T to Streetsblog commenter Nick for the tip on the damaged bike corral.

timbuk2
Timbuk2 in Hayes Valley. Photo: Aaron Bialick

  • Why are all the new corrals done with rubber bumpers and soft hit posts instead of bollards like the original corral at the main library? Seems like it’s only a matter of time until they all get destroyed like the one on Valencia, probably with a lot of damage to the parked bikes as well.

  • Nick

    Steve has a good point. The corral outside Zeitgeist habitually has a pickup truck backed into the actual corral zone. I know parking is tight in the city, but it’s bumper was touching the last rack in the row.

    And if I’m not mistaken, that very rack has damage to it as well from being backed into. Are there even any red zones adjacent to these new corrals? if not, then those motorists were parked legally. Happy new year!

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Random idea: explosive charges on the car-facing side of the bike corral.

  • You know I was just at the main library last night and took another look at the corral there, and it’s striking how much better designed that one is compared to the new ones. It does actually have the same rubber bumps to let cars know where to stop, but then if a vehicle does run over the bump there are bollards at each end which will stop it before it damages any parked bikes. There are also bollards spaced along the street side to keep cars from sideswiping parked bikes.

    I’m all for keeping the design inexpensive and functional so we can get as many up as quickly as possible, but it doesn’t seem like a piece of pipe filled with concrete should be that expensive.

    BTW, here is a photo of the destroyed corral on Valencia:
    https://missionmission.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/parklet-protest-manifests-in-rack-rage/

  • Nick

    3 More Corrals coming:

    2 to Haight st and 1 to Clement. Check it out here:
    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/ceng/EngineeringPublicHearingNoticeJanuary72011.htm

  • The damaged bike corral on the east side of Valencia Street, north of 21st Street, has been re-installed.

    This bike corral previously had four bike racks angled at 60 degrees but now has six bike racks angled at 90 degrees.

    This is an increase of eight bicycle parking spaces to 12 bicycle parking spaces.

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