Mission Boasts USA’s Largest Bike Corral; 55 Across SF Park 668 Bikes

The new bike corral at Mission Cliffs, six car spaces long, is the “largest bike corral in a U.S. urban environment,” according to the SFMTA. Photo: Jessica Kuo

Four years after the SFMTA started converting curbside car parking into bike parking with bike corrals, the city now has 55 corrals that can lock 668 bikes — and still more are on the way.

Most bike corrals replace one car space with about five bike racks, each parking two bikes, and are requested by merchants who want to efficiently re-purpose street space to serve more customers. As the corrals proliferate, they’ve started to vary a bit in configuration to serve more purposes.

The Mission Cliffs corral uses a different type of rack to squeeze in more bikes. Photo: SFMTA

One of the newest corrals, installed in front of the Mission Cliffs indoor climbing gym at Harrison and 19th Streets, has replaced six car parking spaces with parking for 54 bikes. It’s “the largest bike corral in a U.S. urban environment,” according to an SFMTA report [PDF]. This corral uses a novel type of bike rack, purchased by Mission Cliffs, that fits more bikes into the space by vertically staggering them.

Other bike corrals have been placed strategically to open up visibility at street corners, or “daylight” them, and to help keep Muni trains moving. At Carl and Cole Streets, drivers often used to park in a red curb zone intended to provide turning room for N-Judah trains entering the Sunset Tunnel, thereby blocking Muni’s busiest line. The curb space has been filled with five bike racks placed parallel to the curb, making it impossible to leave a car there (well, without running over the racks) while still leaving space for passing trains.

This corral at Carl and Cole prevents illegal parkers from blocking the N-Judah. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Today’s total of 55 corrals is double the 27 we reported on in June 2012, which had converted 30 car parking spots into 336 bike parking spots. Of the 55 now on the ground, 21 were installed in 2013, yielding 117 bike racks without infringing upon sidewalk space. At press time, the SFMTA didn’t have a count for the number of car spaces replaced with bike corrals.

As of March 24, the SFMTA report said the agency plans “upcoming installation” of six more bike corrals, with 30 bike racks and providing 98 parking spots, and has another 50 locations under review. Businesses can find info on requesting bike corrals on the SFMTA website.

It’s worth noting that the SFMTA is also considering installing on-street bike lockers [PDF] for residential bike parking, as the SF Examiner reported in November.

The Mission Cliffs bike corral filled up on the first day. Photo: Mission Cliffs via SFMTA
  • Derek

    This new corral is great! But I have to wonder… that motorcycle… the one parked BOTH in the bike corral AND in front of the red curb… did it get a parking ticket? Or is it actually pedal powered?

  • Chris J.

    I think bike corrals are awesome. However, there’s a corral a couple blocks from the Mission Cliffs one that I worry about. The one at 16th and Harrison in front of Dear Mom is at the bottom of a hill on a four-lane road. Cars come barreling down the hill westbound on 16th. The corral is just past the traffic light at the bottom, which makes it worse because cars speed even more when trying to make the light.

    On top of that, bicyclists pretty much have to stand in the road when entering or exiting the corral. And on top of that, since it’s in front of a bar, a lot of this is happening at night when it’s dark, etc.

  • thom

    The corral outside of Mission Cliffs looks awesome filled with bikes on a sunny weekend afternoon. Does anyone know the style or model of rack that they used? I’ve seen it before, but I can’t think of its style name.

  • A side note: the top photo relays a related point: SF needs more motorcycle parking spaces. I’ve wondered whether there could be a more formal policy to automatically stripe “leftover” curb space for motorcycles/scooters- dimensions for car parking and bike corrals never line up perfectly, so I’d assume there are opportunities out there.

  • BBnet3000

    In Paris you see a lot of combined spaces for motorcycles/scooters (mostly scooters there) and bikes, with “velo” and “moto” sections marked on the ground.

    To be fair theyre quite overrun with scooters but its a better problem to have than being overrun with cars.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    As a motorcyclist and bicyclist in an office full of people who are also both, we were all just laughing at this picture. The black motorcycle seems to be in a kind of wasted space in the corral, although I personally would have parked between the rubber curb and the white line. The guy on the yellow motorcycle in the middle of the corral I just don’t understand.

  • sebra leaves

    That bike corral one is supposedly going away. Part of the TEP plan is to move the bus stop from a single short block to the west side of the street after the traffic light.

  • sebra leaves

    If cars and Google buses are being charged to park, how long will it be till bikes are charged for taking up valuable curb space?

  • In Noe Valley I have run across strollers locked to bike parking racks that have prevented me from access to the rack. Not to say this is a terrible practice, just to note that there is quite a lot of demand for storage of non-car transportation vehicles not being met by our current allocation of street space to private cars.

  • I would be thrilled to pay $1 per hour to park my bicycle if all cars were charged $10-12/hr. Thrilled! I imagine congestion in this city would drop to nothing in a matter of days. Bikes and electric bikes would proliferate; noise, pollution, asthma, cancer, and injuries due to car collisions would nearly disappear, and there would suddenly be plenty of room for bike lanes. It would be totally worth it.

  • murphstahoe

    It is more likelt that a car will ram into a bunch of bike racks and bikes than a car ramming into a parked car?

  • murphstahoe

    Is that street metered?

  • murphstahoe

    and don’t get me started on the dogs 🙂

  • emceeski

    They’re fitting ~10 bikes per parking space, and the going meter rate for a space is about $2-3/hr, so that’s about $0.25 an hour per bike? Finally, a use for my nickles in meters!

  • David D.

    That does seem like an ideal space for a motorcycle, but as you can see by the photo, it is a red curb. That is an unfortunate waste of curb space.

  • gneiss

    The curb space in front of Mission Cliffs wasn’t metered in the first place. I would be thrilled if they decided to put in meters on Harrison. That’s one of the neighborhoods, though, where ENUF has been quite active in preventing any meters from going in as I’m sure you’re aware.

  • Chris J.

    No, I’m talking about the danger of people in the road getting hit while entering or exiting the corral. A car can hit someone simply by driving in the lane as usual.

  • murphstahoe

    is this not true of someone getting out of their car?

  • Chris J.

    Related to this: one thing that irks me is the metal plates placed on many parking meters. It needlessly complicates bike parking. Since U-locks don’t fit around the plate, I often have to keep my bike lifted off the ground with my foot while locking to get the U-lock high enough. This isn’t so easy to do.

  • Chris J.

    I’ve been in both situations, and I feel more vulnerable in the bike corral situation. Maybe it’s because it takes longer, you extend further into the roadway, or you’re less maneuverable since you’ve got the bike with you. For example, when leaving a car, it’s easier to press up against the car if need be if you see another car coming.

  • Paris seem to have a bit of an issue sorting it out, with many scooters in the bike corals and many bikes in the scooter corals. I guess that sort of works.

  • BBnet3000

    This gets us to one of the many reasons bikes wouldnt be charged, the collection costs are too high for the revenue.

  • Kevin J

    Humoring your lunacy let’s SFMTA does start charging for parking (makes as much sense as raising Muni prices to give away parking so they might go for it) and we’ll end up with empty bike parking spaces and bike locked all over the sidewalk.

    It might not make any money, but the important thing is the SFMTA would taking away car parking.

    OMG, am I actually in agreement with Sebra! Let’s start pushing SFMTA to act on her idea and turn car parking into metered bike parking!

  • twinpeaks_sf

    They’ve been using them in SLO for awhile for their on-street and sidewalk bike parking. For the on-street installations, the bikes are partially lifted onto the sidewalk, with the lower half on the street pavement itself. Not the best use of space, IMO, but I like the rack design. They’re all over the Cal Poly campus too.

    (Photo courtesy: http://labikas.wordpress.com)

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Can’t be that, because there are plenty of motorcycle spaces at the price.

  • Jamison Wieser

    Not a problem, just take the parking on the other side of the light.

    Since San Franicsco has no shortage of parking, it won’t be a problem. If drivers like yourself feel there is a shortage of parking, you might want to consider parking less than 5 feet apart.

  • jonobate

    To be fair, SFMTA could help the situation by painting parking bays on the road.

  • Jamison Wieser

    And they would, if they happen to find a pot of funding under a rainbow. There’s been a lot of coverage of SFMTA charging corporate shuttles only a dollar, and it’s the same protectionist laws around parking (requiring voter approval for charging more than cost recovery) that prevent the SFMTA from tacking a couple percent extra to a residential parking permit in order to funding parking improvements.

    I asked a city worker (I think he was with planning) about where I have noticed lines painted in RPP areas and he said they try to do as much as they can while making other improvements. The examples I’d given him were because of nearby curb extensions.

    I have a feeling if you and I were to get a measure on the ballot adding 10% to the price of a residential permit to improve parking (which would raise the current $109 up to $119.90) we’d still be seeing ENUF/Sebra whining about being nickel and dimed.

  • This photo makes it look like there’s a surplus of “non-rack” space within the overall corral, which pretty much seems like it was designed for motorcycles?


  • Peak Racks Vertical Stagger rack: http://www.peakracks.com/rack-features/

  • Ryan from SFMTA here: for non-metered and non-marked car parking spaces on a block I use all excess space available (that’s too short in length for cars to park) to be used for a bike corral, so there’s no space left over to be used for anything else.

    For metered and marked spaces it’s a straight swap from car parking to bike parking with no changes to the length of the space.

  • Ryan from SFMTA here: aisles were placed along the 108-foot long corral so that regardless of which bike parking “slot” someone parks they won’t have to walk very far to access the sidewalk.

    Extra space was provided at the two ends of the corrals in case a car driver making a car parking maneuver encroached within the painted white box of the bike corral, so that the racks and parked bikes are less likely to be damaged.

    The three motorcycles parked in the center of the picture are parked in the catch basin area where we provided six feet of clearance on each side of the drainage grate (12 feet total), per recommendations by the PUC (Public Utilities Commission).

  • Ryan from SFMTA here: thanks for the tip! I will review data on where exactly these signs are installed and I will see about putting in more bike racks than may typically be installed since we generally consider parking meter (and sign) poles to be “de facto” bike parking, but not so much in this case.

  • Cool, thanks for the context! I guess I’d amend my suggestion to recommend that SFMTA generally consider proactively adding motorcycle spaces when a streetscape project is happening. I’m not sure if the data (motorcycle/scooter registrations, etc.) back me up, but if definitely seems like there are more riders out there these days. Shoehorning in between two parked cars (which often results in a knocked-over bike) or parking on the sidewalk (which sometimes results in a ticket) is never a rider’s first choice.

  • Chris J.

    Thanks so much for looking into this, Ryan. I also wonder how necessary the signs are or if they can be designed or placed in a way so as not to obstruct bike parking as much.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Thomas.

    If you know of any locations needing motorcycle parking please see http://www.sfmta.com/services/streets-sidewalks/installation-requests/request-motorcycle-street-parking and send in a request. Alternatively, you can call/email 311 or send an email directly to SFMTA at sustainable.streets@sfmta.com.

    Regarding Mission Cliffs, I’ll follow up with them to see if they want motorcycle parking stalls.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Chris. I’m checking in with our Meter Shop for more information. We’ll see what we can do.


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