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Delmar Loop Lacks Proper Bike Parking

February 19, 2011 Bicycling, Planning & Design, Transportation 16 Comments
ABOVE:poorly supported & secured bike on Delmar in the East Loop

I’m a huge fan of on-street parking for automobiles, the stationary cars provide a nice barrier between passing cars and pedestrians. But in addition to providing parking for cars in the public right-of-way we should also provide parking for bicycles.  The person who cycles for transportation purposes (vs recreational rides) will find a way to secure their bikes, but often in less than ideal conditions.

A parking meter is a poor bike rack because it is too easy for a thief to lift the bike over the top.  Also meters do a lousy job of supporting the frame. Sign posts can work but often thieves will pull up the post to steal the bike.  Yesterday a friend came over to my loft and he brought his bike up rather than risk theft on the street due to a lack of bike racks.

The Delmar Loop is one of our best areas but the lack of bike parking is noticeable. It has only been 4-5 years since the stretch of Delmar East of Skinker was narrowed from four to two travel lanes to allow widened sidewalks.  There is plenty of room for bike racks, they just weren’t  a priority.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "16 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    In the continuum of things that make cycling as transportation difficult, a lack of specific bicycle parking facilities actually ranks pretty low on my list. Clueless and/or homicidal drivers (and the suicidal cyclists who flaunt the laws and piss off the drivers) and physical barriers, specifically the few bridges over highways, railroads and major waterways, are much bigger challenges. You can focus on bike racks, I'm going to focus on education, enforcement and improving the missing links.

    • I can no longer do the on-bike demonstrations, but I'm a trained on-road bicycling instructor, certified by the League of American Bicyclists. What non-cyclists, like yourself, see as challenges aren't as big a deal as parking. The “roof racker” that drives out to the country to do a century ride doesn't care about parking. The transportation cyclist who doesn't own a car needs to have convenient places to secure their vehicles as they visit various stores. Because their bike is their vehicle, they can't have it get stolen.

      • JZ71 says:

        I have to disagree with your characterization of me as a “non-cyclist” – I've commuted to work (admitedly, more in the past than now), and have done Moonlight Madness, Ride the Rockies and RAGBRAI, all twice – I probably have more miles under my butt than you do, I do know that I have more years and have reached higher speeds. For me, parking is a small challenge – a low-profile commuter bike and a U-lock work just fine, pretty much anywhere. I'm also both relatively comfortable riding in traffic, responsibly, and in identifying routes that avoid high-traffic areas – I have few problems figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. That said, I can tell a huge difference between driver attitudes here and in Colorado, and that impacts my sense of self-preservation. I'm not too worried that my bike might “get stolen”, I am worried about rednecks in their Super Duties and soccer moms in their minivans on their cell phones. All it takes is one idiot to do me in, and there are far too many on the roads around here. Plus, it doesn't help that one minority of cyclists continues to ride against traffic, while another minority blows thru stop signs and stop lights and wonders why they don't get any respect! It's a two-way street, folks, and there's way too much of “It's all about me” and too little mutual respect . . .

        • The dedicated transportation cyclist is very different than the recreational cyclist. The latter does commute, to get in more miles on the seat to prepare for events like RAGBRAI. The former bikes not just to work but to the grocery store, on dates, etc. They may not do as many total miles on the bike but they do fewer miles behind the wheel. The transportation cyclist has the right to use the public right-of-way just like other citizens.

          • JZ71 says:

            Agree that every “cyclist has the right to use the public right-of-way just like other citizens.” The challenge I see here is that too few know which rules apply and/or choose to ignore them. Like today's poll, how many cyclists feel compelled to, and actually do, stop at stop signs or stop lights?! If you want to be treated with respect, as another vehicle on the road, you need to act like one, not like a pedestrian, riding against traffic and on the sidewalk. You can't fly by vehicles stopped for a traffic signal, then flip then off when they pass by “too closely” 2 blocks later.

            As for the dedicated transportation cyclist part, the bigger challenge for me has never been retail parking, it's been on the employment side. I was fortunate to work for an employer for ten years that didn't exactly embrace cycling, but tolerated my passion. I was able to find secure parking, and business casual worked well enough for my morning, primarily downhill, morning commute. Public transit provided an alternate commuting method, and pool cars allowed me to make meetings outside the office during the day. Unfortunately, that's not the case today.

            Finally, I'm detecting a bias against recreational riders – many people preparing for events like RAGBRAI do commute to work and do run errands on the way home and on the weekends – which camp do they fall into? I agree that weekend trail riders who drive to the trailhead are recreational riders. But why dis them? People should ride because they want to. If they like it, they'll ride more. But throwing out a superior attitude does nothing to either encourage the casual rider to do more or to address the larger issue, that too many motorists simply don't respect any cyclist!

          • Guest says:

            Wow, I'm surprised JZ hasn't been crucified yet for having the temerity to suggest that “If you want to be treated with respect, as another vehicle on the road, you need to act like one, not like a pedestrian, riding against traffic and on the sidewalk. You can't fly by vehicles stopped for a traffic signal, then flip then off when they pass by “too closely” 2 blocks later.”

          • Alfred Fickensher says:

            WHOAH! Before this descends into a motorist vs bicyclist pissing match, let's settle one point:
            Despite what ever kind of asshole does whatever on his bicycle in traffic, the motorist is the one who MUST remain the adult because he is the one who has the deadly weapon within his control.

            If a bicyclist gets under your skin and you permit your anger to get the best of you for even a second, you're nothing better than stupid and potentially on the brink of becoming a felon. A dumb-ass move with an automobile can go awfully wrong in less than a split second, turning an intended threatening move into a killing move.

        • pro_stl says:

          So there aren't rednecks in super duties and soccer moms in their minivans on cell phones in Colorado? I am quite certain there are, although your point about varying levels of tolerance for cyclists is noted. However, I've had relatively few run ins with drivers and feel very comfortable riding in St. Louis. Most drivers give me extra room and I've been honked and yelled at a total of maybe 3 times in the past two years. And I ride at least 4 times a week most of the year. I'm either extraordinarily lucky, more considerate of drivers than most, or have found the best routes to avoid angry drivers. It's probably a combination of all three of those.

          As for law breaking cyclists, I can mostly agree with you there. I've seen some real scofflaws out there who will blow through stop signs and lights without a second thought. But as a cyclist yourself, I am sure you realize how absurd it would be for a cyclist to stop and dismount at each stop sign. Or just sit there at the front of a line of traffic at a stop light that requires a trigger. I think it's safer for cyclists to bend some of the rules a bit as to not upset the flow of traffic.

          • JZ71 says:

            There are a-holes and idiots everywhere. The fact that you've “been honked and yelled at a total of maybe 3 times in the past two years” may be acceptable to you, but it's too high for me – it's happened to me, as well, maybe 3 or 4 times in Colorado, but that was over 30 years, not 2.

            I also have no problem with cyclists bending the letter of the law – slowing to 5 mph at stop signs in light traffic, for instance – but I have a big problem when 4 lycra-clad cyclists thought it was OK to ignore an obviously-functioning traffic signal on Gravois last week or the idiot who was riding against traffic at 10 pm with no lights a month ago. Respect can only be earned, not given or legislated.

    • Justin Chick says:

      Having a place to safely park my bike is absolutely a priority to me. As a cyclist, I won't go to businesses or areas of the city that don't provide suitable bike parking.

      Not providing bike parking is a very bold way of stating that my kind isn't welcome.

  2. Cheryl says:

    For being one of America's Great Streets, it's very strange to have practically no bike parking.

  3. AN says:

    I'll bite. As a regular commuter cyclist (to pretty much anywhere I can get within 45 minutes to an hour), this is also at the bottom of my wish list. In lieu of anything better, I'll always go for a street sign or parking meter because that's part of the inherent beauty and ease of cycling for transportation. If we as cyclists have collectively reached the point where we all need separate changing facilities, bike garages and towel service, then that's a pretty sad state of affairs.

    Delmar may be dense, but it's a lousy place to ride a bike. You do well to be more concerned about the dangerous approaches on Skinker, from the east, and from Big Bend.

  4. Great Rivers Greenway is constructing a bicycle and pedestrian trail known as the Centennial Greenway that will connect into the Delmar Loop at Melville between Blueberry Hill and Smoothie King. The facility will be generally 14 ft wide and will connect from Kingsbury and Melville to approximately 400 ft north of Delmar. As part of this project, bike racks for approximately 22 bikes will be installed along the west side of Melville to help accomodate the need for bike parking of Washington University Residents in that area. In addition Bike racks will be installed on City owned property behind Fitz's to accomomdate 38 bikes. The project is under construction and scheduled to be completed this Spring.

    Also The Loop Business District is working with a fabricator, Engraphix to install creative bike racks for both the City of St. Louis section and the U. City section of the Delmar Loop. For example, the design for a rack in front of Blueberry Hill is in the shape of a musical note; in front of Miss Sugah's will be a coffee cup. These bike racks scheduled to be installed before the end of the year.

  5. ScottF says:

    I thought this seemed relevant to this discussion: This spring University City and Trailnet are starting to work together on a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for University City. Details:



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