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Midtown needs bike parking

June 18, 2010 Bicycling, Midtown 6 Comments

Bike parking throughout our region is severely lacking. You can somewhat excuse the auto-centric edges for not having bike parking but in the urban core biking is more common and places to secure bikes are necessary.

ABOVE: Bike locked to lamp post on Washington at Grand

As midtown (aka Grand Center) becomes a more popular place to dine and shop seeing bikes locked to lamp posts, street signs and parking meters will become increasingly common.  Locking to a lamp post requires a long cable rather than a more common u-lock.  Bike racks need to be planned.

– Steve Patterson


The good and bad of St. Louis’ first Open Streets event

ABOVE: cyclists on Locust St.

This past Saturday I participated in the first of four planned “Open Streets” events in St. Louis.  I went from my loft at 16th & Locust to Forest Park.  Most doing the route were on bikes.  Some were jogging while others were walking, some pushing strollers.  I did the 10-mile round trip in my power wheelchair.

ABOVE: St. Louis Mayor Fracis Slay talks to participants at Olive & Lindell.
ABOVE: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (left) talks to participants at Olive & Lindell.

I had a good time, took 140 pictures and saw many people I know but I have mixed feelings about the event.

The Good:

  • Hundreds, if not more, participated in the event.
  • People got out and biked in the city, exploring areas they might not have seen otherwise.
  • People were active and physical.
  • I met and talked to strangers.

The Bad:

  • Reinforces the false notion that you can’t bike safely on urban streets with cars.
  • The city is off the hook for the poor condition of the sidewalks and a lack of accessibility.
  • Much of the route has very little traffic most weekends anyway.
  • Cars got through in too many places so it wasn’t truly car-free.
  • At Sarah & Lindell the traffic signal remained on it despite the fact cars had only one option. The signal should have been placed on a all red flash.
  • In the past such events led to the creation of pedestrian malls where cars are banned 24/7 and people usually stayed away as well.
ABOVE: Sidewalk along Locust St
ABOVE: Sidewalk along Locust St

The remaining three will be:

  • June 13, 2010
  • September 19, 2010
  • October 9, 2010

For more information see http://stlouis.missouri.org/open-streets/

– Steve Patterson


Even a simple bike rack confuses some

April 27, 2010 Bicycling 15 Comments
ABOVE: bike incorrectly locked to an inverted-U bike rack
ABOVE: bike incorrectly locked to an inverted-U bike rack

This bike should be parallel to the curb, not perpendicular.

– Steve Patterson


A bike I can ride?

When I moved downtown in November 2007 I brought two bicycles with me: an urban hybrid and my beloved orange Kronan:

I rode this bike once that Winter before my stroke in February 2008, since then it has served as art in my loft.

In May of 2009 I rode a friend’s tricycle:


The ride was very encouraging. I think I can balance a bike once again, but getting on  the trike required someone to help and involved tipping me over onto grass to get off the trike.  My orange bike is a one size fits all and the bar was always a challenge for me.  Sadly, I’ll never again ride that bike.  So I plan to sell it and my hybrid so I can buy this bike:

At first glance you might think this is a woman’s bike, but as more and more active adults seek ways to stay active bikes like this one from Biria’s EZ Boarding Series may help fill a void. Old ideas about what bikes men & women ride are going away.  I’d rather deal with snickers from a few rather than not be able to cycle. The nearest dealer is in Chicago so on my next visit I will take my helmet and schedule a test ride. Hopefully by this time next year you will see me tooling about downtown on this bike.

– Steve Patterson


Saint Louis University places event parking sign within bike lane

March 30, 2010 Bicycling, Midtown 17 Comments

Bike lanes in St. Louis just are not respected.  I’ve written before about valet signs being placed in them (Valets at Lush Block Bike Lane w/Sign) and about them getting re-striped to the point where it is useless (World’s Narrowest Bike Lane Located in St. Louis).  Now we have a major university joining others in ignoring the point of bike lanes: safety.

ABOVE: SLU parking sign placed within bike lane on Olive
ABOVE: SLU parking sign placed within bike lane on Olive, looking East

I spotted the sign after leaving a campus meeting last week. Two fellow students had biked to campus.

ABOVE: SLU parking sign placed within bike lane on Olive, looking West

We need everyone to realize bike lanes are not wasted space you are free to block.  They are used. Placing a sign in the lane presents a challenge to the cyclist.  The sign is off center so one might go to the street side to go around.  However, this places the cyclist close to passing vehicles. Going around the other direction is more off center but safer.  Cyclists often face last minute decisions about obstacles, but our institutions shouldn’t add to the list.

– Steve Patterson