Monday, November 26, 2012

Obstructed Bicycle Parking

Finding bicycle parking can sometimes be a challenge. In this city I live in, we are fortunate to find relatively convenient parking for bicycles in most of the places we happen to find ourselves; however, even with that convenience, I've noticed an array of other items blocking or locked to the bike racks in the area. Items such as double-wide child strollers, walkers, and even the occasional sleeping person.

Although I realize not much can be done about these things, and it's not a huge deal to have these items locked to or butted up against the bike parking, it becomes more of an issue when it's the only bike parking for quite some distance. One of my frequently visited places happens to be one of those locations with only one bicycle rack. Unfortunately, it's also a location that I often find no bike parking for various reasons. Sometimes it's because there are so many bikes in the center (which is great!), and other times it's for some other reason.
Approximately half (slightly less) of this bike parking is actually usable as it sits here.
Most recently, I arrived to discover the image above. Without warning, suddenly there was a bench pushed up next to the only bike parking, which I found a bit odd. While the bench wasn't locked to the bike rack and I could have moved it over, I know that the owners and workers in the establishment just behind the rack are aware that people frequently lock up to this spot. Since their shop is small and often requires people to wait for their appointment, I presumed that they needed additional waiting area. What I couldn't quite figure out is why it was necessary to nearly butt it up right next to the bike rack. At first, I just let it go, but then I decided to take a photo to share with others because I really wanted to know if other people have run into various items occupying bike parking.
After taking the photo, the following day I arrived with no bench at all in the walkway. Odd timing, I thought. Part of me wants to believe that they saw me taking the photos and thought they should remove it to avoid any issues, but the other part of me wonders why they wouldn't have simply moved it down and centered it more in front of their shop, rather than blocking parking for customers who frequent this center? This particular rack frequently has at least 3 bikes locked to it, and that definitely wouldn't be possible as it was sitting.

While I realize this instance is an easy fix, and had it been necessary, I could've moved the bench down to park/lock, I'm fascinated by how frequently this type of thing seems to happen in the locations I find myself. Have you noticed an increase in blocked or obstructed bike parking? Is bike parking relatively easy to find in your area or the places you frequent? I can't help but wonder if I'm the only one who runs into these odd situations.


  1. The Target I visit on the way home from work stores the excess shopping carts in the same corner as the bike parking. Frequently, only the first stand is usable, and I've seen bikes chained to a nearby bench because two bikes were already attached to the pole. I was surprised to discover that there were actually THREE bike poles there because the third one is almost always buried in the carts.

    1. I've heard of other locations where the bike racks seem to be the shopping cart parking spot, so I don't think you're alone, Melanie. It must've been strange to suddenly discover an extra bike rack though. :O) Here, Target is one of the few places where there is ample bike parking, and it's on both sides of the store. Oddly, there is rarely more than two bicycles parked on either side, but I'm definitely not going to complain as it's great to have so much of it.


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