Mar 10, 2011

Grass Roots Activism: A Bike Corral at 48th and Chicago

There is the beginning of a movement afoot to get an experimental bike corral installed at 48th and Chicago.

Although you can't tell from context, this is a photo of my Raleigh 3-Speed (aka "Old Clanky") and Molly's Breezer outside of Turtle Bread last summer. Although there are some bike racks at 48th and Chicago, generally speaking, the parking (for cars and bikes) is inadequate. We were locked up to a street sign this particular evening because the hitching-post racks at Turtle Bread were full, as was the wave rack across the street.

For those that are not familiar with bike corrals, these facilities claim one or two car parking spaces on the street. They are restricted for bike parking and can accommodate about 12 bikes in the space it takes to park one car. Assuming one person rides a bike to a commercial destination, and an average of two people travel by car to a commercial destination, that's a delta of 10 more customers per parking place.

We are in the very early stages of this project, but I am excited about it nonetheless. I end up at the intersection of 48th and Chicago for one reason or another almost daily, and I am most often on my bike, so a bike corral would be  the Cat's Pajama's for me. Unfortunately, I don't believe that one of these has been tried in Minneapolis yet.

If any reader has experience with bike corrals, or has thoughts on how to best implement this idea, please post a comment and let me know you thoughts.

We will change this world one parking space at a time.


  1. The bike haters will really hate this.

    I used to go to Parkway Hardware, usually on my bike. I would have liked a bike coral at those times, because they didn't have any good bike parking. Some times I used the bench, which probably pissed off the ice cream eaters. I'm sad the hardware store is going out of business.

    Did you ever go to the grocery store that was on the corner before Turtle Bread?

  2. The Birchwood Cafe in Seward got one of these in mid-2010 - it takes up one spot in front of the cafe (and the Nice Ride station takes up one or two more). I believe there are photos on the Birchwood's Facebook page.

  3. Talk to Tracy Singleton at Birchwood Cafe- she was the first to get on-street bike parking in the city. It wasn't easy, neither is getting on-street permits permits for Nice Ride. I work for Nice Ride and live in the neighborhood - happy to help if I can.

  4. Eric - you are right; I do remember seeing that Nice Ride set up at Birchwood last summer, thanks for the reminder. Mitch - thanks for the tip re: Birchwood and the offer of help. Stay tuned....

  5. Uptown had a number of bike corrals in the street back in the 1990s. If I recall correctly, they were wood planter boxes that were installed in the street and then an art bike rack inside of that. I believe the planter boxes got hit by cars a fair amount. I have always wondered what happened with that project and I heard that once it ended the bike racks went to a city lot for storage but ultimately got moved to the Convention Center and U of M. Not sure about that though. One was a big fish.

  6. There is a big fish bike rack at the U of M on the east end of the Washington Ave Bridge.

  7. Thanks, Thatcher and Jerry. These things have been used more in MPLS than I realized. The interest in this has been really great. MPLS Bike Alliance linked/shared this post and I've gotten a lot of very positive response in just a few days. Hopefully this will end up being implemented. Thanks to those that have passed on useful information or passed of offers to help via FB and/or email.