Urban Detail (viii) bikes in the old town core

There are gazillions of bikes in European town centres (not so much in the car centric suburbs). Reducing clutter via bike parking becomes an important tool in keeping old town centres passable.

In this photo, the City of Bruges has provided a free underground parking garage in the old town. The illuminated sculpture bikes make the entry obvious. Note it is possible to ride your bike in or out of the facility, but there is also a little conveyor belt on each side for those who prefer to “escalator” their bikes. And it is free supervised parking.

Someday Ottawa may decide sidewalks are not for bike parking. Someday.

Here is an entrance to a different cycle garage, with conveyor belt access for the cyclist and the bike together. The little “hot dogs” have been added to the pavement to help direct the tires onto the belt and from hitting the handrail:

Fancy garage, surveilance … and free for 600 bikes:

Maybe the City could provide some safe indoor bike parking at the new Library?? And not via a circuitous detour through a designed-for-cars-only parking garage.

Mind, the Bruges City centre also had 3 free bus routes, both for locals and tourists. This helps keep cars out of the core, and allows for a few low traffic streets in a mostly pedestrian / cyclist zone downtown. The result? Quieter, stress-free walking, walking-business-conferences, cell phone calls that could be understood, people watching instead of traffic light watching …

The buses were small scale, not OC Transpo monsters, so they fit well in with the pedestrians.

In a modern apartment building just a few blocks outside the old city core about 10 car parking spaces have been converted to secure, covered individual bicycle parking garages for 40 people:

There was an election on in Belgium when I was there last fall. See the notice attached to the handlebars of this parked bike?

Instead of a door knob hanger, it was a handle-bar election pamphlet aimed at cyclists, who form a big enough portion of the electorate to be worth wooing:

Someday …

2 thoughts on “Urban Detail (viii) bikes in the old town core

  1. Is OC Transpo replacing their roaring monster bus fleet soon? I can’t imagine a quiet downtown before that happens.

    1. Many buses running through the downtown core will be removed with the opening of the LRT in a tunnel. Mayor Watson has repeatedly vowed that he isn’t removing OC Transpo from the streets just to replace them with STO buses, altho the STO routes will move from Wellington down to Albert-Slater, albeit with fewer stops and with the bus lanes removed as the blocks are slowly reconstructed with wider sidewalks a la Queen Street. If the Prince of Wales RR bridge could be reopened, then of course much of the excuse for downtown buses will be removed. Note that some OCT local routes will continue to use the downtown core – this leaves all the disruption of left turns, bus stop zones, etc in place but with many fewer of the actual bus vehicles than today.

Thank you for reading. So what do you think?