SBBIKE backs easy-to-install, easy-to-study solution as start to revolutionizing bike parking in SB
The bike corral--it’s a bicycle parking solution that’s simple. A corral typically replaces only one or two car parking spots and easily allows for more than a dozen bikes to park and lock up. It’s easy to install, very affordable, and equally easy to watch and see how well it’s being used (as well as to take down if needs be).
With last month’s installation of a corral on Canon Perdido near Santa Barbara Street, the city is on a roll, and SBBIKE wants to corral that momentum and keep the ball rolling on the right path. “The first one’s working really well,” says executive director Ed France, noting the corral is good for businesses, convenient, and helps provide access.
Kim Anderson, part-owner of Handlebar Coffee, attests that cyclists are taking advantage of that access. “There’re always bikes out there,” she says, adding, “A lot of people commute.” Anderson says that customers seem pleased with the addition; “90 percent of people are for it and really positive.”
Handlebar was among the businesses in proximity to the corrals that joined together and asked the city for the corrals. “All the businesses around here fought for it,” says Anderson.
Getting this first corral implemented took some time (and shepherding the process through multiple committees) because it was setting a precedent, France notes. Now that the precedent is working, it’s time to get more of the same. “The bike coalition is currently working with local businesses,” promises France. “We’re throwing our support behind target areas where businesses unanimously support this type of bike parking.”
One spot being considered is Ortega and State, where bars and restaurants and their patrons would benefit from the improved access. The space is also the top edge of Tuesday’s popular downtown Farmers’ Market. Other prime spots are in the Funk Zone, areas that are slammed with bike traffic and have little sidewalk space.
SBBIKE is asking the city to consider working with local businesses to move on a few of these right away. Not only will implementing corrals in these locales help out businesses and improve access, it will make for a better, more accurate test period, allowing for more than just one site to be evaluated. According to Santa Barbara Public Work’s website, “The bike corral is a demonstration project to evaluate better access to the businesses in the area. It will be evaluated based on how well it is used and brought back to City committees to determine its effectiveness.”
The city will also ask corral users, business owners, and patrons for feedback to determine the corral(s)’ longevity. So if you’re behind the corrals, let your local representatives know.
“We’re helping take a good idea to fruition,” says France, noting the coalition’s support of the corrals is part of its comprehensive plan to improve cycling for all in Santa Barbara.
And the corrals are just the first step. Up next? Hitching posts and bike racks at private businesses and secured bike parking at the MTD Transit Center and at City College for starters.