Bikeability

Bike Racks, Bikeability, Liveability, Walkability

Bike parking, plus one, plus one…

Mall CONCEPT Rendering ©James Corner Field Operations

Mall CONCEPT Rendering ©James Corner Field Operations

Huntco Arc racks on-site.

© Photo by: John Muggenborg

We’re proud to announce 86 of our stainless steel Arc bike racks are part of the Nicollet Mall revitalization in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We’re doubly proud to add that the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District have continued to install a few more Arc’s every month or so since 2016.


David Sokol of Architectural Record writes:

“Today, this downtown zone is being revitalized as a mixed-use neighborhood, and Minneapolis is again reshaping its urban fabric by implementing a redesign of the Nicollet Mall, led by the landscape architecture and urban-design firm James Corner Field Operations, with lighting by New York–based Tillotson Design Associates (TDA) and local expertise contributed by the notable Snow Kreilich Architects and landscape architect Coen+Partners.”


Read more and see images of our Arc racks here:

https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/14200-nicollet-mall-in-minneapolis

 

Bike Rooms, Bikeability, Custom Work, Liveability, Walkability

Bike Garages: Where to Park Your Bike, When Everyone Rides Their Bike

Welcome to Amsterdam!

If you read our blog, then you might already know that Amsterdam has some of the world’s best-designed bike infrastructure, which helps explain why over half of all commutes in the Dutch city are by bike. This has lots of benefits—less traffic congestion, better health, safer streets—but it also poses a surprising problem: where to put all those bikes when people aren’t riding them.

In residential neighborhoods, the solution is bike racks and corrals, often mounted on sidewalk bump-outs in quiet side streets.

Photo Credit:  Carl Alviani

Photo Credit: Carl Alviani

But what about places where everybody wants to park? When Amsterdammers take the train, go to the library, work in a big office park, or see a movie or concert, they often arrive by bike. At places this popular, a few racks won’t cut it.

Enter the underground bike garage. Most Dutch cities have a few of them; Amsterdam has over 20. To American ears, it might sound extreme to dig out a garage just for bikes, but it’s not really that different from the bike rooms that office and apartment buildings in the US increasingly offer. In both cases, the idea is simple: provide a safe, easily accessible, weather-protected place to park, and people are more likely to make biking a habit, and not take up so much expensive car parking. In the Netherlands, the logic (and benefits) are just scaled up to the city level.

Here’s one example of a gemeentelijke fietsenstallingen (municipal bike parking) garage. This one’s next to Paradiso, a legendary concert hall and nightclub located in a converted church next to the Singelgracht canal.

Photo Credit: Carl Alviani

A lot of thought goes into the design of garages like these, starting with getting in and out. Larger garages often have ramps or moving walkways, but this is a relatively small fietsenstallingen, so you take the stairs. Notice, though, that there are small channels on either side to roll your bike down.

On closer inspection, these turn out to be more than just ramps. The “downhill” channel on the right side is lined with stiff bristles that grip your bike tire and slow its decent. The “uphill” one is actually a tiny conveyor belt! — simply roll your bike onto the yellow strip, lock your brakes, and it automatically starts moving, carrying your bike up the steps while you walk alongside.

Photo Credit: Carl Alviani

Because space is at a premium, nearly all garages use double-decker parking, with an elevated row of racks that slide out and tilt down on a small pneumatic piston. This allows for incredible density: Amsterdam’s newest bike garage in the Strawinskylaan office district holds 3750 bikes, but fits underneath a road overpass.

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Most garages are staffed and guarded, and charge a (very small) fee for secure, overnight parking, which you pay with a debit or transit card upon check-out. The larger ones also offer bike repair stands, in case you need to make an adjustment or fix a flat before heading out.

And some of them are quite beautiful.

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Images:    domusweb.it

Images: domusweb.it

Interested in adding a little Dutch-style convenience to your office, residential, or municipal development? Our range of racks and furniture is extensive, and we customize for just about any situation.

Bikeability, Liveability, Quick Tips

No Bad Weather, Just Good Gear

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We all know this time of year brings plenty of cold, wet conditions to the Pacific Northwest. But that doesn’t have to mean putting the bike away until spring. From bike commuting to recreational riding, or even heading out for some last-minute holiday shopping on two wheels, anyone can enjoy winter cycling in less-than-ideal conditions, it’s just a matter of being prepared. Here are six winter gear essentials that every bicyclist should own.

We’re including a few examples of our favorites in each category. We’ve found that these pieces fit and perform well without breaking the bank, but there are plenty of options out there that will get the job done. (No one’s paying us to say this, we swear. We just really, really appreciate good gear.) We recommend always comparing products, reading customer reviews, and considering personal preference and individual needs when choosing gear—whether it’s for you or that die-hard cyclist on your list.

1. Versatile Base Layer

It’s easy to overdress for cold-weather riding, but our bodies produce plenty of warmth as soon as we start pedaling. The key to comfort is wearing layers that are waterproof, breathable and sweat-wicking. Choose a base layer made of Merino wool or any synthetic wicking fiber like polyester or nylon/spandex. Avoid cotton, it will soak up sweat and hold it next to the body. Check out the Gore Windstopper base layer. It’s a versatile and comfortable long-sleeve that does well to block wind and manage moisture. At around $80 it’s an excellent baselayer with an attractive price tag.

 

2. Waterproof Jacket

Again, you don’t need a lot of warmth from a cycling jacket. Focus on finding a lightweight shell that’s waterproof and breathable. You can always add an extra layer underneath for especially chilly days. Look for a jacket with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment, which makes water bead and roll off. The Double Century RTX jacket from Portland-based Showers Pass is a lightweight and super-functional shell with a drop hem in the back for extra protection.

 

3. Commuter-Friendly Pants

The easy solution here is to throw a pair of pullover rain pants on top of your standard everyday slacks—the Marmot PreCip Pant performs well for its minimal price tag of around $55. But affordable options can be ill-fitting and not durable, making them prone to catching, tearing or wearing through. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Arc’teryx A2B Chino and the Coalatree Trailhead Pant are solid entries in the multi-function pant category. Both offer flexibility with a water-repellent finish, and look just enough like your business-casual slacks to fit right in at the office or coffee shop.

 

4. Biking Gloves

Hands don’t benefit from all that body heat that the legs and torso get from pedaling, so a good set of gloves is one of the most important pieces of gear for a safe and enjoyable winter ride. Look for gloves that are waterproof, or at least water-repellent. Durable materials like leather on the palms add protection in case of a wipeout, and silicone details on the fingers and palms can give you a secure grip even in the rain. Sealskinz Dragon Eye Gloves are durable and close-fitting, with great dexterity for a range of activities.

 

5. Fenders

Bike fenders have come a long way from the rattling chrome monstrosities of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Most fit easily onto virtually any bike frame, and can be quickly attached and removed depending on the weather. Of course, fenders block water from spraying up onto the rider, but more importantly they can prevent mud, sticks and other debris from launching into bike wheels and drivetrains, which can prevent accidents and save on repair costs in the long run. Planet Bike’s Cascadia fenders are a solid choice for full-fender coverage, and the SKS Xtra-Dry is a surprisingly-effective rear mudguard that attaches in a snap and retails for under $20.

 

6. Bike Lights

Powerful, dependable lights are a good idea to carry any time of year. But that’s especially true in the winter months, when daylight hours are limited and rain reduces visibility even further. Whether you’re riding on city streets or rural roads, it’s important to consider not only how well you can see, but how well you can be seen. Consider how long, how often, and in what setting you’ll do most of your night riding, and look for a set of lights that fits your needs. Serfas offers a wide selection from permanent-mounts to quick-release and everything in between. The Blackburn 2-Fer Combo light is USB rechargeable and keeps you visible to other riders and drivers. Each light is interchangeable, with toggling headlight and taillight settings and a quick-release clip. Versatility and a modest price tag make the 2-Fer a great entry-level option.

 

These are just a few examples of the quality winter-weather cycling products available. Hopefully this list provides some insight and a solid place to start your search. Experiment with what works best for you. Consider function and price point. Most importantly‚ enjoy the ride!

 

Bike Racks, Bike Sharing, Custom Work, Walkability, Bikeability, Liveability

Sustainability That Looks as Good as It Feels

Karl Miller Center

Portland State University just celebrated the grand opening of the Karl Miller Center, a state-of-the art facility featuring a bright, open atrium. This eye-catching building is a campus jewel, so the bike racks slated for installation right outside need to look the part. 

 

Clint Culpepper, the Bicycle Program Coordinator at PSU, could have purchased brand new racks to install, but utilizing refurbished bike racks better aligns with the university’s focus on sustainability. “Nothing would make me feel worse than turning a bunch of bike racks that were totally usable and serviceable into metal recycling just to buy brand new ones,” he said. Last year Clint enlisted the services of Huntco Site Furnishings to transform dozens of old, beat up staple racks into freshly painted bike corrals, and he decided it was time to refurbish a second batch.

From Clint’s perspective, the hardest part of the process is ensuring there is adequate capacity for bike parking while the old racks are removed and refreshed. The rest is as easy as making a phone call. Huntco picks up piles of assorted staple racks, sorts them, and welds matching racks onto sets of rails to make bike corrals. Fresh powder coating is applied and then the corrals are delivered back to PSU, looking good as new and ready for installation.

 

The updated bike corrals don’t just benefit campus cyclists. “Everyone on campus likes it when the bike racks look nice,” Clint reports. Not every user of a building wants to have a bike rack sitting right outside the front door, but there’s less resistance when the racks look good. So when the next batch of refurbished racks is delivered in a few weeks, rest assured that the Karl Miller Center will get the dazzling accessories it deserves.

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All Photos:  Thomas Teal 

 

Bike Racks, Bikeability, Liveability, Walkability

More Ideas from France: How to Turn an Orphaned Lot into a Neighborhood Treasure

Every city has orphaned lots: those islands of land stranded by an unfortunate intersection, too small or oddly-shaped to build on. But while some linger as undignified patches of asphalt or concrete, others become true neighborhood amenities, often because of smart use of street furniture and bike infrastructure.

Here in the US where uniform grids reign supreme, a triangular plot of land is pretty rare. But in European cities, defined by centuries of overlapping urban design, they’re everywhere. Lille, a city in northern France that we’ve written about before, is no exception. Here’s one cut-off triangle, in the working-class Moulins neighborhood:

Moulins_Neighborhood_Overhead_view.jpg

What potential do you see in that little triangle? A park? A bikeshare station? A patch of calm in the urban fabric that draws people together? How about all three?

Here’s what it looks like at ground level:

This little scrap of land, it turns out, has a lot going on: shaded benches, a line of bike racks, a heavily-used bikeshare station, and a perimeter of bollards to protect the whole thing. What could’ve been an urban afterthought is, instead, a neighborhood gathering point, serving commuters in the morning and evening, and friends and families in the afternoon and evening.

 

It also makes nearby outdoor seating much more attractive—here’s a mid-morning view from “Le Triporteur”, a restaurant/cafe across the street:

By 7pm, that patch of sidewalk will be packed with local residents, eating frites and drinking Belgian beer, despite heavy traffic on the major avenue right out front.

It’s a scene replicated all over town, and in countless other European cities: find an orphaned bit of land, protect it from traffic, add features that invite bikers and pedestrians, and you quickly have a little slice of community, that entices people outside and into local businesses.

 

 

Here’s another example, along Rue Solferino, a busy street about a mile away:

What was just a strip too narrow to build on instead becomes a lovely, bollard-protected public square, enhanced by trees, art, and seating for a facing cafe

Obviously, there’s more to these wonderful public spaces than just some bollards and a couple of benches, but they couldn’t exist without them. Infrastructure does more than just provide a place to sit. It also defines a space and lays a foundation. And what these tiny parks—and thousands of others like them—clearly show, is that once that foundation is laid, amazing things can happen in the most neglected places.

 

Bike Racks, Bikeability, Liveability

Bike Parking App: Snap a Rack, Build a Map

Rack Locator

Rack Locator

Nathaniel Burnett, cycling enthusiast and founder of The Bicycle Parking Project, hopes that his app will eliminate one excuse people have for not riding their bikes. The app utilizes both external data sources and user-generated content to create a map of existing bike racks. Users can plan ahead or instantly locate bike parking near their destination without scrambling to find a secure rack on foot.

Publicly available data from many metropolitan areas including New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have already been imported into the app, populating several thousand bike racks per city. App users have occasionally supplied city data, too. A cyclist in Omaha, Nebraska, wanted local racks to be included on the map. He contacted the city to request the required information and forwarded the resulting data file to Nathaniel. Omaha’s bike racks were on the map later that same day.

 

Users can add individual bike racks by quickly snapping and submitting a photo through the app. The new location marker and corresponding photo detail is displayed in real time, though Nathaniel monitors all submissions and deletes any that aren’t legitimate. User-added rack locations have popped up across the globe, including cities in Europe, India, Australia, and South America. Users can also report location markers where the rack is missing, typically due to an error in the data file.

DIY Rack Mapping

DIY Rack Mapping

Adding the rack photo to the map

Adding the rack photo to the map

A pin indicates the rack has been added

A pin indicates the rack has been added

Before creating his own, Nathaniel tried using another bike parking app. He was disappointed that the new racks he submitted were never incorporated into the map and wanted his version to empower fellow cyclists to actively develop this community resource. The more users interact with the app, the more refined and helpful the map will become.

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For cyclists who don’t need help finding parking, the app has one additional tool: it allows users to drop a pin to mark the location of their bike. In areas where bike racks are prevalent or in unfamiliar neighborhoods, this feature ensures riders don’t forget where they parked.

The Bicycle Parking Project app is available for both iOS and Android. While the number of downloads is still in the thousands, the positive feedback Nathaniel has received from users encourages him to continue the work. As the map becomes more comprehensive in local areas, it may also become a resource that city officials and business owners utilize to identify where there is an absence of bicycle parking.

Header Image Courtesy CC: Diane Yee

 

Bikeability, Liveability, Walkability

Plan for Pedestrian and Bicycle Green Loop Unveiled at Design Week Portland

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Image: Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

According to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan published last year, the city of Portland is expected to grow by 260,000 people in the next two decades. As any Portland resident will tell you, the current infrastructure does not support the transportation needs of today’s population, let alone this anticipated spike. To accommodate such rapid growth, the Comprehensive Plan advocates for solutions that will make Portland a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly city, by both increasing access to active transportation and rethinking how neighborhoods are developed.

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One of the proposed projects is construction of a six-mile pedestrian and bicycle “green loop” that will connect the inner east and west sides of Portland. The John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape partnered with Design Week Portland to solicit creative proposals to conceptualize and design the loop. The winner of the competition, Untitled Studio, not only imagined an ecofriendly, multi-use transportation path but also introduced a collaborative process as the means to design it.

Last month at Design Week Portland Headquarters, Untitled Studio revealed their vision for “Portland’s Living Loop.” The exhibit generated excitement for the project and included opportunities for audience engagement, mirroring the participatory process that will inform the green loop’s development in the years ahead. Though the loop will serve as a critical pedestrian and bicycle route across the city, Untitled Studio also positioned it as a destination and center of community. According to their model, the loop is divided into four lanes, corresponding to the Central City, District, Neighborhood, and Block. The purpose and design of each lane is decided by the people represented by the lane, from the city as a whole down to the individuals, families and businesses that reside along a particular block.

Image: Untitled Studios

Images from Untitled Studio's green loop proposal, view the full proposal here.

 

The possibilities for what the green loop could become are endless. Could the neighborhood benefit from an outdoor fitness space with fixtures installed for exercise? Would an urban garden plot be advantageous for a particular block or do businesses need space to install dedicated bike parking? Does the district want a central space for the community to gather, with ample benches for seating and trees for shade on hot summer days? According to the model, any of these options–and so many more–could be incorporated into the loop alongside the transportation paths.

Image from Untitled Studio's green loop proposal, view the full proposal here.

 

Civic projects of this scale are often dictated by the local government. Untitled Studio proposed this four-lane model as a way to engage the residents of Portland and ensure that the people who are most affected by construction of the loop are entitled to contribute to its design. Neighborhoods might hold town hall meetings or survey residents to identify solutions that best serve their community. Individuals and businesses on a single block might organize a potluck to meet each other and brainstorm ideas for their lane of the loop.

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Image: Design Week Portland, community feedback wall, via Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

 

How this participatory model of design will translate from vision to reality is uncertain. Construction of the green loop will take place in stages as funding is secured, with a few key portions already completed (Tilikum Crossing) or in development. Yet if this process is successfully implemented, it could become a model for numerous other pedestrian and bicycle greenway projects that are slated for development in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

 

View the green loop presentation here

 

Bike Racks, Bike Rooms, Bike Theft, Custom Work, Liveability, Bikeability

The Peloton Apartments: Helping a Bike-Themed Building Live Up to its Name

(Image courtesy peloton Apartments)

(Image courtesy peloton Apartments)

When the name of your apartment complex is Peloton, you pretty much have to get the bike amenities right. And the Peloton Apartments, recently completed on a rapidly growing stretch of North Williams Avenue in Portland, does not disappoint.

For the non-bike-nerds out there, a peloton is a group of cyclists riding in tight formation, to reduce air drag during a race or group ride. It might seem like an odd name for a brand new, somewhat luxurious housing development whose tenants are more likely to be programmers than bike mechanics, but this is Portland after all, and the bike-friendly lifestyle takes all kinds. It helps that the Peloton’s three buildings are flanked on either side by two of the busiest bike routes in the city: in warmer months, rush hour traffic on North Williams and its southbound sister North Vancouver is upwards of 40% bicycles.

Santoprene protects on the Burnside racks.

Santoprene protects on the Burnside racks.

So in addition to three rooftop decks and some beautifully tricked-out common areas, the Peloton also serves as a kind of showcase of great bike amenities. There’s a whole ground-level bike parking area in the main building, equipped with dozens of Huntco’s Burnside staple racks, their elegant rectangular tubing softened on the edges with Santoprene bumpers, to protect delicate paint jobs. And set back from the woonerf that divides the complex (a delightful Dutch-style alleyway, accessible to the public) is a protected bike room with more than 200 Huntco Hawthorne wall-mounted racks, perfect for that second (or third) bike you don’t use quite as often.

BV-1 bike lockers and Burnside racks

BV-1 bike lockers and Burnside racks

Banking on the idea that several tenants will have bikes that they treasure and pamper, there’s an in-building Bike Club room with bench-mounted repair stands and a variety tools, and 10 gorgeous, mint-colored BV-1 bike lockers. Between these amenities, even the most road-obsessed tenant is going to feel well taken care of — an unusual value proposition for an apartment building.

 

The net effect of all these amenities, so thoughtfully installed, is a sense that this is a place that really means what it says. There are plenty of new apartment buildings using bike-centric imagery or messaging to sound more current, or more eco-friendly, but for anyone really making a go of active transportation as a daily habit, this kind of infrastructure is more than just a nice afterthought — it’s a game changer.