King Farmers' Market responds to bike parking demand with new bike racks
As we reported a few weeks ago, the overwhelming bike character of the new King Farmers' Market is a big factor in its success. The chemistry of the neighborhood--demographics and geography--worked together to create a well-attended market where bikes are the primary means for getting there and back. However, unanticipated demand for bike parking has been a challenge. There simply were not enough spaces. Without adequate parking it didn't take much to overwhelm all other options such as sign poles and fences. Biker frustration had the potential of staling the successful launch of the new market.
The Portland Farmers' Market and the Northeast Coallition of Neighborhoods (NECN), the two sponsor organizations, initially rented racks from BikeRacker. The rentals worked well, helping support the bike traffic during the critical incubation period of the market. But the weekly rental was not in the budget and not sustainable. NECN improvised for one week with a creative solution. They brought in an extension ladder and locked it between two sign posts, adding some locking spaces without costing anything.
Along with the ladder as a bike rack, the NECN table kept a donation coffee can for people to give cash directly toward the effort of acquiring new racks and paying for the previous weeks' rack rentals. In the mean time, an effort was made to work collectively with different organizations to find a more permanent solution to the parking problem. The word went out to various city organizations for assistance in attaining new racks.
Last week new racks arrived and they were ample in number! As of now there are 20 installed on the 7th Avenue sidewalk and within the King School grounds. According to the NECN, 30 are planned. Judging by the nicks and scratches and the occasional sticker on the racks, these were some that were saved from other locations within Portland. Quite possibly they are some of the downtown bus mall bike staples that were removed and replaced with gleaming stainless steel versions along the new MAX line.
Here are additional staple racks waiting to be installed!
Incredibly King School had practically no bike racks prior to this effort. I counted two original preexisting staples at the school and nothing else. Is this a problem elsewhere at other Portland Public Schools? The appalling lack of racks at King Elementary may be part of the reason for the swift response. But what about other schools? While there are a few bike racks at my daughter's nearby school, Sabin Elementary, there frequently is not enough space to provide convenient locking for all bikes.