The Auckland Experience
In this blog post, Matt Cole, a Bikes Welcome Local Champion shares bike parking lessons from Auckland. Matt started off tackling the bike parking challenges at his home apartment/retail complex and has used those learnings to help improve bike parking more broadly. By sharing what he has learned, Matt is hoping other individuals and organisations in New Zealand can make in-roads in improving the quality and provision of bike parking. Read how great people are working together for better bike parking in Auckland.
The core bicycle parking team in Auckland includes Bikes Welcome, Bike Auckland and Auckland Transport. With clear goals, process and plans to deliver, bicycle parking is improving across the City and supporting Public Transport stations and terminals.
In Auckland, Bikes Welcome have provided a service now widely used by Auckland Cyclists at: www.bikeswelcome.org/aklr where Bike Parking can be requested. It also allows cyclists to see where others have already put in requests.
Don’t forget public transport!
Looking beyond the immediate City streetscapes, it is vital to support public transport stations and terminals with quality bike parking. This helps promote multi-modal transport, where a journey can be started by bicycle and finished by rail, bus or ferry – or, of course, vice versa. This enables passengers who don’t live within walking distance of the station but do live within biking distance to give public transport a go.
The chart for Auckland below tells us that we have not yet hit the mark. The Blue line shows what is available. The Red line shows how little it is being used. On looking closer we found the majority need was to park for over 3 hours, often up to 6 – 9 hours. Obvious really, many are using the facilities as a home for the bicycle whilst they are at work, or away for the day. However, the facilities available in June 2018 when the survey was completed are suited to short-term use for the casual user who needs to park for up to 3 hours.
If you look closely you can see the station / terminal name and type and then a few strange letters. Those tell us whether the facilities are considered as Red – Amber – Green / Performing – Developing – Unrated. The more (G)reen / (P)erforming the better, from (R)ed / (U)nrated.
What have we learned so far?
Bicycle parking is essential to support uptake in cycling and to make the streets safer for pedestrians and motorists. It is easy to get it wrong and requires a focused team with energy and a great deal of public support to get it right.
Getting it right
Good bicycle parking provides a great standard of facility, in the right location and it is heavily used. Or it has been well placed knowing that future development will see it being well used.
Poor bicycle parking is equally easy to spot. Here the facilities are often of a type that makes it impossible to secure both the frame and wheels to the stand. The worst, so called wheel benders, will happily break your bicycle. They are usually not located well or well sign posted. As a consequence, they are seldom used and just add to unnecessary street clutter. They need to be replaced with good bicycle parking or be removed.
What works and what does not?
It’s not just about the bicycle parking facility. Safe bicycle access to and from the location is a key factor. As are, local way finding signs and clear on-line maps showing what is where. For Public Transport, clear signage within the station/terminal is important to. Poor facilities, poor/absent signs and inappropriate facilities do not work.
What makes for good bicycle parking?
Simple: somewhere to leave your bicycle where you can have confidence it will be there in good order when you return.
The characteristics of good bike parking differ according to how long you will be leaving your bike there.
Short-stay bike parking
This is the type of parking you might use when just popping into a shop or restaurant. It is suitable for securing the bicycle for up to 3 hours.
The Auckland team have determined the following requirements for good short-term parking:
- Secure bicycle stands, allowing frame and both wheels to be easily secured to the stand;
- Located for great access and good passive security;
- Inverted U, or Sheffield Design, stands spaced at 1.2 to 1.4m apart allowing easy bicycle access;
- Brushed stainless steel (grade 316) with mid-bar and tapping rail to cater for our maritime environment;
- Ease of use for all types of bicycle and cyclist physical ability levels;
- Protected from motor vehicle access;
- Clearly signed with local way-finding signs and a City cycle parking map; and
- Chosen to fit in with the local environment, improving amenity and safety for all.
Long-stay bike parking
This is what you need when the bicycle is going to be there for a while, whilst you are at work or away for the day. It is suitable for securing the bicycle for 3 to 9 hours or more.
The Auckland team have determined the following characteristics of good long-term parking include all of the short-term criteria plus a few more;
- Cover for weather protection;
- Excellent lighting for all hours use;
- Physical security, such as a cage or hangar, where bicycles are secured away from thieves;
- Active security monitoring such as closed-circuit television (CCTV);
- On the rounds of local security teams where available.
The Auckland team have established an effective set of goals, a measured process and plans to deliver them – variations may work for other major cities:
(1) Providing great bicycle parking facilities – we know what needs to be in place and we are working to deliver it, your requests help to prioritise your needs;
(2) Provide bicycle parking at all Public Transport Stations / Terminals;
(3) Draw upon International Best Practice and Measures; and
(4) Support greater bicycle user interaction, including on-line / mobile app maps.
We look forward to seeing:
- your bicycle parking requests,
- the new facilities delivered,
- the public transport stations hitting status Green / Performing, and
- the bicycle facilities whether they be short-term or long-term in good levels of use – goal occupancy is set at 50 – 85% of available capacity.
So where to next?
Bikes Welcome are keen to see collaboration with other cities and groups to share best practice examples from Auckland, Christchuch and Wellington across New Zealand. We want to facilitate better access to information about what makes good bike parking. To that end we will be supporting development and sharing best practice guidelines, and will continue to proactively seek and share the best bike parking lessons learned across New Zealand and the world.
What can you do?
To get better bike parking where it is needed we need your help and support. Firstly to let your local council know where you need what type of bicycle parking and where poor bicycle parking needs to be replaced. For Auckland, you can let us know here: www.bikeswelcome.org/aklr by entering your request for bicycle parking at your favourite locations. For other cities check out the local info tab.
If you have a great experience or insight to share, we would love to hear from you, you may wish to become a Local Champion for your area. You can contact us via Bikes Welcome at www.bikeswelcome.org.
Image Credits: Graphs – Matt Cole, Secure Cycle Storage at University of Canturbury – John Lieswyn, Sheffield Stands in Use by Lockit-Safe.co.uk, Secure Bicycle Parking Cage in Use at PT Station by SoundTransit.org, Example Bike Hangar Use by CycleHoop.com. How to lock your bike from San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Words by Matt Cole