Washington DC Bike Transit Center. Credit: KPG Design Studio.
It's not hard to find innovation in bike parking - lots of funky and functional designs are constantly being created for parking fixtures - the staples, rungs, and poles that help cyclists secure their bikes to something in hopes of avoiding theft. But what about cyclists that want more, more security, and more services, and are willing to pay? Innovative examples are fewer and further between, partly due to cost. We've found seven of the systems that deter theft and give cyclists peice of mind. And because you can park 6-10 bikes in one average car space, this parking helps local municipalities minimize cars and maximize bikes in city cores.
This somewhat overwrought YouTube video does give a great underground view of the Kasai Bicycle Parking structure. While it looks rather unassuming above ground, below the surface is a fantastic round tower with an intricate rotating spoked storage and retrieval system where bikes rest until their owners comes for pick ups. With that purely Japanese love for high-tech detailed practicality, the Kasai system allows a user to drop their bike and retrieve it in less than a minute.
Designed by the JFE Engineering Corporation, this version of a bike tree was created in order for JFE to diversify away from simply making steel (competition from China and Korea) to making valuable steel products. The Tokyo Kasai parking costs around $20 per month. Kasai can take 6,480 cycles on the tree when fully loaded. Impressive! Six other JFE projects are up and running, with various bike capacities, around Japan.
Credit: KPG Design Studio.
The best thing about this bicycle parking center is that is in the United States, and the nation's capital. Really! The bicycle lane on Pennsylvania Avenue and this secure 150-space bicycle parking structure are symbolically important in the U.S, where less than 2% of the populace are bicycle commuters. And hey, gotta keep up with rapidly up-cycling New Yorkers (236,000 daily bike commuters, and counting).
Conceived by KPG Design Studio, the DC Bike Transit Center is described by its creators as "something between a canopy and a building." A partially open structure takes advantage of passive airflow to help lessen the need to heat and cool inside the parking area. The parking is controlled by the non-profit organization Bike Station, and the facility includes a changing room, lockers, bike rental, bike repair and retail sales. Monthly parking is $12 plus a $20 membership fee annually. Bike Station has a handful of other facilities, mostly in California, including the Covina Bike Station.
This 522-space bicycle tower is currently more vision than reality. Commissioned by the city of Malmö in 2008, it was designed by urban planning and consulting firm UiD, but never built. UiD started with the idea that cyclists should be in close proximity to train and subway, but should not have to bring their bikes up and down ramps to get secure parking. The proposed bike tower would accommodate 522 bikes in three separate columns of bike slots.
One extra and enticing feature of the proposed tower was that it would let users communicate with the system via GPS in order to schedule a bike pick up, so that arriving cyclists would have bicycles immediately available. Sounds heavenly, let's hope UiD can recycle the idea to some other municipality.
What's impressive about the Ascobike 24-hour secure bicycle parking station in a suburb of São Paolo is both its low price for users (around $5 per month) and its complete lack of high tech frills. The parking is simply long white racks with hooks. This isn't so practical for the less able-bodied individual, but it does have the advantages of lower power usage and the ability to provide jobs that mechanized systems don't necesarily have. And capacity! $1,700 bicycles can park here daily.
There's never enough bike-parking in Amsterdam - even the unmonitored Central Station (pictured above), with its 7,000 spaces, is constantly full. So, for those cyclists willing to pay a bit extra for secure parking, MacBike has that pricesless advantage of locations - two main storage facilities at two of the main train stations. MacBike parking is no frills, and the user not only has to take the bike up and down stairstep ramps each time, but also find and retrieve his or her own bike. However, in a city where bike theft is still relatively high and bikes are frequently impounded, paying for parking might be necessary peace of mind. MacBike is planning a fancier facility with showers and a tune-up facility somewhere in the inner city, but hasn't yet started construction. MacBike also has bicycle rentals and hosts locations for the city's OP-Fiets bike share. Prices for parking is around $125 per year.
MacBike entrance. Credit: A. Streeter.
What used to be a parking lot is now a multi-modal transportation center with secure bike parking and showers in the basement. Credit: Nick Bastian via flickr.
This secure bike locking facility is a membership service located inside the Tempe Transportation Building, a green building that has a rooftop garden and uses around 50% less energy that similarly sized locations. The Bike Cellar's "commuter center" provides secure locking and access to showers for around 120 annually - your own locker will run around 36 more each year. Tempe has just around 160,000 residents, so it's amazing and laudable that a fairly small city is so fair ahead of most other U.S. burgs in supplying this kind of amenity to cyclists. As Tempe is also a hot and dry southwestern climate, the showers are well appreciated. Around 300 available spots through membership.
Last but not least is this very cool bicycle storage system showing up now in eight different Spanish cities. Biceberg has been around for awhile - the idea was patented back in 1994. What's excellent about the Biceberg, apart from the fact that it is secure parking, is that for cities, it can be implemented at various sizes, and with a fairly small amount of underground and above ground space. Storage for 23 bikes requires an hole of just 1.5 meters, while 92 bicycles takes a much deeper space of 5.25 meters.
Biceberg is also now promoting its B-igloo, which includes a big, white "igloo" above ground but also has the advantage of having optional photovoltaic collectors to help power the system. In addition, in the B-igloo, each user maintains an individual locker space, so storing helmets and other cargo is no problem. And, according to the company, users can retrieve bikes from the B-igloo in just 10 seconds.