Friday, November 6, 2009

New bike racks at Vienna Community Center

We were pleased to see 5 new inverted-U bike racks in front of the Vienna Community Center. We use that location for FABB meetings and the old grill rack there is not very good. Most people use the grill rack like a big U-rack, locking bikes on each end, which is about the only place for using a U-lock.

That's the good news. That bad news is that the racks were installed incorrectly. You can see from the photo above that the rack is placed too close to the wooden edging board. A properly parked bike will spill over into the landscaping bed. Why is it so difficult to install a bike rack? According to the Arlington County bike parking standards, there should be at least 24 inches of clearance.An earlier post includes photos of racks incorrectly installed at the City of Fairfax library and Southgate Community Center. The photo on the left shows the bike parking at the former office of the county bike coordinator. The new office has no visitor bike parking, although there is a new bike room for use by tenants.

One reason bike racks are installed incorrectly could be because the county has not implemented bicycle parking guidelines. The guidelines have been under development for two years; we expect to see the first draft any day now...

We're told that the Vienna Community Center racks can be moved without too much trouble. We hope so.

[Update Nov. 7, 12:50 p.m.] After speaking to Cathy Salgado, Vienna Parks Director, we've learned that the racks can easily be moved after a rack dedication ceremony later today. From the Town of Vienna News:
Memorial Will Honor Richard Black: The Town of Vienna will dedicate a bike rack and tree at the Vienna Community Center in honor of Richard Black, former Director of Parks and Recreation, at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 7. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

In addition, contributions are being accepted to help pay for the bike rack, which will have five loops with the custom Town of Vienna design on each end. It will be freestanding so it can be moved around as needed, much like the current rack on site. If you would like to donate, please make your check payable to the Town of Vienna and send to Cathy Salgado, c/o Town Hall, 127 Center St., S., Vienna, VA 22180.

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While on the topic of bike racks, here's the one in front of the Centreville Library...

Picture of rack:

My bike in said rack:

The material looks kinda like it matches the building, which puts it at over a decade old maybe. But seriously, I'm not sure this device is meant for parking bikes -- there's nothing on it to call a rack. U-locks can only secure a wheel, assuming they can reach at all. I assume it's meant for really agile cable locks that can reach the metal rings. And you have to be careful not to clip one of your spokes. Maybe it's designed for no-crime areas -- like rural Japan or something. I do see bikes just laid against the front glass door though, the bicycle parking not bothered with.
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