Jenn Neilson and Vincent Gornall have launched Bike Parking Solutions Victoria. It will celebrate the new Save-On-Foods bike parking when it arrives. The group has created a survey that businesses and residents alike can fill out regarding their bike parking situation. It is designed to improve the bike parking situation in Victoria. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

VIDEO: Bike parking at a premium in Victoria

New group uses social media to improve accessibility for the region’s cyclists

With the increased number of cyclists in Victoria comes an increased demand for decent bike parking.

Victoria’s new bike lane network that makes it safer to bike downtown and the push by residents to reduce their carbon footprint are both contributing factors to the increased number of riders.

It’s visible in the number of bike racks, or bike parking spots, that are often full downtown.

READ MORE: Wharf Street bike lane, Humboldt Plaza set to open

A letter posted at the new Save-On-Foods on Pandora Avenue in August.

As a result, there is a new movement brewing to not only build awareness but also to improve the level of bike parking downtown. This summer the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition created a survey that has 284 respondents about bike parking. Most cite the scare of theft as a major deterrent from riding downtown, in conjunction with public, or unsecured bike parking.

Visit the survey, ‘Where do you park your bike downtown?,’ at gvcc.bc.ca.

Too often, the responses suggest the threat of bike theft and lack of secure parking keep people from cycling downtown, said Corey Burger of the GVCC.

“What people are also saying is that people who ride downtown for work often have access to workplace parking or safe parking for their bike, and people who don’t ride downtown for work don’t have a safe place to park downtown.”

A majority of respondents are also in favour of paid bike parking, considering it is secure, for about $1 to $2 per visit. This opens up a new discussion of converting two or three car parking spots in a parkade, or on the street, into secure parking.

“There’s not many things in life where you can take something and multiply it by 10,” Burger said. “You can convert two or three car spots in a parkade and create 20 to 30 secure bike spots.”

GVCC isn’t the only advocacy group to take up the bike parking cause this summer.

A different bike parking survey has been launched by a new Facebook group, Bike Parking Solutions – Victoria, led by a few cycling advocates including Vincent Gornall and Jenn Neilson. This survey is for businesses, residents and other organizations (visit this story online for a link), and by filling it out, you receive a score on how well your bike parking serves the public.

“It includes a checklist about what location the bike parking is in and what kind of bike parking it is,” Neilson said. “You can also submit extra information and a photo.”

Then, you’ll receive an email with a score that you can post in the window of your establishment to show what a great job you’re doing at bike parking, Neilson added.

“Or, it will recommend a simple solution to make your bike parking better. It’s usually a small, easy change to improve bike parking.

One of the best examples is the Save-On-Foods grocery store now open at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Vancouver Street. When it opened recently, a lot of people rejoiced for simple reasons, said Gornall.

It is on the way home, along the Pandora and (coming) Vancouver bike lane route and makes it easy to get groceries, he said.

But customers who showed up by bike soon found that while there is plenty of underground car parking there is little in the way of bike parking. Thus, they took to social media to share their findings. (Not to worry, a crew poured the cement foundation for 18 bike spots on Monday, and the rack is being installed this week, said store manager Roger Junker.)

In the meantime, despite the fact the City of Victoria supplied six double-sided bike racks on the sidewalk, they’re usually full. Hence, there are bikes attached to trees, just as there are in other parts of the town. It’s not good for the trees, Gornall noted, and it’s not safe.

READ ALSO: Residents seek protected bike lane to connect Victoria and Oak Bay

“We want to improve bike parking in Victoria,” Gornall said. “End-of-trip facilities are important to people. Quite often it’s a huge struggle to find good bike parking at organizations. We want to have a relentlessly positive campaign to encourage businesses to do better or celebrate businesses that are already doing a good job.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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