City Beat

Sacramento plans to install 10 bike corrals

No. 25: America's Best Bike Cities -- Based on hard data and the opinions of local advocates, Bicycling Magazine ranked Sacramento 25th of the top 50 bike friendly cities.
No. 25: America's Best Bike Cities -- Based on hard data and the opinions of local advocates, Bicycling Magazine ranked Sacramento 25th of the top 50 bike friendly cities. The Sacramento Bee

Seeking to follow the lead of bicycle-friendly cities like Portland and San Francisco, Sacramento is planning to install bike corrals in front of 10 businesses.

Nearly all of the planned corrals – in which automobile parking spaces are turned into miniature lots with room for 10 to 12 bikes – will be in the central city. The City Council is expected Tuesday to approve a plan to install the corrals and work with business and property owners on future locations.

The first phase of the program will simply formalize temporary bike corrals already in place. Those enclosures stand in front of Insight Coffee Roasters on Eighth Street near Southside Park and the Pangaea Two Brews Cafe on Franklin Boulevard near Curtis Park. Those corrals have been used for several months without any negative issues, city officials said.

Two more corrals will be constructed as early as next week. Those spots will be set up in front of the Ginger Elizabeth chocolate shop on L Street in midtown and at the intersection where 32nd Street, N Street and Folsom Boulevard meet in east Sacramento.

The city will not have to remove parking spaces for either of those corrals. The Ginger Elizabeth spot has been cut off to cars due to a large tree branch that hangs over the area and city transportation officials have already blocked off a slice of the intersection on Folsom Boulevard in an attempt to “calm” traffic along that busy thoroughfare.

After that, the city has identified six more locations where business owners have requested corrals. The spots include three spaces on R Street, two more on the block of 20th Street between J and K streets, and a space in front of the 24-Hour Fitness downtown on Seventh Street.

City officials think that’s just the start.

“I think what you’re going to hear is that people will want to do one in Oak Park, North Sacramento, Natomas, the Pocket,” said Councilman Steve Cohn, who added he’d like to see the third batch of corrals installed quickly. “If the demand isn’t as great as we think, we can slow it down. But I suspect there will be a lot of other locations where people are interested in trying it out.”

Jim Brown, executive director of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, said the city’s list “is definitely a good start” and that he’d like to see even more corrals. As the program expands, Brown said the city will want to explore neighborhoods with destination spots and streets that are accessible to bicycle traffic.

“If you figure out where people want to go and think backwards, that’s where you want to place the corrals,” he said. “You want to make sure that you’re going to get the most out of your investment.”

Ed Cox, a program analyst with the city’s Department of Public Works, said the corrals cost the city roughly $3,000 apiece to install. The city has $19,675 available for the enclosures through a grant it received from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

That leaves the city $10,000 short of the cash it needs to set up all 10 corrals it has proposed. But Cox said he is exploring other city funds and businesses may be interested in financing corrals with private funds.

Cox said the city is not overly concerned about the loss in parking revenue that will result from replacing parking spaces with the corrals. City officials and other supporters of the enclosures said businesses near the corrals will see a boost in customers by having better bike parking options nearby.

Developer Bay Miry, whose projects in the central city include housing and restaurants on R Street and a six-story high-end apartment building under construction at 16th and P streets, said the corrals increase visibility at businesses.

He cited Portland as a success story. That city has nearly 100 bike corrals and a study conducted there showed the bike parking areas have led to significant boosts in foot and bike traffic, as well as “street identity.”

“It promotes people slowing down a little and noticing the character and businesses we have around instead of zipping through, trying to get to someplace else as fast as possible,” he said.

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