An Effective Use of Space: Providing Bicycle Parking Along Cycle Tracks

by Mark Seinen, Planner at Alta Planning + Design

Barrier-separated cycle tracks are a great opportunity to add high-capacity bike parking in downtown areas. Here are some design strategies that have proven effective in Vancouver, BC.

(left) Begin with a two-way cycle track adjacent to motor vehicle parking. The space between the intersection and first vehicle space is effectively wasted. (right) Filling some of this space with a floating curb island calms motor vehicle traffic, provides a refuge for crossing pedestrians, and even protects parked cars. Here, a bioswale is provided for infiltration purposes.
Instead of landscaping, you can carve out an area for a bicycle corral in the middle of the curb island.
(left) In small installations, 3-racks are the obvious choice due to space constraints. Here, a jog in the cycle track at a T-junction opens up just enough space for a small bike corral. This corral takes up no more than one on-street parking space. (right) Once you have some space to work with, pick your favorite bike rack. In Vancouver, two versions are in place (3-rack and 5-rack). The 3-rack is based on the inverted-U “Bike Vancouver” rack that can be found elsewhere in the city. Assuming double-sided use, the 3-rack has a capacity of 6 bicycles and the 5-rack has a capacity of 10. Angling racks at 45 degrees is the most efficient use of limited bike corral space.
In small installations, 3-racks are the obvious choice due to space constraints. Here, a jog in the cycle track at a T-junction opens up just enough space for a small bike corral. This corral takes up no more than one on-street parking space.
Even when there is no parking next to the cycle track, there can still be space for a bike corral. Here, a 5’ wide bike corral is provided instead of adding width to the motor vehicles lanes. This is constrained relative to the 10’ corrals elsewhere in the city — reducing the ability to park two bikes per space — but still provides capacity for at least 20 bicycles.
Sometimes there is enough right-of-way to fit a bike corral between the cycle track and the sidewalk. Here, a mid-block jog in the curb line allows the cycle track to go straight, opening up space for a bike corral next to the sidewalk. This is the largest bike corral in Vancouver, with 30 racks (bicycle capacity = 60).
(left) Motor vehicle parking movements (such as reverses) should be considered carefully. Here, a flexible bollard is evidence of past collisions that have damaged the bike corral. (right) Sidewalk parking should also be provided next to the cycle track at key destinations.