Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Valet Park That Schwinn for You, Sir?

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Valet Park That Schwinn for You, Sir?

Article excerpt

Columbus, Ohio, is trying a different tactic to keep cars out of its parks. Last summer as part of the city's "Get Green Columbus" initiative, the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks piloted a new bike parking service dubbed Pedal Instead. It's an effort to coax festival-goers to try cycling rather than driving to large downtown special events.

"By encouraging bicycling we're promoting active transportation and preventing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere," says Mark A. Young, the parks department's assistant director, who helped organize the service.

Fear of theft is one of the main reasons people don't commute by bike. For years, cities such as San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago have taken that worry out of the equation by creating "valet" bicycle parking corrals at special events. Folks who pedal to baseball games, concerts, and other downtown events can leave their wheels in secure, attended enclosures, confident that their bicycles will still be there when they return.

Inspired by these best practices, Columbus set out to re-create their successes on-thecheap, providing bike corrals for 12 city celebrations, including the Rose Festival, Jazz and Ribs Fest, and Festival Latino. For a few thousand dollars, park maintenance staff fabricated the sawhorse-style bike racks from tubular steel, and used temporary plastic fencing to surround the corral.

Agency staff provides labor for set-up and teardown, and the corral is staffed by volunteers from Consider Biking, a regional cycling advocacy group, and local corporations, who also donate banners and bottled water. …

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