Thanks to some warm winter weather and possibly to a bit of persuading on my end (by directing some emails to Street Furniture and to Councillor Vaughan's office), City staff have installed post and rings along Portland and Richmond next to the new Loblaws.
As I noted in the other post, Councillor Vaughan and Jennifer Chan of his office were quite helpful in pursuing the case of the missing bike parking to get it solved. Lisa Ing of Street Furniture was also helpful in spelling out the details of this location and the limitations of her office.
It's super that we now have some bike parking for Loblaws. Now what about the rest of the stores along that block on Queen? Short-term bike parking should be no more than 15 metres from the entrance of destinations, according to the Bicycles at Rest design guide. Are post and rings just not "aesthetic" enough to get installed there?
The "season" for installation of bike parking ends in the fall - it gets too difficult to install with lots of snow and the City ends its contract with the company that installs the bike rings. It is remarkable, then, that these post and rings appeared. Who installed them? There were plans in the works to install them but not until the spring. Did public pressure on City staff quicken that process?
Makes me think of what other locations we could identify. For instance, I recently explored and tweeted about the below-ground bike parking at the Loblaws at Church. Who knew about this bike parking - next to the garbage - way below ground? Who is going to bother go there when they just want to pick up a few groceries? Evidenced by the empty rack, apparently no one.
But even at the Church/Carleton Loblaws, according to whoever is tweeting for them there is a plan to install outdoor bike parking in March. It's not clear if its on Loblaws property or City.
If this is true, it's great. It just leaves me thinking that bike parking continues to be an after thought, getting installed long after the store is open and full of shoppers. Doesn't Toronto deserve a better plan for getting convenient and secure bike parking? Something akin to the same reverence we give to cars? Loblaws likely spent $25,000 for each car parking spot and maybe $50 for each bike parking spot, even though only a minority of people will actually drive to Loblaws. And to add insult to injury, cyclists and pedestrians going to the checkout at Loblaws will be asked if they want their parking validated? How about just some validation as an equal human being? How about those few people who drive pay for their own damn parking?
I'm happy about the new post and rings, don't get me wrong. But I keep getting reminded of how far we have to go to change our societal attitude about these things. Bikes shouldn't be an after thought, especially in places where about 1 in 5 people use their bikes to commute, shop, etc.