Park and stay awhile: Edmonton councillor calls for secure bike lots

Coun. Michael Walters wants to create a safer, more secure place for bicycle commuters to store their wheels while they're at work or school for the day.

Michael Walters says more bicycle parking would encourage people to bike to work

A bicycle locked to a city bike rack using a U-Lock. Coun. Michael Walters is asking city staff to look into designs for bike parking lots and possible partnerships with adjacent businesses, malls and schools (John Robertson/CBC)

Edmonton city councillor Michael Walters wants to create a safer, more secure place for bicycle commuters to store their wheels while they are at work or school.

Walters plans to raise a motion at council Tuesday, asking staff to study possibilities, options and different types of bike storage that could be provided to cyclists.

He thinks providing secure spots would encourage more people to commute by bike.

"We're making these investments in separate bike lanes and a quality bike grid," Walters said Monday.

"I think having parking spaces that really kind of relate to other modes of transportation, like the train particularly, are important."

Walters said other cities provide bike lockers or enclosed parking lots, similar to car parking, where users pay a fee to leave their wheels. In Calgary cyclists can pay $10 a month plus GST to park their bike in a secure lot.  

Walters suggests the city could partner with a business, university, a mall or club on the lots. Ideally the lot would be adjacent to an LRT station.

"You [would] have access to it and other people don't — people with bolt cutters. We want to keep those kinds of folks out of our bike parking lots."

Chris Chan, executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, supports the idea.

"Bike theft is a huge issue in Edmonton," he said. "A lot of people stopped biking because their bike has been stolen, or they don't start at all because they know they don't have any place secure to park their bike."

Chan said there are no secure spaces for bikes at park and ride stations and people aren't allowed to take their bikes on the LRT.

He thinks integrating bike parking with transit stations is a great idea.

Coun. Michael Walters says more bike parking would encourage people to bike to work (CBC)

"It would actually solve a lot of transit issues," he said.

Chan thinks downtown would be a priority area for installing secure bike parking.

Walters said he would like to explore areas around Century Park, Southgate Centre, and the University of Alberta's south campus.

Chan recommends locking bikes with a U-lock instead of a cable, which can be easily cut.

"A lot of bikes are stolen out of garages or backyards," he said.

He also recommends recording a bike's serial number to help get it back if it's stolen.

@natashariebe

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