November 11, 2011

More on Bike Shelters

In a previous post I talked about how spending $30,000 on a bike shelter for 10 bikes was overkill. Since then, I’ve stalked various websites and hacked clicked a link to various press releases. According to a Lantern article, a total of $545,000 will be spent on 19 bike shelters. The locations of the first 10 shelters were indicated in this Consider Biking press release. I've mapped them below (yellow = 3 bike racks, blue = 5, green = 7):

View Columbus Proposed Bike Shelters in a larger map

Nothing awesome really pops out to me but I still cannot believe that we’re spending a lot of money on this. Phase 1 is $300,000 for 50 bike racks. The cost per bike rack calculates to about $6,000. I realize the cost also includes the price of a bike shelter, but come on! The roof doesn’t do much! And according to one source, the average cost of a bike rack is $150-$300. We paid a premium of 20 to 40 times for bike parking.

I’ve been hoping that this was a stealth move to a bike-share program as I could see some utility of having such a visible bike structure to attract attention to the program. Unfortunately, most bike-share programs appear to use a larger footprint than what the shelters offer.  This would also be the smallest program if you assume that it was even possible to fit two bicycles for bike-share per bicycle rack. Plus, it’d be silly to use “stealth moves” to start a program like that which needs community support.

City of Columbus, thank you for spending money on bicycles. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve done a lot.  But I hope that next time you will think of how the press and the citizens will see some expenditures. I can just imagine the next time that another bike route is proposed:

“Another bike project? Last time you did one you spent over $6,000 a bike rack and I don’t even see them filled! No thanks!”

Next time: How to plan a bike route

Cool video of the day:

(I know how to embed stuff!)

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