Friday, October 03, 2008

Crowded parking and true utility.

I had the need to visit the Oregon State University campus yesterday. As part of the plan, I was going to have lunch with Ray. He's the training manager for our program. I'll be forever grateful to Stacy for telling me about the motorcycle parking just off Monroe Street. Parking on campus can be problematic. You either need to buy a permit or park in a metered spot. The lot right in front of the building I visit is metered for an hour. Sometimes I push my luck on the meter. Last time I got caught the fine was $15.00.

The other option is to park off campus. 14th Street has two-hour meters. I often park there and walk several blocks. Right now, though, there's a bunch of road construction and rennovation going on. The parking area Stacy told me about is free and it's only about three blocks from headquarters. I'm grateful to the City of Corvallis for providing this for us riders.

Who would have thought that I'd have trouble finding a spot in a motorcycle-only area? After all, there's twenty spots! Arriving at 11:15 AM, I got the last one. Wow! Motorcycle commuting is alive and well in this neck of the woods. It was great to see.

Elvira's somewhere in the middle of the pack on the far end. When this space is full, it's kind of like a miniature bike show. You never know what you'll see. For example, here's a bike that is the epitome of utility. Pretty much all go and no show.

I don't think I've ever seen metal panniers on a sport bike, before!

I really don't know what to make of this. Personally, I'd never want to be seen on something so ratty. Does that mean I have really high standards and this rider doesn't? Or does it mean I have some hangups that this rider doesn't? The bike runs, obviously. There's no turn signals so the riding has to happen in the daylight. Which is okay for a daytime commuter. I find there's a blend of looking down on the rider and, at the same time, a little envy. How cool to be so secure that you could ride something totally for utilitarian purposes!

There could be a few more motorcycle parking spots. Right in the middle of the motorcycle parking is a spot reserved for bicycles. I took this photo and purposely didn't zoom in on the sign. I wanted to show the gap between the two groups of motorcycles.

I'm not a bicycle person. It just seems this place isn't really a good one to encourage bicycle parking. For one, I see no place to secure the bikes. I'm pretty sure most bicycle riders would want to be able to secure the bikes to something. Ok, I admit there's the sign pole. Visions of a really long chain for all the bikes float through my head. Wouldn't that be something to see? How about a hitching rail like you see in the Westerns for horses? Or rings in embedded in the street?

I've seen bike racks on campus. It also seems that this is kind of far away from most of the destinations. Farther down Monroe Street are bicycle racks on the edge of the sidewalk. A person on a bicycle would use the bike racks closer to the eateries.

Due to the small size of a bicycle, it would be easier to get the bike closer to the building where a person works or visits. With a motorcycle, you expect to park and walk a little. My suggestion would be to eliminate the bicycle parking and make more motorcycle spots here. Oh well.

Like I say, the good news is that two wheeled commuting is thriving. Of course, the first really heavy rain starts this weekend! It will be interesting to see what happens when the weather turns. If it's like most motorcycle parking areas, I won't have much problem finding a spot pretty soon!

Miles and smiles,



Stacy said...

To answer your question: once it starts raining, it's practically deserted. Sheer bliss for the diehards! :)

I broke down and bought a full year permit for $48. There's a motorcycle parking spot closer to my work, and now that I'm on "doggy duty" during lunch hours three days a week, the long walk to the free parking is just too long.

I've run into the guy who rides that rat bike on a couple occasions. He's a younger guy, probably a student. One thing that was interesting is that he keeps a cowboy hat in one of those panniers. The other thing is that he was surprised when I said that yes, all that gear is actually pretty comfortable to ride in. :)

I fully agree about getting rid of the bicycle parking. I've only seen one bicycle parked there in the last two years. Hmm... I wonder who I could talk to...

Anonymous said...

A side note on bicycle parking.
When I was in college (University of Manchester) I walked or rode the 2.5 miles each way into campus.

A tactic that thieves started to employ was to put their own D-Lock on a bike they wanted to steal.

The owner would return to find their bike double locked and could either stake the bike out to protect it from being stolen or leave and have it stolen when the thieves could return late at night with the right tools to break the owner's original lock.

I stopped riding after a couple friends had their expensive mountain bikes stolen this way.

Bryce said...

I have to keep reminding myself you're living in a normally damp climate; that is, heavy snow doesn't usually fall in your geographical area.
I saw the motorcycle parking and thought "come winter that strip of parking will disappear under a mountain of dirty snow, and will remain there until the spring thaw."

However consider yourself blessed because you can ride mostly year-round.

Here in the Province of Ontario that simply doesn't happen, we do get winter and with it some melting and freezing of the road surface. An inordinate amount of grit and salt is placed upon the roads. Not good for any form of transport wheeled or otherwise.

Richard Machida said...

I've walked by that bike parking area near OSU and it made me consider moving somewhere where year around riding was a possibility. We already have snow on the ground here and the bike is parked in the back of the garage until May. Sigh...

irondad said...

You're right! As I told you today when I saw you at OSU, the spots were empty today. It started raining pretty good and there were only three bikes including mine.

A cowboy hat, huh?

Steve L,
It never ceases to amaze me how much time and energy the lowlife population puts into finding new ways to prey on people.

Believe me, I do feel blessed to be able to ride all year. I still get tired of the rain, though!

Come on back, we'll leave a light on for you!

Take care,