- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Legitimate parking

What Japan, and Tokyo in particular, really needs is legitimate on-road parking space for bikes. All we need to do is knock out a few on-road car parking spots here and there, and install bike racks. You could fit at least six bikes in the space of one car. How is that for efficient use of space!

Here is one fabulous design that carries a positive message as well as being practical - although I would face the other way, so that cyclists didn't need to walk out into traffic to get their bikes, and so that cars do not knock over the bikes on the rack.

There is a fair bit of parking for bicycles in Japan around stations. However, this only caters for the regular bicycle commuter who rides his/her bike to the train station, and leaves it there. There is currently no reasonable options for anyone who (1) commutes irregularly, (2) commutes directly to the office (as there is generally no -zero- legitimate bicycle parking in downtown areas), or (3) wants to go anywhere else other than the station. Shopping malls and department stores, libraries are constantly faced with zillions of bicycles all over the footpath. Instead of tagging and impounding the bicycles, why not simply create legitimate on-street parking space? Removing a few car parking spots would seem to be a small price to pay for something that benefits all pedestrians and cyclists. Even drivers become pedestrians at their destination, so in this sense it helps the drivers too.

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