- 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.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Convenient Free Bicycle Parking and Rental

Here is the first installment of the series I have been promising on local initiatives to make life easier for non-drivers in Tokyo.

This first one is just a bicycle parking spot. I ride near it every morning, but did not notice until my wife pointed it out. This is exactly the kind of thing I had been saying that we need more of. This is a secure bicycle parking facility, connected to the subway station, protected from the weather, free, and they also rent out bicycles by the hour and by the day, including electric assist bicycles. Fantastic. Interestingly, not far from here is the valet bicycle parking area at the shopping centre that I have mentioned before. Between the hours of about 9am and 9pm, the bicycle parking area -free, and right in front of the entrance to the shopping centre, is guarded by a friendly assistant who will help you park and retrieve your bicycle - all for free. What a country!!

All the meanwhile my friends in their fancy BMW have to go back upstairs, pay their hefty fee, go down elevator into basement, find their car in the bowels of the building, and drive back up to ground level, where there is another attendant who makes them wait for the pedestrians to go past before they can get out, onto the road, and promptly get stuck in a traffic jam...

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