With millions or billions of dollars going towards infrastructure improvements, bike parking could be one of the most economically stimulating of them all. There are two designs I will focus on here: a bike corral and a bike oasis.
A bike corral changes on-street parking from cars to bikes, by just adding a bike rack to lock on to, and possibly signage and markers to lower the risk of cars bumping into the racks. What was once 2 parking spaces for cars can become space to park 25 bikes; even two minivans can't hold that many people! The pros are numerous: with more people able to park in a small area, the nearby stores will get more business from customers that were able to bike to the store instead of paying all the costs of a car and parking on-street. The only cons are that street cleaning equipment such as street sweepers and snow plows cannot manage that area. But a shovel and a broom can handle those issues without too much hassle. According to the users in the video from Streetfilms, it also empowers more people to ride when there is equality in parking. Pedestrians should also love this because it means fewer bikes locked to sidewalk items like streetlights, trashcans, and parking meters. What other option could be so easy and cheap, and bring in more business for local shops?
The bike oasis is a similar type of parking design, but has a slightly different use and purpose. A bike oasis would be put in an area of extended curb, so that cars would be diverted away, but street cleaning equipment can still do its job. The bike oasis also includes a small roof structure to protect bikes, and can include maps of the area as well. This would be a bit more costly than a bike corral, but compare that to trying to add a new highway to deal with congestion and this is a drastically cheaper solution. A bike only uses about one-tenth of the amount of space as a car on the road, so why spend billions to expand our roads when we can just spend a small amount to accommodate for the small vehicles on the road that don't use any gas or have toxic smog-forming emissions?
Congratulations to Seattle for their Department of Transportation that is going to be installing several bike corrals. They just released a statement saying that every neighborhood will get one or two spaces converted for bike use, coming as soon as the middle of February. Read about Seattle's new on-street parking here >>. Imagine if more U.S. cities was able to hire more workers to change our streets for the better, stores could hire more people from increased sales, and 95% of Americans were able to buy a bike from the Making Work Pay tax cuts coming from the stimulus bill. Sounds like a great idea to me!