Sunday, August 23, 2009

City of Fairfax Regional Library bike racks

We finally had a chance yesterday to visit the City of Fairfax Regional Library that opened in 2008. It's one of the best libraries in the county, with an open feel, lots of internet workstations, and plenty of places to just hang out. It's located in the center of the City of Fairfax and many people access it by bike.

We were pleased to see several bike racks very conveniently located near the entrance to the building. Unfortunately they were installed incorrectly. The racks are known as hitch, hoop, or post racks. Bikes should be parked parallel to the hoop so that there are two contact points and a U lock can be used. As you can see from the photo on the right (black racks), if parked correctly, the three racks shown could hold perhaps 2 bikes. They are oriented the wrong way and were installed too close to the wall.

It's not the first time bike racks have been installed incorrectly; in fact it happens often. A very similar example is located at the Southgate Community Center in Reston (left photo, red racks). These two situations are one result of not having county bicycle parking standards.

Most local jurisdictions do have standards and have information on their websites regarding recommended rack types and installation information. Arlington County also has some bad examples of bike parking, and the first photo shows a hoop rack improperly installed. See the FABB Cyclist Resources page for more bike parking links. We want more bike parking, but it needs to be the right type and it should be installed correctly.

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