This morning I encountered an article in BikePortland.org from March 2nddescribing a couple of new corrals, and in the course of the story author Jonathan Maus mentioned an interesting statistic given by Portland's bike parking program manager Sarah Figliozzi:
Portland now has 64 on-street bike corrals that provide space for 1,140 bicycles in what was previously room for only 107 automobiles.This is an enlightening figure, for it shows that even in the highly-unlikely event that every car in Portland carried four people (instead of the typical solo driver), transforming a car parking spot into bicycle parking would still be a far more productive use of valuable street space.
One hundred seven cars with four occupants each could still bring only 428 persons to the areas serviced by bike corrals at any given time. The corrals can accommodate well over twice this number, so even if every bike corral was never more than half full, it would still provide more customer parking than giving that space to motorists would even if every car ran full instead of three-quarters empty.
When I was in Portland, last April when it was still cold and rainy, the corrals I saw were almost always close to three-quarters full if not full. In fact it was often difficult for Gina and me to find space for our own bikes.
When the corrals were not heavily occupied, neither were the car parking spaces.
You can read about our trip to Portland in Portland 2010: Both More and Less than Paradise. (Note: contains iPad-unfriendly Flash slideshow.)
And while you're at it, take a look at the results of Gina's Great Bike Rack Hunt Contest.