San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Urban mobility

Transport Ministry plans 40 bicycle parking facilities in San José

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is working on a plan to build 40 bicycle racks in San José, and ministry officials want people to weigh in.

The ministry already has preliminary designs for short- and long-term bike parking options including bike racks, lockers and parking lots at public buildings. Ministry officials selected the proposed 40 sites by taking into account their proximity to public services, train and bus stations, recreational sites, schools and universities.

The ministry now wants public feedback on the proposed racks before moving forward with the project. MOPT is calling on the population, and particularly urban cyclists, to take an online survey that will be available on its website until December 23.

The survey asks people to weigh in on the proposed sites and also asks them to rate each one on three basic aspects: safety, usability and location. The survey is only available in Spanish.

User feedback

MOPT’s Traffic Engineering Director Junior Araya said in a news release that the ministry will use the information from the survey to make a final decision on the types and final locations of the proposed bike racks. The survey also grants people the opportunity to propose other locations that are not included in MOPT’s plan, Araya said.

The online survey displays examples of each of the four designs proposed.

Among the proposed sites MOPT selected are the Supreme Court, the Social Security System (Caja) headquarters, the Supreme Elections Tribunal, the Central Bank, the Plaza de la Cultura, the National Stadium, the Pacific and Atlantic train stations, the National Library, the Costa Rican Art Museum in La Sabana Park, the Costa Rica Institute of Technology in Barrio Amón, and various public banks.

MOPT plan proposes parking options alongside and on the streets, racks at public buildings and even bike lockers.

(Courtesy of MOPT)

Urban mobility

The proposed bike racks would be a new step toward boosting the use of bikes in the capital.

The San José Municipality inaugurated a two-kilometer stretch of bike path in 2015. The route is part of a seven-km route to connect La Sabana, west of the capital, to the University of Costa Rica campus, east of the city.

Since that inauguration, various additional efforts have sought to promote bicycle use. European Union Ambassadors in Costa Rica cycled on the bike path in June 2015, and environmental activists hosted a local version of World Car Free Day on Sept. 22.

Recommended: A bike path blooms in San José

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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Ken Morris

Well, neither the comment section on MOPT’s survey nor MOPT’s email works, so I will resort to commenting here.

Providing bicycle parking is an important component of planning for and encouraging bicycle transportation, but with one crucial exception, MOPT is going about this all wrong.

The exception is that MOPT does need to provide safe and secure bicycle parking at connecting points for inter-modal transportation, such as train stations. This is a really, really important initiative.

However, MOPT doesn’t seem to understand that bicyclists park the same way motoryclists park–at or near the front door of where they’re going. This is even more important for bicyclists, since there are lots of things that can be stolen off of bicycles, and we want to keep an eye.

MOPT appears to believe that if it provides bicycle parking in San José several blocks away from where bicyclists are going, bicylists will all dutifully park there. They won’t, and the MOPT money spent will be wasted.

Far better is a simple ordinance requiring businesses as well as government buildings to have bicycle parking, sort of the way they have car parking. It doesn’t need to be a lot or expensive (probably cheaper than a wheelchair ramp) and surely small businesses can get by with a couple posts in the ground, but these bicyclists would use.

You have to wonder what’s going on in the planners’ minds at MOPT that prompts them to imagine that if they provide bike racks in a central location that bicyclists will use them. Motorcyclists wouldn’t use them, and bicyclists won’t either. It’s as if nobody at MOPT rides a bike.

Mind, the inter-modal stuff is great, but most of the rest amounts to going through the bureaucratic motions to enable MOPT to be able to say, “See, we tried to provide for bicyclists, but people don’t use our infrastructure.”

This is up there with painting a blue bike path in the middle of a pedestrian boulevard and imagining that bicyclists will dodge the pedestrians as well as even the cop cars often parked in it and be thankful. Goodness, bicyclists will take a different road.

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