Dave Reid

Alterra to Introduce On-Street Bike Parking to Milwaukee (Renderings)

By - Jan 19th, 2011 02:24 pm
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Bike Corral 2

Alterra’s On-Street Bike Parking

Back on Park(ING) Day we wrote about the possibility of on-street bike corrals and how small changes to the built environment can help make for a better, more interesting Milwaukee.  But to create those small changes we need the City of Milwaukee and local businesses to work together to get things rolling.  Alterra is doing just that.  Alterra is working with the city to develop an on-street bike corral at Alterra’s Prospect Avenue location that will allow customers to safely and securely park their bicycle in a parking spot in front of the business.

On-street bike parking, similar to this proposal, has been tried in other cities such as Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.  These cities have implemented on-street bike parking facilities because bike corrals help with traffic calming, provide a 10-to-1 customer to parking space ratio, improve the outdoor seating environment, welcome bike riders to an establishment, clear the sidewalks for pedestrians, and act as de facto curb extensions.  With this project Milwaukee will be added to the list of forward-looking, innovative cities that are exploring multi-modal transportation options, improving the built environment, and working towards better utilization of pavement.

Alterra’s project is a great step forward, but to continue the momentum, more will need to be done to change how parking spaces are viewed and to formalize a legal and affordable process to allow installations such as these within the City of Milwaukee.  For example, in Portland a formal process has been adopted for the creation of on-street bike corrals, and now more than 60 of these facilities have been installed.   One possible solution would be to make the approval process similar to that of outdoor street dining, by making it a special privilege, which would include a minimal annual fee and straightforward guidelines.

Early renderings of the bike corral were published on OnMilwaukee.com, but the project has continued to be refined and improved.  The updated renderings, by Chris Socha of Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., are shown below:

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9 thoughts on “Alterra to Introduce On-Street Bike Parking to Milwaukee (Renderings)”

  1. Love, love, love. I would especially love it if this early rendering actually has some resemblance to the final design. While we are making progress, let’s take it one step further and make sure this is an act of beauty in addition to all the other benefits. Time and time again, infrastructure like this shows us that when you build it, they will come. When you build it beautifully, its icing on the cake.

    Kudos to Alterra. It takes progressive owners working with talented teams willing to advocate for pushing the envelope. And thanks to the City of Milwaukee for finding ways to say Yes. Thanks to all for being willing to set precedent. I am certain this will prove to be another smart business move and a nice complement to the interior remake of this Milwaukee gem. Can’t wait to park my bike.

  2. Jeff Jordan says:

    There is a sense of progress in the city becoming more and more bike friendly. This suggestion of ,on one hand.encouraging and at the same time, controlling Bike parking is a tremendous idea. As an advocate for an integrated system of transportation I support this approach along with Bus bike racks, lane designation and trail expansion that recognizes and promotes a growing awareness with the flawed thinking that automobiles are the only mode we need.

  3. Dan Knauss says:

    Nice! I much prefer the “early rendering” on OMC without the letters spelling bike parking unless they’re made from the infamous orange metal asterisk.

  4. Richard D. James says:

    This is great, but I don’t think it is going to make it any easier to get a cup of coffee and actually sit down inside.

    Ever since they remodeled and started serving food at the Prospect Alterra, the lines have been ridiculously long and you can never find a seat inside.

    All of the people who went to the huge location at the Lake now come up to the Prospect location because it is new and they have food. Plus they have outlets everywhere to plug in laptops which increases the average time for a customer from 30min. to 3 hours, sometimes 6 hours if someone decides to eat breakfast and lunch there while hammering out a school paper. Prospect even increased their seating for this remodel, but not enough, AND it is so inefficiently laid out.

    Most of the customers who don’t take up space at the coffee shop are the “drive thru – grab n’ go” folks who usually park their cars where the new bike racks are going to be placed.

    I think Alterra is pretty smart with their planning and branding, BUT they’ve become too large for a local neighborhood coffee shop. A little bit of greed may have surfaced due to the success of the Lake location. I think they’ve definitely lost their original grit.

    Again, the bike racks are great, love ‘em. But Alterra Prospect’s real problem they need to solve is more seating or more efficient use of seating.

  5. Dave Reid says:

    @Richard Well maybe they need another East Side location!

  6. Jesse Hagen says:

    No one goes to Alterra now, it’s too crowded. I don’t go because any successful and popular business is obviously too ‘corporate’ for me.

    On a serious note, I like to see added space for bikes… especially where it’ll be well used. I’m hoping more businesses look around and see this, realizing that 10 customers can now park where only 2 could before.

  7. John says:

    As Yogi Berra said, “it is so crowded, hardly anyone goes there anymore!”

  8. Nice @Dave – thanks for adding credit where its due – leadership by Chris Socha “paved” the way on this idea. Thanks to him for being a lead advocate. It takes passion, a willingness to overcome obstacles. and commitment to see an idea through. I have a feeling we will be seeing more from Chris.

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