Get Me Out of Here

Originally published in The Journal  and written by David Estal, of Estal Klouman Architects  and collaborator  in the study L’Ambaixada, in this piece thinking -written in the city of Valencia we talk about the need for good parking to encourage bike use .


David Estal

Get me out of here! Image Source.
The architects have the strange habit of looking up when we walk around the city. This gesture, confused appearance, protects us from pigeon droppings while allowing us to observe certain details. It is one of those watchful eyes when I find something disturbing … a bike on a balcony! The poor girl is engaged so that a wheel that protrudes over the railing seems desperately begging me: “get me out of here.”

To my disappointment, the mysterious case of unprotected bike (not abandoned), is not exceptional. Day after day, street after street, we can find examples of bikes ‘parked’ on balconies sharing space with clotheslines, air conditioners, pots (at best) and butane gas cylinders basking in the sun. No matter the neighborhood or the floor, still less, the type of bike. It is quite common in the landscape of our city and I am sure you may have noticed.But should we be indifferent to it?
At least two reasons to explain this phenomenon contagious. The first is that a bike deposited on a balcony is an obvious consequence of the lack of adequate space inside the house or building, condemning this place called balcony was conceived as a place to be, and not as a storage or parking.Among the dirt that gets the bike, plus the added difficulty uploading lift (if any) and having to go through the house leaving a trace, makes me think that the choice (awkward) to leave her on the balcony is because further used occasionally, maybe some weekends to walk in the garden of the Turia, an increasingly “successful” space invaded by  running  and  cycling .
The second argument, something more appropriate for this article, denotes the nonexistence of an urban policy that meets the growing need for bike parking beyond the uncertain street parking (on sidewalks, unfortunately). Arbitrarily occupying the public space passerby found the bikes chained to a few and unmarked called elements ‘U’ inverted (trees, signs and streetlights in his absence), for which multiple precautions to be taken by  anti – theft measures . I understand that is a short – term parking that does not resolve the source of displacement parking, just a possible destination.
So is there any other practice? Recently, Fernando Mafé, a member of persevering Valencia Bike sent me a story in which the first was announced bicipark  of Barcelona. The place that makes this possible: a building site.That is, unused space, provided by the Council within the  Pla BUITs  to Formació i Treball foundation, with capacity for 700 bicycles. Since April 22, this space has become a parking lot guarded 24 hours with different rates and services for bikes that also employs five people at risk of social exclusion.
This is therefore a laudable experiment can certainly be contextualized in our city dotted with underused spaces capable of being endowed with content, at least temporarily. However, the moment is still committed to other management. For example, the solar tremendous Princesa Theatre quickly became a rented pickup truck parking Market; which shows another problem, lack of strategy against trade logistics in the historic center.
Just as happens with cars, parking supply creates demand in the use, by a ‘ pull effect’. On the other hand, the fear of not finding a parking fulfilling the conditions of safety, comfort and proximity, next to the current ordinance restricting the use of any street furniture such as parking, causes a decrease in the use of the particular bike.
In its day I had the opportunity to participate with the Polytechnic University in drafting the document prior Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in the chapter on the bike. In it we recommended the creation of a network of cycle-parking recognizable and appropriate to each neighborhood identity according to their needs and personality that would solve the frequent journeys, door to door. The idea was (is) put them in public transport links, shopping streets (with sponsorship from local), schools, medical centers, sports facilities, parks, gas stations (urban strategically placed icons), etc.And I especially like the idea of mixed car parks, integrating the bike (and other ancillary uses) as a deal on the existing network of underground, public, private, parking lots and even in residential buildings. Here again spreads the Barcelona example, showing the facilities of your  network B: SM  by bicycle fertilizers and discounts for jove bike.
In short, a Valencia pace bike is not achieved only with more lanes and a municipal rental service. There are other challenges to be resolved, one would facilitate and increase daily use as a means of transport, it is possible cycle-parking abundantly in origin and destination. We have seen how some underused spaces in the city can be built easily, quickly and economically, part of the solution. Perhaps in the future, [1] if any, bikes are parked on the streets peacefully, while cars by claiming us stick out balconies “bring us out of here.” Although I think this  is already the case  for those who can not live without it …