A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Michigan St Forum…

Now where did I put my copy of that GVSU traffic and parking ordinance...

I got my first bicycle parking ticket in Grand Rapids.  Thanks GVSU.

Amy and I arrived at GVSU’s Center for Health Sciences from the south on Lafayette for a public input forum on the principles that will guide development along the Michigan Street corridor.  From across the street at the light, we could not see any bicycle parking, so we proceeded down Lafayette to the rear of the building.  They probably hid them there!  Nope.  Don’t see any.  Let’s go around to the east entrance on Michigan.  Maybe there’s some there.  No such luck.

Frustrated, we locked our bikes to one of the handrails at the main entrance on Lafayette and Michigan.

After the forum, Amy spotted our “tickets”.  Apparently we were supposed to park at some magical bicycle parking that we couldn’t find, despite the fact that we circled 75% of the building, looking for bicycle parking.

As it turns out, after asking the friendly but unsympathetic GVSU security officer, the bicycle parking is hiding in the parking garage on the east side, near the very narrow exit driveway with no sidewalk.  You can just barely see it in the background, right behind this big sign that says “Exit Only” with a big red cross.  There’s actually a bicycle parked in it.

"Exit Only, except bicycles, and try not to get run over by a bus or an exiting car."

The sign might as well say “Exit Only, except bicycles, and try not to get run over by a bus or an exiting car.”

Proper bicycle parking, the kind that says “We welcome bicycles here and want to encourage you not to drive your car and take up our super expensive parking space,” needs to be sited within visual distance of the entrance to the building it is serving.  There are plenty of spots along the street or in the small entrance plazas where these could be sited.

At the very least, the parking should be accessible by walking on a sidewalk from the the entrance and be well signed for anyone approaching the building who might be wondering where they should park their bicycle.

A very frustrated parking job of last resort.
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Author: Joshua Duggan

I love bicycling. I love Grand Rapids. Even though I'm not from here (I'm from Omaha, Nebraska), I've lived here over 10 years and Grand Rapids is my new home. I'm a commuter, endurance racer, mountain biker, bicycle tourist, tandem captain, fat biker, roadie, and gravel grinder who likes to ride his bike to an occasional brewery, taco stand, or ice cream shop.

2 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Michigan St Forum…”

  1. I also noticed no bike racks on the south or west sides of the building near the main entrance. I chained up to [almost] the same handrail for the same meeting. I avoided a ticket but didn’t do near the due diligence that you did, Josh and Amy.

    Tom

  2. As a cycling commuter I really hope the institutions and the city ramp up [no pun intended] bicycle enforcement and ticketing. I’m in a lane and following the rules of the road and the cyclists I pass are flitting all over like flies on a hot day. Cars dodging those idjits are going to hit me.

    How much revenue could the city raise by just putting someone on Monroe / Leanord and ticketing every bicycle that uses the cross-walk? An intersection I use every day and have seen multiple idjit cyclists clipped by cars as they go zooming through the cross walk. An intersection that, at least north-sorth, has bike ‘lanes’!

    I say “Bring on the smack down!”

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