VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #280 | It Had A ‘Bike Hotel’ For Secure Bicycle Storage

December 7, 2016.

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The point of VWBCI is to open local minds to outside practices, concepts, and ideas that might stand to improve our greater civic situation in a parallel universe where coolness was valued more than practicality and funds spent on public works of art were raised by way of a special NIMBY tax levied against serial complainers.

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(via) Bike theft sucks. It happens with frustrating frequency in Vancouver, so much so that our city has earned the dubious distinction as the bike theft capital of Canada. The rate is 2-4 times greater than any other big Canadian city, so you’d think we’d be frantically looking for solutions. Alas, not really. While we appreciate that there have been feints toward secure locations, we like this idea in the small Norwegian town of Lillestrøm, where the train station has a bicycle “hotel” of sorts adjacent to it.

More fancy shed than Four Seasons, the Lillestrøm Bicycle Hotel lets commuters pay a small monthly fee to safely store bicycles indoors while they’re at work or out of town. Norwegian National Railways commissioned Oslo firm Various Architects to build it, but there are several other bike hotels throughout Norway. Lillestrøm just happens to boast the largest one yet; its hotel can sleep 400 bicycles at a time.

From the outside, the Lillestrøm Bicycle Hotel looks like a giant light box. A ramp runs diagonally up one side, leading to a public patch of greenery on the rooftop. “We thought it would be important to give back to the city the area we took away,” says Ibrahim Elhayawan, the partner at Various Architects who led the project. […] “It was very tight space to work with,” Elhayawan says. The architects dealt with those restrictions by building indoor bike racks that allow for stacking some bikes directly atop others.

Cute moniker aside, bicycle hotels are serious—and seriously useful—pieces of urban infrastructure. Like bike lanes and bike bridges, they make it easier for people to choose cycling over driving. That behavior makes cities healthier.

But they also go a step further, by protecting bicycles and the people who ride them. The Lillestrøm Bicycle Hotel, for instance, stays lit throughout the night—a crucial safety feature, especially for women cyclists. Using it costs 50 Krone ($7.16) per month. “That’s as much as two cans of Coke,” Elhayawan says. “And the salaries in Norway are quite high.” In other words: it’s a small price to pay for a healthier, safer commute.

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