Bike Parking

Bike Parking landscape

New to city bicycling? Wondering what your options are for securing your trusty steed in the public arena? Look below for helpful information on bike parking in Philadelphia.

Your Parking Options

Bicycle parking takes a varying, and increasing, number of forms.

Sidewalk Bike Racks and “Street Furniture”

  • You can lock your bike to any bike racks or poles placed in public sidewalks.
  • You cannot lock to trees or objects on private property, such as stairway railings.
  • See our Philadelphia bike laws page for more detailed information on the laws about bike parking.

Bike Corrals

  • These bike racks are placed in the street, typically taking up 1 car parking spot. These are great solutions for business and food/drink districts, as one corral can typically hold 10-14 bicycles, far increasing the ability for customers to park close by. Additionally, the visual profile of a bike corral is lower than that of a car parked there, which increases storefront visibility.
  • Anyone can lock their bike in an in-street bike corral, regardless of your errand. Motorcycles and scooters are not allowed to park in bike corrals.
  • Examples of these corrals can be found in front of Johnny Brenda’s and Kung Fu Necktie in the north, Mariposa Co-Op in West Philly, Whole Foods and Tattoed Mom’s on South Street, and at Reading Terminal and 19th & Chestnut in Center City.
  • The City’s current policy is to encourage private businesses to purchase and install their own corrals.  The City of Philadelphia’s 2016 Bicycle Parking Corral application is here.

Art Bike Racks

  • Nobody says a bike rack has to be boring! Some businesses and parks in Philadelphia have uniquely-designed bike racks. Johnny Brenda’s, Shake Shack and the park at Gray’s Ferry Crescent have uniquely-shaped bike racks. In 2014, the winning designs from our artist-designed bike rack contest were installed in and around Center City.

Other

  • This Google map shows many Center City locations of sheltered bike racks. Note that some of these are in parking garages and thus private property requiring permission from the property owner to lock up.
  • Looking for creative ways to store your bicycle in your apartment? Velojoy has a Pinterest board of creative solutions.

How to Lock Up Properly

See our primer in our Locking & Theft section.

Laws About Where You Can Park Your Bike

There are rules about where you can and cannot lock your bike. See them in our Locking & Theft section. Our blog archive contains a post about what property owners can and cannot do with your bike.

Philly Bike Parking History

In 2008, the Bicycle Coalition released Bicycle Parking: Key to a Green Philadelphia, which found a severe bike parking shortage and lack of bike racks at many major venues.  The report’s focus on the need for more bike parking capacity led the Streets Department to take some significant steps to make bike parking more accessible to riders across the city.

Following the report’s release, the city released an Adopt-A-Rack contract in the fall of 2008. This program was developed by the City to purchase racks and install them on the City’s “Right of Ways” (ROWs) or sidewalks once an area was identified and a person or entity was willing to sign a maintenance agreement.  Altogether, Philadelphia installed 1400 bike racks during the fall of 2008.

In June 2009, Mayor Nutter signed into law a bill amending the zoning code to require that new construction incorporate bike parking into the design of the building according to specific standards.

During 2011, the Nutter Administration used federal funds to issue a third Adopt-A-Rack contract to install 357 racks around the City and to pay for the conversion of 1500 Parking Authority meter poles with bike rings to convert them into bike parking racks.

In 2011, the Nutter Administration adopted final bike parking regulations implementing the City’s bike parking zoning code. The regulation spells out the design and spacing requirements for bike racks to be installed on private and public property.  The regulation also defines what is required of  “art racks.”

Also in 2011, we led the project to bring the first bike corral to Philadelphia. The car-shaped corral, capable of holding 14 bicycles, was installed at the corner of Walnut & Sydenham Street in Center City in September 2011. That project was a partnership with MOTU, Streets Department, PPA, and Dero. Through individual donations and a generous discount from Dero, we were able to make the initially-loaned corral permanent.

The success of that corral helped push MOTU to pilot a program that brought 10 bike corrals to various businesses throughout the city. Those corrals were provided for free to interested businesses who got the buy-in from their neighbors and City Councilperson. Now there is a codified process for getting a bike corral, although the City won’t pay for it.

In 2013 we won a grant from the Knight Arts Challenge to hold a design contest for bicycle racks. Partnering with the Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, we solicited bike rack designs for racks to be placed at prominent locations in and near Center City Philadelphia.

The contest drew over 100 entries from 83 individuals and firms, representing 21 states, as well as the Netherlands and Poland; 35 entries came from the Philadelphia. Most of the winning racks were debuted at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March 2014, and are now installed at locations around town.