Bike Parking Hall of Shame: Jewel-Osco at Paulina/Milwaukee

Last week I highlighted one of Jewel’s first LEED-certified “green” stores in our weekly Bike Parking Hall of Shame and this week we’re showcasing another Jewel grocery store. This one is not LEED-certified, but it is located within the Wicker Park/West Town neighborhoods of Chicago (1341 N. Paulina St.) – a part of the city where many people ride bikes every day, all year long. In fact, the stretch of Milwaukee Avenue near this store is generally so crowded with cyclists during rush hour that it looks like a ‘bike to work’ rally almost every day. You would never guess that this grocery store was on a major bike route though, if you tried to park your bike there.

Jewel-Osco bike Chicago parking

Oma locked up to a railing in front of the Jewel on Milwaukee & Paulina, looking towards Ashland Avenue

I was not the only cyclist who had to lock up to the railings that day.

Bike Parking at the Jewel-Osco on Milwaukee & Paulina in Chicago

This grocery stores is in the same plaza as a K-Mart store and in the open expanse of empty space between the two stores I did find this one bent, unsecured, grill rack.

Poor bike parking at the Jewel/K-Mart Plaza in Chicago

Just think of the U-racks that these stores could install in this open space! A space that is probably monitored by security cameras too – bonus! It’s doubtful that the city would install racks here because the location is too far from the street, but that doesn’t prevent the property management company or the stores themselves from installing U-racks. As is stated in the Chicago guidelines for bike parking, as well as guides to best practices in bike parking, (find all the links here) grill racks or ‘schoolyard’ style racks like the ones here are considered to be ‘poor’ ┬ábike parking. Most adult bikes cannot fit in the slots, or cannot fit and securely lock their front wheel to the frame. If you have a quick-release wheel, this is imperative in higher-crime urban areas.Oma cannot fit into this bike rack, so I have to lock her to one of the ends. Some cyclists lift their bike up over the top of the rack to lock them when an end is not available, but not all cyclists are able to lift up their bikes in that fashion. I am certainly not going to try and lift a big heavy Dutch bike like Oma up over that rack – she’d probably bend it!

Why would a grocery store want to encourage more bike parking? Because we are great customers! Since a cyclist generally can’t carry as much as a car, we make more trips to the store and in the end are probably going to buy more items. I know which grocery stores have good parking on the routes I travel and I often stop at those stores. I generally pass up this store when I’m heading south because I know there is a Dominick’s store with better bike parking not too far away. Check out this 2007 post on discussing a couple of German studies that concluded that cyclists make great retail customers.

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