New secure bike parking hub pilot project launching in downtown Kingston
Those who frequent downtown Kingston may have noticed a new bicycle parking rack near Pan Chancho bakery on Princess Street. Downtown Kingston is piloting these secure bicycle parking units in hopes of reducing bike thefts in the downtown core.
According to a release from the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA), the highly secure docking station will have space for 18 bicycles, and is distributed and implemented by Urban Racks and works with Bikeep, an app that enables users to find parking, lock their bike, release their bike, and more.
“Cycling is often regarded as a leisure activity; however, its relevance to the success of community health, tourism, downtown economic sectors and climate action, is well documented,” the BIA said. “The City of Kingston will be the first municipality in Ontario to install the units, which are already gaining popularity in Vancouver and Europe.”
According to the Kingston Moves Household Travel Survey (HTS) Report, there are as many bicycles owned by residents as vehicles. The 2019 survey notes that Kingston cyclists made 28,000 trips daily, to school, work, shopping, and other locations. According to the latest HTS report (released Fall 2020 based on pre-pandemic Fall 2019 data), the areas adjacent to downtown Kingston are considered the densest areas for walking and cycling.
Neighbourhoods within a three-kilometre radius of the downtown core have the densest population in Kingston, according to the release. The HTS shows there are approximately 50,000 residents living within those areas (closer to 70,000 including students). A three-kilometre radius is considered a measure that typically can be walked within a half hour and travelled by bicycle in about 12 minutes. The HTS report indicates that in order to meet our climate expectations, the use of active transportation including cycling must grow rapidly.
The BIA stated that this pilot project is part of a multi-prong approach to help reduce bike theft in Kingston, complementing other projects like the Kingston Police 529 Garage bike registration and Cycle Kingston’s Bicycle Valet Parking, and the City of Kingston bike rack and locking educational information.
Last year, Downtown Kingston BIA met with several cycling groups to discuss ways to increase active transportation in the downtown core. “The number one barrier to active transportation was bike security,” the BIA explained.
“Each year more than 200 bicycles come into police custody in Kingston. Almost three-quarters of all bicycle thefts are from the central area, in particular downtown, most from south of Princess Street. Bike theft is a serious deterrent to active transportation in downtown Kingston. While some residents have been victims of theft, there have also been incidents involving visitors to the city, creating a negative image of Kingston, which impacts tourism.”
As documented in the City of Kingston’s Active Transportation Implementation Plan, bicycle parking was identified through public consultation as a critically important component for improving commuter and recreational cycle trips. Safe, secure and convenient bike parking provides cyclists with peace of mind when stopping and leaving their bikes for short or long durations.
According to the release, with financial assistance from the City of Kingston and a federal Tourism Relief Fund grant secured by Tourism Kingston, the purchase of the bike parking hub was possible. The BIA stated that the initiative is in alignment with the City’s strategic focus on leading environmental stewardship and climate action.
“If people feel they can safely leave bikes downtown, they have a choice to ride rather than fire up a vehicle,” the organization noted. “Active transportation is good for the environment, good for the community’s physical and mental health and gives citizens an economical option for transportation, which fosters equality in employment.”
The Bike Parking Hub is a pilot project and will be monitored for its success at not only reducing crime, but also increasing active transportation in downtown Kingston.
The BIA said that the official launch date is coming soon.
In response to Kingstonist inquiries, Marijo Cuerrier, Executive Director of the Downtown Kingston BIA said that the total costs associated with the pilot project were “around $50,000,” however, she was unable to explain the breakdown of funding received through the City of Kingston and through federal grant funding, indicating the person who knows that information is currently away from work. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
One thought on “New secure bike parking hub pilot project launching in downtown Kingston”
I’m scratching my head why in the world the BIA would choose these racks that appear to offer no benefits when compared to a traditional bike rack used with U-locks, and also cost money to use! Bike lockers are the much more obvious and practical solution and would actually be useful to secure components of the bicycle and accessories like helmets, as well as offering protection from the elements.
The BIA must also not know that the main benefit of cycling downtown is travelling and parking up right at the destination. My bike isn’t a motor-vehicle-light that I’m going to ride downtown from the west end, park up and walk around. I’m biking downtown because I’m already nearby, and I’m taking my bike all the way to wherever I’m going.
This does seem like a great way to funnel tax dollars into someone’s pocket though!