Bike Parking at Major Events

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Hagley Park, along with 15,000 others apparently. Not surprisingly, given those numbers, I figured that the most sensible way to get there was by bike, to save any car parking and congestion hassles. Clearly quite a few others thought the same thing. So, what was a little surprising was the complete lack of bike parking anywhere near the venue; your choices boiled down to nearby poles or fence-posts.

Really? This is the best bike parking option available?

This is not the first time that a major event in Christchurch has been completely bereft of cycle parking to go with it. As long ago as 2013 we noted this problem and, despite the solid growth in cycling in the city since then, apparently some events still don’t get the memo.

Coming up this month in Hagley Park are a Six60 concert and the Electric Avenue music festival but, judging by the available information online, I’m not holding out much hope that the situation will be any better. Meanwhile the Nostalgia Festival at Ferrymead has bike parking and in fact even goes so far as to have organised bike rides to the event. The recent Bread & Circus buskers festival at least encouraged people to ditch the car and bus or bike, although it didn’t provide any extra bike parking or advice on how to get there. As for cricket at Hagley Oval; again, not much love being offered by the official information…

A day at the cricket – but again, no bike parking provided…

While we could point the finger at the event organisers for overlooking this aspect, in most cases it is the City Council that has to approve these events (especially if they use a public space like Hagley Park). So why is it not a condition of consent that any major event has to have a traffic management plan that includes adequate cycle parking provision? After all, one of the big concerns about large events is the impact of traffic on surrounding streets – encouraging more cycling is surely a good way to mitigate that. And yet, looking over all the Council information online about holding events, there doesn’t appear to be a single acknowledgement of bikes being an option for getting there…

If organisers find bike parking a hassle they could even consider outsourcing the supply and management of bike parking on-site. In Auckland for example, advocacy group Bike Auckland offer a “bike valet” service that is regularly used for public events up there. The event gets some usually much-needed bike parking, while local advocacy also gets some funding (paid by the organisers) to help its cause. Only a few events in Christchurch have operated a similar volunteer service here.

Valet bike parking on hand at Meet in the Middle 2019

We’ve previously discussed back in 2013 how hit’n’miss it can be to find good bike parking at major events. Seven years later, I’m not sure whether it has really improved that much…

Should bike parking be a standard feature of major events in Chch?

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