Urban Fail: Bicycle Cellar at the Security Building isn’t happening

Another sad day for downtown Phoenix: The much-anticipated project to place a second store of The Bicycle Cellar here isn’t happening.

photo credit: ASU

The Phoenix New Times’ Jackalope Ranch blog reports this evening that Maricopa County has decided to stop plans for The Bicycle Cellar, a bicycle commuter support station and retail space, from going in the County-owned Security Building at 234 N Central Ave in downtown Phoenix.

Plans to place a Bicycle Cellar bike station in the long vacant ground floor of the historic Security Building now appear to be all but dead despite gaining initial approval from the Maricopa County Facilities Resource Panel back in January.

“Unfortunately, the Bike Cellar project has in fact been cancelled,” said Jonce Walker, Maricopa County Sustainability Manager and shepherd of the project for the county.

The project was not included in the 2012-13 fiscal year tentative budget, which was approved by the county Board of Supervisors on May 21. The final budget is scheduled to be adopted on June 18.

This is a tremendous loss for the emergent bicycle culture that’s developed in central Phoenix over the past years. Scores of organizations — from downtown businesses to surrounding neighborhoods — supported this project. It’s a shame that it won’t be happening and that the lobby of the historic 1928 Security Building will remain vacant.

What’s also a shame is that the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory, Phoenix’s preeminent space for urban leaders and thinkers, is going away as well. Too bad that there’s no creativity.

Another sad day for downtown Phoenix. When will we have some good news for a change?

Systems and Sustainable Transportation

…in which I look at transportation as a system — not as bits and pieces — and ask others to join me.

Something’s been on my mind lately. (Well, when isn’t that the case?)

A lot of people have mentioned the rise of the so-called “bicycle culture” here in Phoenix.  I’m not sure what that means, though: what is bicycle culture?  If it’s not a hipster movement, the bicycle culture advocates for bicycle transportation as the mode of transportation in urban environments.

Don’t get me wrong: I love bicycling—even in the desert.  I have a bicycle that I use to get around central Phoenix that I’ve christened as Kierkegaard, after the Danish existentialist philosopher.  The picture here is of my bicycle at one of the light rail stations here in town.  It is my equivalent of a car since I don’t have a car.  I agree that there needs to be better bicycle infrastructure in this city and around the world.

Actually, I should come out here and share this with the world: I don’t have a driver’s license.  In fact, I’ve never had one.  I am sure that I’m going to have to get one at some point; for now, it’s a point of personal pride that I’ve gotten this far without needing one.

As I see it, bicycling is part of a greater system: sustainable transportation.  I think that this is where the bicycle culture people are missing a key piece to their advocacy.  The other two components of that sustainable transportation system are public transportation and walking.  It’s not about promoting one modality over the other or saying that one is superior to the other.  It’s about recognizing that sustainable transportation is a system and that all modalities are connected to each other.

I have taken Kierkegaard (the bicycle) on the trains here many times when my final destination is just outside of the reach of my pedaling power.  Bike to train to bike to destination: it’s about the journey and the destination.

We’ll go farther together than separately.