The success of a coat-check style service for cyclists visiting the Saturday market is a sign of the times, according to the Penticton and Area Cycling Association.
“At this time in Penticton, with a housing supply problem and sky-rocketing rents, it is clear that we cannot afford to dedicate more public funds and space to the storage of automobiles,” says Matt Hopkins, PACA board member and co-coordinator of the free bike valet. “The allocation of public resources to parking only worsens the housing issue. We hope the bike valet shows the City of Penticton that if you make cycling safe and comfortable, residents of Penticton will bike.”
The staffed bike parking area on the lawn of city hall, operates as a free public service allowing cyclists a safe place to park their bikes while visiting the markets. Since the first day of operation, May 12, the bike valet has surpassed 300 bikes parked. Hopkins said there has been a steady increase in participation as word about the service spread.
The bike valet operates from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. It occupies the same square footage as three parking spaces. Hopkins said at last week’s Farmers’ Market the bike valet parked 60 bikes, what he estimates as a savings of 57 parking spots in one week alone.
The City of Penticton donates the space each week and the area is staffed by volunteers who supervise the valet.