Friday, October 10, 2014

Downtown Summerlin Lacks Downtown Bicycle Parking

It was about 9:30 a.m. today and Paul the friendly staffer at the Trader Joe's customer service counter said I was the third person this morning who inquired about why there were no bicycle racks in front of the upscale grocery.

The fact there was no bicycle parking countered the store's very marketing and interior mural, which showed a Summerlin Red Rock bicycle scene and actual bicycles.





In fact, as I bicycled around Downtown Summerlin I found hardly any bicycle parking.

Most of the Downtown Summerlin event guys in yellow shirts didn't even know where the bicycle parking was located.

Finally, I found it. This massive suburban $450 million shopping center dubbed "Downtown Summerlin" had about a dozen brown metal sticks coming out of the ground to lock up bicycles next to a parking garage.



It's located on the far side of the parking garage, with hardly any pedestrian traffic, so bike thieves with tools can do quick work and steal the bikes with no sets of eyes near the spot.

With hardly anyone knowing about the bike racks, the bicyclists visiting the shopping center locked their bikes where they could find space.


What's a shame about Downtown Summerlin not being bicycle friendly is that across the 215 highway is a regional bike trail used by hundreds of bicyclists every day. And I saw people biking around the shopping center like these folks.






The reason some people snicker at the "Downtown Summerlin" moniker is that the shopping center lacks authentic downtown features, such as bicycle racks scattered around the businesses and storefronts like most real downtowns. Even downtown Las Vegas has bike racks.

Check out this cool Huntridge bike rack -- why can't "Downtown Summerlin" have similar bike racks scattered throughout its shopping area?




What's sad is that Howard Hughes markets Summerlin as a bicycle town and uses bicycle images to sell homes  yet its signature shopping area with "Downtown" in its title doesn't have a clue how practical bicycles can be to get people to the stores.

Even one store at the shopping center named Clarks uses the imagery of bicycling to show how hip the place is.



The funny thing is that as I was biking around this morning I met a guy named Larry who said he was with Howard Hughes. I believe his name was Lawrence S. Witko, Howard Hughes West Coast director of leasing. He was hanging with another Howard Hughes exec and I told them the shopping area would benefit from more bicycle racks.

They seemed amenable to the idea, and I hope the Howard Hughes folks installs bicycle racks scattered around the place. It's good business and would show that bicycling is more than just a recreational pursuit in Summerlin -- it's also practical transportation.


  

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