The Village of Shorewood has installed its first on-street bicycle corral, in front of the craft beer establishment, Draft & Vessel. Shorewood can now be added to the list of bicycle friendly places who have on-street bicycle corrals such as Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, and Portland. Nat Davauer, the owner of Draft & Vessel, said he was familiar with the on-street bicycle corrals in Milwaukee but in doing his research (before proposing the idea to the Village Board), he said he was inspired most by Portland. Stating, “the craft beer and bicycle scene are of the same breed, they just fit together.” In addition, taking out one automobile parking space to make room for a bicycle corral that can fit twelve people (customers) on bicycles, just makes sense.
Automobile parking is scarce in Shorewood, therefore, providing more bicycle parking may facilitate an increase in biking which could alleviate parking issues. “You can’t have a cool city and expect to park [a car] in front of every business,” said Nat Davauer. Nat expands on the concept of driving culture and common complaints of Shorewood residents. He stated, “people want to go [drive] to the new places but complain there is no parking available, and residents nearest to the business district complain there is too much traffic.” Evermore reason to supply adequate bicycle facilities so Shorewood residents can ditch the car and jump on their bicycle while traveling in Shorewood. A bicycle corral is a win-win for Shorewood business owners and the residents of Shorewood, especially considering that Shorewood is expecting more development on Oakland Avenue.
Since this is the first on-street bicycle corral in Shorewood, and the fact that it is “taking away” a parking space in a parking scarce community, I asked Nat Davauer about the approval process. He said he wasn’t sure if an on-street bicycle corral would be controversial, but he had customers and residents sign a petition anyway to show their support for the bicycle corral. Ultimately, Nat Davauer found the petition was not necessary, and that Shorewood was open to the idea. However, he did say he had enthusiastic support from Shorewood Trustee Tammy Bockhorst and Shorewood resident Juli Kaufmann.
Takeaway is that, “if you build it they will come.” When communities provide adequate bicycle facilities, you can be certain to see more people on bicycles. With the first on-street bicycle corral up and running, this poses the question, where will the next on-street bicycle corral be installed in Shorewood?