13. Bike Valet and Other Bicycle Parking–including Etiquette and Laws

Below are tips on:

  1. bike valet parking (a) provided by businesses and organizations and (b) provided at special events
  2. bike locker locations
  3. bike parking etiquette and laws
  • See the Shopping by Bike section for lists of bike rack locations at some popular Monterey County shopping areas.
  • Want to experience some of the best bike parking in Monterey County? Tip of the helmet to the Naval Postgraduate School and California State University Monterey Bay for being extra bike-friendly!   NPS makes bike parking a high priority, providing bicycle shelters, or “bike corrals” (click here).  Likewise, California State University Monterey Bay  (CSUMB) has an indoor Bike Bunker, as well as bike lockers; details below.
  • See Bicycle Security section for tips on locking up your bike, as well as a list of places where you can easily keep an eye on your bike.
  • See Bicycle Parking, Security, and Storage for more about bicycle parking, including how to advocate for better bike parking at schools and elsewhere.

1. Bike Valet Parking

“Sir, my bicycle, please.”

You don’t have to miss out on the bike valet parking services just because you can’t bike all the way to a special event or other destination. Use a bike-and-ride option to get there!

Who says you can’t be an eco-conscious traveler and still enjoy some of life’s little luxuries?   In Monterey County, bicycle valet parking is one way we say yes to both!

As requests for this service have become more common, our Monterey County valets have graciously taken it in stride.  They can park a Schwinn or Colnago just as smoothly as a Prius or a Jaguar.   And cycling guests are provided the same royal treatment as those guests who are driving cars.

And you may be surprised at all the places where bike valet parking is offered in Monterey County!

1(a) – Bike valet parking service

provided by businesses and organizations

Hotels and fine dining establishments

Many lodging and dining providers, such as  Monterey Plaza Hotel and SpaInterContinental The Clement Monterey,  and  Portola Hotel & Spa (all of which are participating in some categories of the HER Helmet Thursdays project) offer offer bicycle valet parking on request.   Some, such as the Inn at Spanish Bay, have valet service available daily.  Be aware that others, e.g., the Sardine Factory, may have valets on hand only on Fridays and Saturdays, or at other peak times.

In my experience, local valets graciously take your bike at curbside and keep it securely stored for you or otherwise under their watchful eyes.  And when you’re ready to go, your bike will be retrieved promptly.  The valets seem charmed to be providing this service.

You’ll find most businesses and organizations here are delighted to accommodate cyclists.  From the most elegant establishments to the most casual spots,  customers on bikes are welcomed and appreciated in Monterey County.  Your polite request, “I’d like bike valet parking, please”—anywhere it is offered for motor vehicles—will surely be met with an enthusiastic “Yes, of course!”

At the Portola Hotel, you’ll find some avid cyclists among their valets, like Nick (below) and Rodney–more great people to ask questions of about biking in Monterey!

Nick, a valet at the Portola Plaza Hotel and Spa, is one of the property’s greatest assets for their guests who bike.  Why?  Nick previously worked at a local bike shop, and he’s an avid cyclist himself–so he’s extra prepared with helpful tips for guests.

What about attire at elegant spots?

Naturally, there will be times when it’s appropriate to dress fairly casually, perhaps to bike to lunch at a place offering bike valet service, such as Schooners Bistro on the Bay.

Most often, though, valet parking service goes hand-in-hand with dressier attire.  Spandex shorts will not be the way to go if, for example, you’re heading out for a dinner date at Monterey’s Whaling Station or for music and cocktails in the lounge of InterContinental The Clement.  (And speaking of the Clement, their valet Robert is another avid cyclist who can give you lots of good advice about biking here.)

See “How to dress”  in the Dress-Up Challenge post (click here) for inspiration and tips on biking in dress-up attire. And for a tad more guidance,  see the “May I take your helmet, Sir?” section of HER Helmet Thursdays, Part II: FAQs.

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital

The valet parking attendants at Salinas Valley Memorial are happy to provide bicycle valet parking on request.  Whether you are bicycling to the hospital to visit a loved one or have other business there, the hospital’s valets are ready to make your trip to SVMH easier.

This service of the hospital is new as of August 2010 and demonstrates the increasingly bicycling friendly nature of Salinas, as well as Salinas Valley Memorial’s level of caring about the health of the community.

1 (b) – Bike valet parking

at special events

Here are some examples of special events where you’ll often find bike valet parking. Please check with the event organizers and valet providers for any updates.
Ciclovia Salinas

Bike valet station provided by Green Pedal Couriers at Ciclovia Salinas, Monterey County’s Open Streets.

Community Markets

Old Monterey Farmer’s Market: This event is on Alvarado Street, downtown Monterey. It takes place on Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. (or 8 p.m. when daylight is longer). Check with the Monterey Tuesday Farmers Market for any event updates. Free bike valet parking provided by Green Pedal Couriers (831.920.8181) was introduced 4/9/13; check with Mike Baroni of Green Pedal for bike valet updates or to volunteer to help keep this service available.

Oldtown Marketplace in Oldtown Salinas: This event is in the area also referred to as downtown Salinas and has taken place on Main Street. The new and improved market will be on Gabilan Street; click here. It takes place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check the Oldtown Salinas website for  event updates. The Oldtown Salinas Association is working with Gears4Good to provide free bike valet parking at the Oldtown Marketplace on some dates; check with Steve Benes of Gears4Good for updates.

Monterey Jazz Festival

Bike valet parking is normally provided at the Monterey Jazz Festival, held at the Monterey Fairgrounds.  Where’s the bike valet area?  Confirm annually on Bicycling Monterey website, where bike-there tips are also provided, or at the Monterey Jazz Festival site’s “Greening” page.  The service is usually at Gate 3, near the traffic signal at the intersection of Garden Rd and Fairground Rd. It is usually organized by Monterey Green Action.

Monterey Bay Reggae Fest

Bike valet parking is now usually provided at the Reggae Fest too, by Green Pedal Couriers and/or other community volunteers.  Click here for details, including current gate number where bike valet service is located.

Sea Otter Classic

Less surprisingly, this world-renowned festival of cycling, held annually in Monterey County, is another special event where you’ll find bike valet parking (check this photo–and visit the SOC parking page).

At other special events

Ask for bicycle valet parking service at other special events too, in Monterey or wherever you travel. It’s growing in popularity, and the more public demand there is for bike valet service, the more often you’ll find it.

In Monterey County:

 

Below: Bike lockers at Monterey Regional Airport

Photo courtesy of Amelia Poma and Jennifer Hickerson

 

Airport Lockers - Mtry

2. Bicycle lockers

Here are some bike locker locations in Monterey County. If you know of others, please contact me.

Bike lockers  at MST Transit Exchanges, Marina and Salinas

Bike lockers are provided by Monterey-Salinas Transit/MST “The Bus” at the Marina and Salinas Transit Exchanges.

At both locations, bike lockers can be used free of charge, requiring simply a deposit of $20, which is fully refundable.

Contact MST customer service to reserve a locker.

  • Twelve to fourteen bicycle lockers are provided at the Marina Transit Exchange, 280 Reservation Road, and (as of 6/15/13), there are usually vacancies.
  • Six bicycle lockers are provided at the Salinas Transit Exchange, 110 Salinas Street in Oldtown.

(For more about using the bike-and-ride option of  MST/”The Bus,” see the bike-and-ride section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.)

Bike lockers at City of Monterey parking garages

The City of Monterey has bike lockers for rent at some city parking garages, i.e., Cannery Row and East Custom House parking garages. Click here to learn more.

Bike lockers at CSUMB

California State University Monterey Bay  (CSUMB) has 40 bike lockers as well as an indoor Bike Bunker that accommodates 36 bikes. These numbers reflect capacity as of 6/15/13; check with CSUMB transportation planner for any capacity updates, and for all other information.

Bike lockers at Monterey Regional Airport

Located in the upper short-term parking lot,  the bicycle lockers are just to the left of the sliding glass entrance doors. Locker use is provided at no charge (on a space-available basis), and as of February 2013, there are two.  Reserve by calling the airport police dispatch number, 831-648-7006.  Dispatch will radio airport police, who lock/unlock the bike lockers.

(For more tips on bike-friendly features of the Monterey Regional airport, click here.)

Below: Bike rack on Main Street, Oldtown Salinas

3. Bicycle Parking

Etiquette and Laws

When parking your bike, please be a good ambassador for the bicycle community by being considerate (and legal) about not blocking pedestrian walkways and not blocking entrances to buildings Also take care to lock up your bike so it doesn’t damage the property of others. 

And remember to check out Bicycling Monterey’s Bicycle Security section for tips on locking up your bike securely, as well as a list of places where you can easily keep an eye on your bike.

What’s the law?  The California Department of Motor Vehicles Code 21210 addresses Bicycle Parking.  In a nutshell:  Leave walkways clear for pedestrians!  It’s annoying–and hazardous–for a bicycle to be left lying on a sidewalk, instead of properly parked.  In addition, note the following.

Disabled access:  Kindly observe California law for motor vehicles, and bicycles, about parking near designated sidewalk access ramps used by disabled persons:  Do not park within three feet of such ramps.  (For more about California bike laws, see this site’s section on CA Bicycle Laws and Personal Safety–with Tips for Kids.)

On-site:  When there are no bicycle racks or lockers within a reasonable distance of your destination, another option is to see if the building you’ll be entering will allow short-term bicycle parking inside their building or inside a fenced/secure patio or deck. Some do–local examples are on a list in the bicycle security section. In many cases, it is still advisable to lock up your bike indoors.

Signposts and fences: For short-term bike parking where no bike racks exist, a non-living stationary object, such as a tall signpost or a metal fence is sometimes a viable option. If your bike is locked to one of these in a place where you or others cannot keep an eye on it, be aware that wooden posts and aluminum or chain link fences can often be easily cut or broken, signposts can be pulled out of the ground or the sign removed and the bike lifted over the top of the post.   (Reminder:  See bicycle security section for more tips.)

Parking meters:  Sometimes locking to a parking meter may be adequate, but this may not keep your bike secure.  Especially with a chain or cable, a bike can often be lifted over the top of the parking meter.  A U-lock is safest if locking to a meter.  Also, using a parking meter can sometimes mean that your bike would block a pedestrian walkway or damage a parked car (e.g., if high wind–or a passerby–accidentally topples your bike over, or otherwise moves it from an originally carefully parked position).

Stair rails:  Please avoid using a stair railing, as this typically impedes pedestrian traffic.

Trees:  Please avoid locking your bike to trees!  If this happens on a regular basis, it can stunt a tree’s growth and even kill it.  In many places, laws exist making it illegal to lock bikes to small trees.

The City of Monterey carefully positioned this bike rack near a small tree, helping to ensure cyclists had a place to lock up their bikes without harming the tree.
City of Monterey bike parking updates

As of spring 2014, the City of Monterey continues to install additional and replace older bike racks around town.

The main reasons for rack replacement are space efficiency (better/more use per rack), and more bike lock accessibility. Some of the older model racks, such as at the Monterey Sports Center,  don’t allow people to park bikes in the most efficient manner. The new racks being installed around town were first installed at places including the Uptown Monterey shopping center (between Trader Joe’s and r.g. Burgers) Pete’s Coffee, Monterey Public Library, Museum of Monterey, Harbor Master’s, and West Parking Garage. These have staggered spaces, which allow bikes to be better packed into the rack, and prevent handlebars, etc. from getting tangled up with other bikes. They also have more rack area for bike locks to wrap around.

Visual appeal is an indirect benefit of changing out older racks, although it is not a direct reason for replacement. A few older chipped, bent, and rusting racks around town will need to be, or have been, replaced; this makes the street/building, etc. more aesthetically appealing and helps create a more uniform themed look for the City. There are also now some color options over the standard steel racks, which help fit the racks to their surroundings. An additional benefit of increased uniformity is that it makes it easier for visitors and residents to spot bike racks.

Thanks to Rich Deal and other City of Monterey staff, along with intern Vince Pizzo, for working to improve bicycle parking.