A Perfect Fit for Panera!

We need one of THESE…

Bike Rack

… in THIS space (a rather rare-in-strip-malls, wide-format parking space)…

Wide Parking

at THIS local business…

RLB Panera Bread

With so many meetings and “Let’s meet for coffee” going on at our local Panera bread, most of the cars we see bring only one person.
– One vehicle/one customer/one parking space.

The photo below shows that the fenced-off seating area does not provide a good perimeter for locking-up bikes; the curbing around the outside is too narrow, the near side (from this picture’s perspective) would have bikes interfere with door-clearance in the handicapped-parking space, and the far side places the bikes (and their owners) in line with traffic exiting the drive-thru. It also shows how conveniently-close the space for the bike-rack-to-be is situated!

Panera

At a meeting with the Village Board prior to approving construction of the drive-thru window, the owner(s) had to address concerns that there would still be sufficient parking… a valid point, since we’ve seen that parking is often near 100% capacity on busy/nice days. (Rather ironic, given all the ACRES of under-utilized parking right behind the building!)

If the Village Board is REALLY concerned about adequate parking, they would contact the franchise owner(s) and strongly encourage them to convert this parking space to bike parking. The space is directly across from the entrance; bikers would have to walk across a driveway, but it is “One-Way Only”…  enhancing safety with unobstructed sightlines and great eye-contact. Up to a dozen parking spaces could be made available to customers arriving by car if there was provision for customers on bike to securely lock up their rides… customers who currently chose instead to either drive and compete for parking, or if on bike seek another destination.

BTW: For winter cycling (Admit it, once the pavement and sidewalks are paved, they’re “bone dry”!), the bike rack can be configured for 3-season use. Removed to facilitate easy snow plowing, and the cyclists can use the then-unoccupied seating area as a “corral”.

In our view, it’s a Win/Win/Win:

– Business: Appealing destination to a greater variety of customers AND a reputation as a “bike-friendly business”
– Drivers: More available parking!
– Cyclists: A bike-friendly destination that’s worth going to! (It takes more than a bike rack to be bike-friendly, but Panera already offers all the rest!)

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