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A bike parking area in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

One of the best parts of the new bike-sharing services is that they’re dockless, or free-floating, allowing riders to leave the bikes pretty much anywhere. It’s also one of the worst parts, as the bikes end up getting left pretty much anywhere.

This has had a big impact on some neighborhoods in Seattle, which has emerged as a key market for bike-sharing services, thanks in part to a streamlined permitting process enacted by the city. In areas where shared bikes are popular, it can seem at times like LimeBike, Ofo and Spin bikes are littering the sidewalks.

A shared bike parking area in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Could designated parking areas help solve this problem?

PREVIOUSLY: Photos reveal worst ‘parking’ jobs for bike-share bicycles

Seattle’s Department of Transportation is experimenting with the concept, creating five test bike share parking locations this past week along NW Market Street in the Ballard neighborhood.

Here are the five test locations, via SDOT.

  • North side of Market just west of Ballard Ave (in front of Shakti Yoga).
  • NE corner of Leary and Market (Ballard Beer Company).
  • SE corner of Leary and Market (AT&T store).
  • SW corner of Tallman and Market (All the Best Pet Care).
  • North side of Market just W of Russel (Kangaroo and Kiwi).

The city says the parking zones were strategically placed in areas that would leave a six-foot pedestrian path, with at least three feet of space to the curb or parking lane, without blocking access to buildings, transit, curb ramps or loading zones.

Many people apparently don’t know this, but there are actually rules for bike share parking in the city.

“We’ve monitored these areas for bike parking compliance rates before installation,” explains SDOT in a post detailing the project. “In the next few weeks, we’ll monitor usage, organization, design resilience, and compliance rates in the immediate vicinity of the locations, on the same block-face, and neighborhood-wide.”

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