Monday, June 29, 2009

Dispatch: New Rules Afoot To Require Bike Racks Be Built?

Dave Hendricks of the Dispatch reported this morning that the city of Columbus is considering adopting new rules for parking that would require the inclusion of bike parking racks.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Let's look at one of the primary complaints that people have about cyclists:

They just park their darned bikes anywhere!

And the cyclists will respond, usually quite correctly, that there's no where to park their bikes! The city's been doing an admirable job of putting in new u-racks where requested (including a rack out in front of the building where I work, as judged by the two green blobs of paint on the sidewalk), but requiring them by builders is the most common sense way to do this, especially with all the building that goes on in Columbus.

Naturally, developers are not happy about this. Especially amusing is the comment of Franz Geiger, managing director of NP Limited Partnership, the primary developer of the original acreage at the Polaris Eyesore Mall. Predictably, his comments have to do with putting racks in where "it's not safe to bike." Obviously, he's an expert on where it's safe to bike since he's done so much to make it safe where he builds.

But putting in racks will make it more attractive for people to bike to Polaris and other locations. And the article rightly points out that it'll be great for downtown and more urban areas, but I maintain it'll be great for EVERYONE. More biking means safer streets, better health, yadda yadda yadda. I could go on for hours. ANYTHING that the city can do to get people out of cars and into the fresh air is a good thing. And the fewer the cars, the fresher the air!

Now, let's look at the actual code that's being proposed (as @lifeontwowheels provided for us from the Columbus Downtown Development site). The proposed code:

Bicycles.

A. Bicycle parking design standards. The Department of Public Service shall review and approve required bicycle parking as part of overall site plans. Specification requirements will be maintained by the Department of Public Service.

B. Bicycle parking shall be provided as required in Tables 3312.51C(1-4). A minimum of two bicycle spaces shall be provided for the uses noted “Yes” in Tables 3312C(1-4). Additional bicycle parking is required for uses with over 20 vehicle parking spaces at a rate of 1 bicycle parking space per 20 vehicle parking spaces up to a maximum of 20 bicycle parking spaces. For purposes of this provision, vehicle parking spaces are determined based on the total code required for a use, not the amount available or provided.

And then the table goes on to point out where the above rules would be required - which is basically every situation with the exception of warehousing and manufacturing sites.

Beautiful. This is exactly what the city needs.

But I'd like to make one addition to this list: the city should not require the form that the racks take. Rather, it should have a review board that judges whether the racks fulfill certain requirements and then allows the developers to basically have some FUN with the racks!

Columbus claims to the be Indie Art Capital... well, let's see that art put into bike racks! Can you imagine a new Cup O' Joe with a rack shaped like a cup of coffee? Or a Mexican restaurant with a big jalapeno pepper-shaped rack? Or base-shaped racks outside Huntington Park? The possibilities for both convenience and encouragement of cycling and a little extra marketing for some of these businesses go through the roof!

Former Talking Heads front man David Byrne has some great examples of this on his site. Check them out and dream, folks!

If you'd like to comment on this to the city, please print out this form (PDF) and send your comments to the city.

UPDATE: Consider Biking is collecting comments for forwarding to the city. If you wish your comments to be counted among everyone else's there, please email them to Consider Biking!

People, not speed.

3 comments:

  1. I sent my comment form in this morning and mentioned that they should consider the option of allowing on street bike corrals, like Portland uses.

    Essentially you get 20 bike spaces in what was once a 1 car metered spot. The local business owners maintain the space by doing a bit of sweeping through the month. This would be wonderful in downtown and throughout the urban Columbus area.

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  2. I like that idea, too. Keep the bikes off the sidewalk so that they don't clutter things up for the pedestrians. I'll add that to my comments, to give that suggestion a bit more weight.

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  3. But putting in racks will make it more attractive for people to bike to Polaris and other locations.At Bazaark we bring solutions on a variety of quality items: from Kitchenware, Outdoor Furniture to Garage Storage Solutions, Bike Racks & more

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