Posts Tagged ‘bike racks’

Where are the bike racks?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

A new custom-built bike rack at Eastern-Market

Desiree Cooper made an interesting post on her blog called, The Road to a renaissance is lined with bike racks.

Last month I attended one of the Detroit Mayor’s neighborhood forums on the re-imagining of the city. I was amazed at the diversity at the huge gathering (translation: many white people were there). When the residents started voicing their complaints, I heard many of the predictable gripes: Stop the foreclosures! Get rid of abandoned buildings! Fix the public schools!

And then one man raised his hand to be heard. He was young, white and a new Detroit resident. “Where are the bike racks?” he asked indignantly.

The room went silent for a minute. You didn’t hear one “Amen.” With all that faces the city, were we really going to haggle over places to park a Schwinn?

The surprising answer is yes; Detroit’s future might just lie in bike racks.

Of course, the city’s future is not literally dependent just on bike racks. If it were, we’d be one fat CMAQ grant away from solving our problems.**

No, Detroit has many concurrent issues, but the point being the increase in young people moving to the city and adopting bicycling had added one more issue to the list.

Cooper’s post goes on to highlight a Port Huron family that moved to the city. She had a great family photo on bikes.

And in a similar vein, Metro Parent has an article called, Raising Kids in the City of Detroit.

The article covers the serious challenges Detroit families face. One focus is on Lisa McNish. McNish works at the Wheelhouse Detroit so it’s not surprising she got a little plug in for biking in Detroit.

Biking is definitely catching on, [McNish] says. “Detroit doesn’t have as much traffic, per say, so it’s a lot easier to ride and a lot more flexible,” she says. “And you see things that you hadn’t seen before,” like little shops or a neighbor’s yard filled with pet ducks.

Okay. Who cares about where the bike racks are? Where are the pet ducks?

**Note: We should mention that the Woodward Avenue Action Association is now offering grants that could pay for bike racks along Woodward Avenue.

Help build a gritty, gothic bike rack

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The Spirit of Hope Church in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood is seeking contributions to help build a bike rack that suits the church’s gothic architecture.

Despite the growing population of cyclists, Spirit of Hope Church is without bike parking. Give them the kick they need to commission a local metal artists to hook them up.

They are seeking $287 by October 4th to match the $287 they’ve already raised from the Soup at Spaulding.

Soup at Spaulding has also raised money for a new bike collective at the Fireweed Universe-City.

The Fireweed Universe City Bicycle Collective is a volunteer run, bicycle collective open to the Detroit Community. Our primary purpose is to foster a safe, educational and diverse environment that emphasizes pedal powered options for safe and environmentally responsible transportation in order to provide community members with the facilities and tools, as well as the skills and knowledge to help make cycling an essential part of their everyday lives.

Fireweed Universe-City located near Seven Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.

It seems like these Detroit Soup events are a great means for raising funds and supporting some of the smaller projects that can really help cycling in Detroit.

To learn more about these events, Model D TV has recently covered this growing Soup concept.

Berkley Bike Racks

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Bikes, Beans, and Brews blog has an excellent post on proposed ordinance change in Berkley which would encourage more bike racks.

My dandy little town of Berkley, Michigan just had an article in the local little paper, Woodward Talk, entitled “Berkley aims to promote greater bike usage at city businesses“. This sounds like it will be all about new bike lanes and bike racks, right? Sounds encouraging, right?

Well, almost. The article is actually about how the council voted DOWN an amendment to the bicycling parking requirements for Berkley businesses and requested that the planning commission rewrite the ordinance.

The Woodwalk Talk article in included this telling passage.

However, as Councilman Dan Benton pointed out at the Oct. 19 meeting, the ordinance as written would have required business owners to install a new bicycle rack anytime their existing parking lot is developed or resurfaced.

‘”We should not be making businesses put in more bike racks if they don’t want to,” he said. “If they want to resurface their parking lot, then we’re not giving them a choice here. But businesses won’t want to do this unless it makes sense to them, like if they’re hoping to create a business that caters to bicycle users.”

So Berkley is comfortable requiring businesses to provide off-street parking (at an approximate cost of $8,000 per parking space) but won’t require businesses to provide $250 bike racks. And as Bikes, Beans, and Brews noted, the cost of a bike rack is relatively minor even when compared to the cost of redeveloping or resurfacing a parking lot.

Another point that Councilman Benton missed is that bike racks are not just for business customers. Businesses have employees. Having bike racks makes it easier for employees to ride to work.

Bicycle parking and racks updates

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

bike parking around the New Center in DetroitBike parking has been a hot topic of late.

In Ann Arbor and Hamtramck

Both cities’ efforts to promote bicycling were mentioned in this recent metromode article, Cheap Ways To Revitalize Your Downtown. And both cities are looking to improve bicycle parking — a hot topic this past couple weeks within the city of Detroit.

In Detroit

We recently mentioned a rekindled bike parking discussion with the Detroit Tigers that was initiated last year by Wheelhouse Detroit.

There’s also been discussion at various meetings that not only recognized the importance of improved, safe, and convenient bike parking, but included some steps we can take.

It’s been noted that bike parking within parking structures could be a very good option. And they’re shelted too. The city owns 11 structures. We probably need to not only add bike racks but produce signage so bicyclists can find them.

And rather than buy racks, why not solicit local designs and local builders to create them as is done in Buffalo, New York? Let’s keep the money local and create green jobs.

We’re also looking to pull together some recommendations on bike racks, including designs and location. Many cities have such recommendations, so Detroit’s will likely take the best of those.

Reduced Motor Vehicle Parking Requirements

And, Detroit’s city planning commission is revising motor vehicle parking zoning requirements and may include language for bike parking. ?We’ve suggested that businesses along bike routes might be required to have fewer vehicle parking spaces. And perhaps space requirements could be reduced for any business so long as they provide bike parking. (By the way, providing bike parking is easy points for LEED certification too.)

A Washington Post article, Don’t Build Parking, And They’ll Come–Without Cars, while primarily addressing transit and walking, certainly applies to cycling as well.

Free or nearly free parking induces car usage, the planners say… Don’t build the parking, and residents will be more likely to buy into a transit- and walking-based urban life.

In New York City

The New York City recently took steps to help improve bike parking within some buildings. They also have a great design guide, which we’ve previously mentioned which includes specifications for bicycle racks. And finally, kudos to NYC for this map showing nearly all of their CityRacks.

Great Lakes Metro Summit in Buffalo

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

img_2735Last week the Great Lakes Metros Summit was held in Buffalo, New York.

And to quote Artvoice, this event was where “activists and policymakers from around the Great Lakes gathered to share homegrown solutions to Rust Belt problems.”

At the Summit, I moderated a panel on Complete Streets and Transit while also providing a brief overview status of Detroit’s greenways and non-motorized transportation based on my work for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA).

Our panel included Rory Neuner from the Michigan Environmetnal Council and a League of Michigan Bicyclists director. Rory is very active with the Walk and Bike Lansing campaign. They are working on a Complete Streets policy for Lansing.

If you are a Lansing resident, please visit their web site to learn how you can help make Lansing “accessible and walk & bike friendly!”

Next on the panel was Dom Nozzi of Richmond, Virginia. Dom has an invaluable web site devoted to making cities more bikeable and walkable. His four-part speech from Bloomington, Indiana really defines a vision for how we need to prioritize transportation for people first rather than cars.

After the summit, I had a chance to talk with Dom. One interesting point he made is that many people are stuck with outdated transportation paradigms, primarily that mobility — high speeds, wide roads — is the primary goal. They’ve committed themselves to this paradigm and cannot step back to view the bigger picture. They are often unconvinceable. An advocates best hope is they will be replaced or retire.

And also on the panel was Justin Booth, who certainly plays a major role in all the good things happening in Buffalo with respect to biking.

Justin created Buffalo’s Blue Bicycle program, a low-cost, simple, innovative means for sharing bikes across town.

Also, Justin helped create the Rusty Chain beer program here a portion of sales from a custom locally-brewed beer go towards bike racks — an example of which is shown next to Justin in the above photo. To date the program has generated $10,000, which has been matched with city and federal funding (CMAQ). As a result, businesses within Buffalo’s Central Business District can request bicycle racks which are installed for free.

Buffalo recently installed 110 bicycle racks! Justin noted that the racks are custom designed and made locally.

That’s something worth raising a glass to.