Monday, December 14, 2009
Pittsburgh City Council this week is expected to approve an ordinance that would require nearly all new commercial development in the city to include bike racks. The bill changes the city parking code and will include change of use requests. Bike-pedestrian coordinator for the city, Steve Patchen, says the goal is to have the racks on private property, but the developer can get a variance to put it on nearby land, including a sidewalk. Patchen says the city has a preferred rack, but anything that provides enough support for the bike and a place for a lock can be approved. In an effort to make the ordinance more developer-friendly, the city has included an option to replace up to 30% of the parking spots required by the original ordinance with bike parking spaces. Patchen says there is a pent-up demand for the racks. He points to recent efforts to place racks in business districts, “After we put them up, the next day there are bikes on them.” Beyond that he says it is a symbolic move. He says Pittsburgh can add bike lanes and bike routes to the city, but if there is no place to lock your bike once you get to your destination, this will never be a bike-friendly city.