Bike Parking Plan Proposed In St. Louis

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St. Louis may be about to tackle a massive parking project, not for cars, but for bikes.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie's proposal requires bike parking at major construction projects. Bicycle riders say it's about time.

You know it's bad when you're in line at the Midwest Bicycle Swap and Expo in Collinsville, Sunday, and you cant find a place to park your bike. There was a bike locked up to a utility pole up front.

"Bike parking is always an issue," said Tom Harp, the owner of OMT's Wild Track Bikes, in Alton.

"It's [parking's] a problem,"said Dessa Paris, who rode her bike 25 miles from Missouri to the expo.

For a region that`s just endorsed a plan to extend its more than 200 mile bike route network to 1,000 miles in 20 years, the lack of bike parking becomes even more glaring.

Paul Wojciechoski of the Missouri Bike Federation helped author the Gateway Bike Plan.

"If you're really going to use bicycles for transportation; like we want to in the plan, you have to be able to park your bike when you get to where you're going," he said. "Otherwise, why would you want to ride your bike if there`s no place to park it."

"You usually find street signs or some kind of a fixture, then we have to find a bike lock to make sure everything's secured; a tree, usually city signs work the best," Paris said.

The St. Louis proposal was a hit at the Collinsville expo. It would require that all new construction or renovation of more than a $1 million include bike racks: 1 for every 50 workers, 10,000 square feet, or 6 dwelling units beyond after the first dozen.

That sounded great to Harp and Paris.

"It'd be great to have a bike rack or a bike place," Paris said. She said she did end up finding a rack around the back of the Gateway Center.

"It's been measured to the number of bikes you can park in one car spot, it's something like 12-15 bikes easy, in one spot," Harp said. "There's no reason why there can't be a designated area to allow people to securely park their bike in a location that they're not going to have to sit right in front of the window, keeping an eye on their bike the whole time while they're trying to enjoy their lunch."

"I was growing up I rode my bike everywhere. My dad did, too, when he was growing up. At some point, we forgot how to interact together," Wojciechowski said.

There was hope cities on both sides of the river will follow St. Louis' lead.

The ordinance would not require the old style bike racks, you may remember from the school yard. It would require racks that likely cost from $300-$500. Each rack would have to be able to handle at least two bikes.

Read about the proposed St. Louis bike plan here.

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