With City Council’s resounding “yea” vote, the City of Pittsburgh now has bike rack installation rules similar to other cities with bike friendly status. Reflective of a new found commitment to transform Pittsburgh into a “world class city” of bikable and walkable communities, Mayor Ravenstahl’s ordinance will allow for bicycle racks to be installed in the public right-of-way by property and business owners through a simple and expedited process. This also marks the first major accomplishment for Steve Patchan, the recently hired Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, a city position created by Mr. Ravenstahl and BikePGH. The Mayor hopes to swiftly improve bicycle and pedestrian conditions in the City and plans on applying for “bicycle friendly status” in 2010.
As part of the ordinance, applicants are required to demonstrate the rack’s conformance to the City of Pittsburgh Bicycle Parking Standards. The permit fee, regardless of the number of proposed racks, shall be only $25.
“We’re seeing more and more people riding bikes in Pittsburgh than ever before. It’s important that we show residents and our bicycle community that we are serious about Pittsburgh’s role as a bike-friendly and green City.” -Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
This ordinance is in-line with the Citywide Bicycle Plan’s goals to “increase the quantity and quality of end-of-trip bicycle facilities, such as parking and commuter facilities.”
One of BikePGH’s first initiatives back in 2004 was to fabricate and install the iconic Three Rivers Bike Racks. Through this process, it became painfully clear how difficult, if not impossible it was to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and install these simple public resources. It seemed ridiculous that while other cities were encouraging businesses to install bike racks, Pittsburgh was making the process borderline impossible. Despite some resistance at the time from ex-Councilman Gene Riccardi, Councilman Bill Peduto helped write the first set of rules that enabled the installation of public bike racks in the City. Now, after several years of a successful program and public buy-in, combined with an explosion of cyclists, the rules have been further simplified to be more in line with other bicycle-friendly cities.
In addition to this new ordinance, Bill Peduto urged council to review his proposal to install bike racks with advertisements on parking meters. The revenue generated from the ads “would go back to the Parking Authority to help in its enforcement of residential permit parking,” which currently suffers from a lack of resources, he said.