Bike Parking on a typical day at Whole Foods in East Liberty
Next stop: City Council
Pittsburgh cyclists are one step closer to more and better bike parking throughout the City. The Planning Commission unanimously passed (with a few minor tweaks) the Proposed Bicycle Parking Ordinance today.
Basically, buildings are often erected or refurbished without any thought put into where residents, employees and customers can safely park a bicycle. There are, however, lots of rules in the big zoning book that say how many automobile parking spaces must accompany buildings. The book also has a page for Bike Parking, however it is blank. This proposed ordinance is an “Engineering” component of the Mayor’s “Four E’s” initiatives, and we have been working with Zoning and the Mayor’s Bike/Ped Coordinator to get this section written. What this proposed ordinance states is that anytime a new building is built, or there is a change or expansion in use, building owners must put in a bike parking. There is also an incentive component to the ordinance, whereby a developer can replace up to 30% of their car parking requirement with bicycle parking.
Today’s public meeting attracted residents and developers that gave testimony in support of the ordinance. No one came to testify against it. Some testified that the ordinance can make it easier for development because many older building in the city are so densely packed that they physically cannot include the required automobile parking without obtaining a variance, thus making them difficult or unable to be developed. Installing bicycle parking spaces in lieu of automobile parking spaces can actually make it easier, and cheaper for a developer.
Another person gave testimony about how she prefers to shop in business districts that have secure bike parking, so she knows her bike will be there when she returns. She was followed by a downtown employee who talked about how many people in his office bike to work, yet have little secure bike parking.
The planning commission then went into a discussion about land use and how creating an environment that is friendly to bicyclists is actually a wise use of space in such a dense city like Pittsburgh. Bicycles can often be parked in spaces that couldn’t fit a car anyway, and a Commissioner followed by saying that he was “in support of anything that makes bicycles more handy,” with the caveat that there should be more efforts made to promote safe and responsible cycling.
There was a collective sigh of relief once the unanimous “yea” vote came in. Now that the proposed ordinance has passed the Planning Commission, it now needs to go to City Council, and then back to the Mayor’s desk for a final signature.
Stay tuned, we’ll let you know when the ordinance goes to Council. In the meantime, feel free to write or email your Councilperson and ask them to support the proposed ordinance when it comes through.
Not a member of Bike Pittsburgh? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: www.bike-pgh.org/membership