Help Get more bike racks in Pittsburgh – Public Hearing on Very Important Bike Parking Ordinance: Tues Sept 1


Over 200 bicycles were parked in 8 automobile parking spaces at our BikeFest Kickoff Party.  While this has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance, it does demonstrate the amount of real estate necessary to park an automobile as compared to a bicycle

Help get more bike racks in Pittsburgh!

Give Testimony on Tuesday Sept 1, 2:00 pm

A couple weeks ago, we reported about an important Bike Parking Ordinance that will be going before the Planning Commission.  Well, the date is set, and we need you to show up to give testimony as to why this is important.  It’s especially important if you are a building owner/manager, an architect, or represent a development firm.

Basically, there are 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.  We have been working with Zoning and the Mayor’s Bike/Ped Coordinator to get this section written, similar to other bike-friendly cities. What this proposed ordinance states is that anytime a new building is built, or there is a change in occupancy, building owners must put in a bike rack. Diana Nelson Jones, of the Post-Gazette writes, “It’s a modest proposal – one space every 20,000 square feet [for commercial property]- and flexible enough to allow the developer to put the spaces outside the development.”  Modest indeed, when compared to the common car equation of one parking space per 250 square feet. The ordinance also has guidelines on where to place the bike racks.

One other main component to the proposed rule is to provide an incentive for developers to provide bike parking in lieu of car parking (it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to provide a space for a bike than a car). Just two months ago, Philadelphia passed a similar ordinance in one of Mayor Nutter’s first acts after announcing his ambitious sustainability and greening initiatives.  If Pittsburgh follows suit, we’ll also be ahead of the curve nationally.

This week, even Slate reported that this ordinance is in the works here in Pittsburgh.

Anytime you go to a building, and can’t find a place to lock your bike, the reason is that there is currently no incentive for developers to substitute bike parking for car parking, and no zoning requirement to do so.  This ordinance changes that. This ordinance will also benefit employees who ride to work by helping to give them a safe and secure place to lock, and make sure it’s there to ride home on.  The Slate article goes on to say that “people would be much less likely to drive…if they knew their expensive car was likely to be stolen, vandalized, or taken away by police. And yet this is what [is] being asked of bicycle commuters, save those lucky few who work in a handful of buildings that provide indoor bicycle parking. Surveys have shown that the leading deterrent to potential bicycle commuters is lack of a safe, secure parking spot on the other end.” If the City of Pittsburgh is serious about “greening” and creating a bicycle friendly environment, this ordinance is an integral part of making that happen.

If this ordinance passes the Planning Commission, it will then go to City Council for approval.  If it passes Council, it goes to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s desk for a signature.

Tuesday, Sept 1, 2:00 pm
John P. Robin Civic Building, 1st Floor
200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh PA

How you can help!

  • Download and Read the ordinance
  • Go to the meeting on September 1 and testify why bike parking is important, how you can benefit from having access to or providing more bike parking.  Personal stories are always great
  • Ask a friend or co-worker to join you
  • Documentation is important.  If you can’t make it to this, please write a letter of testimony, and send it to the Planning Commission.  You can send letters to: Department of City Planning // c/o Susan Tymoczko // 200 Ross St, 3rd Floor // Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  • Contact your councilperson and ask them to support the ordinance

Here is the official announcement:

Land Use Control File Nos. C-723
A copy of the proposed text amendment may be reviewed at the Zoning Office on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St., Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed text amendments on:
Tuesday, September 1, 2009 @ 2:00 p.m.
John P. Robin Civic Building, 1st Floor
200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh PA
Testimony presented by individuals will be limited to 3 minutes each. Testimony presented by a spokesperson representing an organization will be limited to 5 minutes each, and the spokesperson shall provide a “Letter of Authorization” from the appropriate officers. Prepared comments may be presented in lieu of testimony, and testimony should not be read from a prepared statement but may be summarized as testimony with the prepared statement handed to the Commission for their review.

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:

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