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January 28, 2009

Peduto Proposes Pittsburgh Bike Racks

City Councilman Bill Peduto proposes mounting bike racks with advertisements onto existing parking meters, per the Post-Gazette.

As a bicylist, this is awesome: any time we have a proposal for more bike racks it's a great thing. Almost anything that supports or encourages bicycle riding is beneficial: one less car, one less parking space, and it's a way for somebody to get to work.

Too often when we think of bicyclists and bike commuters we think of skinny people with high-end bikes, high-viz clothing, water-bladder backpacks, mean-looking sunglasses, strange shoes with cleats, and wearing - let's call it what it is- tights. I mean, Batman and Robin blend better than these folks.

But Actually, the majority of bike commuters are what Bicycle magazine refers to as invisible riders, the people who ride bikes because that's what they have to do to get through the week in the rough economy they're working in. Those riders are working.

We see the high-viz skinny guy, but the half-dozen working guys on Huffys and dark jackets tend to blend and our awareness doesn't lock on to them. It's an economic and class filter.

I applaud Peduto's initiative. Bravo, Bill Peduto. Two minor kvetches: the advertising is going to look tacky, and when the outsourced solution provider folds we're going to revert back to where we are now.

Here's an alternative: give a green-light to business owners sponsoring bike racks in front of their establishments, have city crews install them free, and then the businesses will get to choose whether to have a bike rack out front, and people who appreciate the bike racks will favor the businesses that took the extra step. With the Three Rivers Bike Racks from Bike-Pgh, the design invokes Pittsburgh's iconic Three Rivers, and the quiet colors blend better than garish advertising. And it'll be a Pittsburgh project rather than a San Diego startup.

I'm just saying.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the advertisment generating a strong revenue stream to improve future bike programs that could lead to more trails, signage and information campaign encouraging the use of bicyles across the city. Money is tight for the city and to install bike racks all over the city could cost $100'000's if any significant number of racks are to be placed.

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