Bike Parking and Plants: Everywhere For Everyone

Bike Parking and Plants: Everywhere For Everyone

I just found a new website tonight called Materialicious. It’s about architecture and design. Apparently you can post anything from their site on your blog so I will thank them (THANKS!) for that and allow some of their collected work show you some of my dreams for the present and future (as soon as the next five seconds!).

So I want this, everywhere. Just perfect:

I love plants and I love bikes and I like when more plants mean more bikes and more bikes mean more plants as they do with this clever invention that was nominated for the The Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year 2010’.

PlantLock – “provides attractive & secure bicycle parking in the home garden, at work and in public places.”

Great! I need bike parking everywhere I go and I want plants everywhere I am.

These could line city streets all over. The could also be on residential streets where bicycle parking is most often absent. Clean up the air with more plants and provide parking everywhere so biking anywhere will be an option for everyone.

BikeFest Party Tomorrow!

BikeFest Party Tomorrow!

Get your body in something beautiful and get down to the Pittsburgh Opera tomorrow night for the Kickoff Party for BikeFest. Not in Pittsburgh? Get here.

Officially, this is the biggest fundraiser for Bike Pittsburgh, the dashing and appropriately named bicycle advocacy organization for the city of Pittsburgh that is both my employer and favorite non-profit group.

Unofficially this is going to be one of the most fun parties of the summer filled with eye candy in the form of people, bicycles, and prizes.

There’s a silent auction which has tons of cool items, including this painting of a burly Triplets of Belleville-style fellow churning up Pittsburgh’s Canton Ave, one of the two steepest urban streets  in the world (37% grade, yeow! You’ll also want to check out that video of the Dirty Dozen ride).

I want it!

Credit to Lou Fineberg for this strangely angled shot

This will be a superb spot for people watching, so get out your party best, get on your bicycle and ride it down to the Opera like the 700 other people we’ll be bike valeting.

There’s a ton of other auction items too like bicycles (I think we’re raffling / auctioning five), custom bags and hats, swank vacations, etc. You can find it all here or you can just show up because you want to support the only organization in Pittsburgh that works to make the city safer to bicycle for transportation for everyone from 8 to 80. Bike Pittsburgh’s only been around for 8 years now, and only had staff for five years but already has nearly 1300 members.

Since it’s a Kickoff Party, it’s gotta be starting something, right?

BikeFest! It’s the 10 day long bicycle party of Pittsburgh with over 60 rides and events planned by bicyclists for bicyclists. Check it out. Time management is going to be key to make it to all the events. Check out the calendar now and I’ll be doing some updates here and on the Bike Pittsburgh blog, so stay very tuned. Not used to riding bikes? Dust off that two wheeler, pull it out of your garage, friends, or rent one because there are plenty of beginner rides that are ideal for getting accustomed to riding in the city. This is the time to ride.

I love bicycles!

Update: Pittsburgh Approves Bike Parking Proposal

Update: Pittsburgh Approves Bike Parking Proposal

Today the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved the bike parking ordinance which has been floating around the city since last September.

Follow the riveting saga and re-live each breathtaking moment!

The City Planning Commission approves bike parking ordinance, measure to go before City Council and open for a public hearing, scheduled for February 9. Details about the ordinance are available here.

Next, the constantly falling snow prompted the Council to postpone the hearing. This is the same snow that covered bike trails for weeks after it was cleared off roads.

The hearing is rescheduled for March 9, unfortunately coinciding with the National Bike Summit in Washington, meaning that the entire staff of Bike Pittsburgh, the advocates that have been working on this legislation for quite a long time, will be out of town and unable to attend.

Read more

Pittsburgh City Council Likely to Endorse Bike Parking Changes

Pittsburgh City Council Likely to Endorse Bike Parking Changes

(Update: The City Council passed this ordinance on March 17.)

A public hearing was held Tuesday, March 9 to consider the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to include bike parking in all new and re-zoned commercial construction (based on square footage).

The Council was expected to vote on the ordinance yesterday, fully six months after the Planning Commission initially endorsed the change,  but two Council members, Natalia Rudiak and Bruce Kraus requested an additional week to investigate. At the hearing Tuesday, Kraus said “I want to see this happen”.

I am Completely in Support of this Legislation

The ordinance also received the very vocal endorsement of District 7 Councilman Patrick Dowd who said it amounts to “small steps that would have a tremendous impact”. Dowd told the council and the assembled supportive public that he is “completely in support of this legislation”.

Read more

Pittsburgh Bike Parking Hearing Today!

Pittsburgh Bike Parking Hearing Today!

Due to 40 inches of snow that fell on Pittsburgh last month during the previously scheduled Public Hearing on Pittsburgh’s Bike Parking Ordinance, the hearing has been rescheduled for today. The measure unanimously passed the Planning Commission and now faces the City Council before heading to Mayor Ravenstahl’s desk.

Unfortunately the hearing was rescheduled during the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC meaning that the staff of Bike Pittsburgh, the city’s tireless bicycle and livable street advocates, will be out of town.

Now it is up to city residents, cyclists, developers, and business owners to speak up and demand that the City Council pass the Bike Parking Ordinance which is “integral to continue on the road toward a green, sustainable, and active city,” according to Bike Pittsburgh.

March 9, 2010
1:30 pm
City Council Chambers
5th Floor City-County Building

Be There … or continue locking your bike to trees and trashcans.

Pittsburgh Bike Parking Hearing Canceled

Pittsburgh Bike Parking Hearing Canceled

Due to another large pile of snow expected to fall on the city today, Pittsburgh’s bike parking hearing has been canceled and has not yet been rescheduled.

Most of the city remains untouched by plows from last Friday’s 21-inch snowstorm. Driving is difficult, parking impossible, cycling a superhuman endeavor.

While my bike is certainly not prepared for this weather, I did see a few cyclists yesterday on Penn Ave in the Strip and I commend them!

I’ll update here when the hearing has been rescheduled.

“Racking Up Support” in Next American City

“Racking Up Support” in Next American City

This is an article I wrote about Pittsburgh’s new bike Parking ordinance which was originally published by Next American City, a magazine simply about “Building Better Cities.”

In Pittsburgh, you might soon see less of this. Photo by Ollie Crafoord.

I’ve locked my bicycle to trees, trashcans, stop signs and street signs, fences, gates and benches. These impromptu bike-parking methods are common in most American cities, as the number of cyclists multiplies at a rate exceeding the still-modest increase of bike parking spaces available. But there are encouraging signs that cities are beginning to address the growing demand for secure bike parking as greater numbers of city dwellers choose the bicycle as their primary form of transportation.

Tom Vanderbilt argued in Slate magazine that safe, secure bike parking is the number one improvement that could make the transition from car-friendly cities to bike-friendly cities, and Pittsburgh has been on the move in the past year to increase the amount of bike parking available. It’s easy to spot the official nods to the city’s cyclists: iconic bike racks that demonstrate Pittsburgh’s strong connection to the three rivers that define its landscape.

According to Pop City, Pittsburgh doubled its bike parking late last year by installing 200 additional racks, providing 400 more spaces throughout the city. And last year, a measure unanimously passed the city Planning Commission that mandates a minimum amount of bike parking for new construction. The City Council will vote on the issue on February 9.

Nonresidential buildings up to 20,000 square feet are required to install one space that provides parking for two bicycles. An office of 20,000 square feet holds roughly 60 employees, which means that the new regulations will mandate bike parking for about 3 percent of commuters. While this exceeds the current rate of commuting by bicycle (just over 1 percent), the number of Pittsburghers choosing this sustainable form of transportation is on the rise. From 2006 to 2007, the number of bike commuters in the city grew a startling 37.5 percent, and the city is taking steps with this new regulation to stay slightly ahead of the curve.

Under the proposed legislation, developers are required to install bike parking based on square footage, but are permitted considerable flexibility. If they choose, developers could substitute bike parking for up to 30 percent of car parking. While some initially expressed concern that reducing mandatory car parking would be detrimental to business, Stephen Patchan, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, predicted that the measure would not hinder development in the city. Speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Patchan said, “The requirements we set forth still encourage development but would provide expanded infrastructure.” Interestingly, this aspect of the legislation could help to create alliances between cyclists and developers; by exceeding the minimum requirements for safe bicycle parking, developers can support this sustainable form of transportation while cutting costs and conserving valuable space since one car space is considered the equivalent to two bicycle parking spaces.

I spoke to Erok Boerer of Bike Pittsburgh, the city’s bicycle advocacy organization, about the impact the proposed legislation will have on the city’s current and future cycling community. He emphasized the correlation between investing in bike parking and creating a city that is friendly and welcoming to cyclists: “Making a city “bike-friendly” means just that—friendly to bicyclists. Taking that small step to help make sure that our bikes are there when we need them shows that they view the bicycle as the serious mode of transportation that it is.”

“When you look around most cities,” he added, “and see how much of our public road space is dedicated to storing private vehicles in parking spaces, it sends a message that the city is car-friendly. The same can be said for bike racks.”

To encourage healthier and more sustainable cities, it is essential that we support cycling as a valid form of transportation and that our cities do the same by investing in infrastructure that makes biking safe and secure.