More bike racks will soon be coming to a downtown Birmingham sidewalk near you.
At its Monday night meeting, the Birmingham City Commission approved a plan to install 42 permanent bike racks, as well as five temporary bike racks, throughout downtown Birmingham, at city parks and .
The installation is the first phase of a three-part project to beef up the number of bicycle racks throughout the city. Currently, there are two bike racks outside the library and at a few more at city parks.
The final plan calls for bike racks to be installed at more than 80 sites throughout the city over three years. According to City Planner Sue Weckerle, the second and third phase of the project will involve installation of additional bike racks in spring 2013 and 2014, depending on feedback from the city.
The costs for the first phase of the project, which will begin this year, are capped at $15,000, Weckerle said.
Why more bike racks? According to Weckerle, the limited amount of bike parking has resulted in bikes locked to everything from lamp posts to city parking meters.
The hope, Weckerle said, is that the new inverted U racks encourages cyclists to park their bikes safely and correctly.
"I think it would send a strong message to folks with bikes if we gave them a place to be," she said.
The temporary bike racks would also provide overflow parking in busy, pedestrian-heavy areas, including space adjacent to the outdoor dining decks at , , and the Birmingham Farmers Market.
Commissioners were unanimously in favor of the plan, though there was a minor hiccup over the color of the bike racks. The recommended coating for the racks, which are manufactured by the Grand Rapids-based Cycle-Safe, will not damage, dent or scratch bicycles and does not rust. However, the coating only comes in black — nearly all outdoor fixtures in Birmingham are painted the iconic Birmingham green.
Commissioners eventually went with the black and in going forward with the plan, Mayor Mark Nickita said the bike racks are a good move for the city.
"This is going to send a strong message that we're in support of alternative travel," Nickita said.
Bike racks to be installed at dozens of locations the first year
During the first phase of the project, permanent bike racks will be installed in front of or near the following businesses, or at the following locations. In some cases, more than one bike rack will be installed at one location.
- (210 S. Old Woodward)
- (northwest corner of Old Woodward and Merrill)
- (southwest corner of Old Woodward and Merrill)
- (154 S. Old Woodward)
- (108 S. Old Woodward)
- (183 N. Old Woodward)
- Baci Salon and Spa (101 Willits)
- The crossing island at Old Woodward and Oakland
- (470 N. Old Woodward)
- Parking Lot No. 6 on North Old Woodward Avenue
- (444 S. Old Woodward)
- (401 S. Old Woodward)
- (401 S. Old Woodward)
- Near the main entrance of the office building at 555 S. Old Woodward
- (214 W. Maple)
- (284 W. Maple)
- (corner of Henrietta and Maple)
- (288 E. Maple)
- (370 E. Maple)
- (corner of Pierce and West Maple)
- (corner of Pierce and Martin)
- (101 Townsend)
- (230 Merrill)
- Surnow Company (320 Martin)
- (at the Martin/Henrietta entrance, the Bates/Martin entrance and the Bates/Townsend entrance)