|Removable bike rack now located in Uptown|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012 11:57|
Uptown Normal has a new addition of removable bike racks in order to be eco-friendly and use fewer cars to help prevent air pollution in the town.
According to Mark Peterson, Normal city manager, the creators of the new bike racks in Uptown Normal were Mercy Davison, town planner, and Geoff Fruin, assistant city manager.
Peterson and Davison said the federal government provided the funding of the bike rack. The grant was called Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant.
“We could spend that on a variety of different projects that were all designed to save energy and we proposed to the federal government that we used part of our money for the bicycle racks throughout the community, particularly the Uptown,” Peterson said.
Installed last week, the newest bike rack in front of Jimmy John’s is located on the 200 block of North Street, Davison said.
“That’s the newest and most unusual [bike rack],” Davison said. “It occupies two motorcycle spaces.”
“Our goal is to continue to be more friendly to pedestrians and to bicyclists,” Peterson explained. “‘Why bicycles?’ Well number one, they’re great exercise, they’re good for the health of the community, they don’t generate pollution, and they don’t use any fossil fuels or power. So it’s really a way to make our community more sustainable.”
Davison added bikes are normally tied up to trees, benches, and railings of buildings.
“That basically starts clogging up the sidewalk and so this bike rack really opens the sidewalk back up and makes it easier for people to get through and gives people a good place to put their bike,” she said.
Aside from the new racks around Uptown, there is also going to be a vertical bike rack and a fix-it station, Davison said. This is another encourager for people to ride their bikes.
“We also have a fix-it station going in, which has bike tools on it for people that need to pump up the tire, or fix the tire, or lift their seat up,” she explained.
With the month of March seeing more rain, wind, and colder weather, these bike racks are not in as much of use as Davison expected. Regardless, up to half the rack has been taken up at one point and once the weather starts heating up, Peterson and Davison expect the whole bike rack to be taken up.
“We do hope to expand and put more racks in strategic places around the community to make all of these places bicycle friendly,” Peterson said.
The rack in front of Jimmy John's will be taken down in the winter, but will be set up again after winter months.
Peterson and Davison expect additional plans to build more bike racks around Normal. So far, the public has given positive reaction to the bike racks, and Peterson and Davison hope for the encouragement and positive attitudes, as well as bike use to continue.