Eau Claire (WQOW) - An idea from an Eau Claire commission encourages a more bike-friendly city.
News 18 has been looking into a proposal that has already led to a good discussion about the future of Eau Claire. Essentially, the proposal would require bike parking for new buildings.
Bob Eierman, the chair of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission, says, "There's a lot of people who ride bikes as their primary mode of transportation and they routinely struggle to find places to put the bikes."
A couple years ago, the Eau Claire Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, or BPAC, counted the number of parking spaces, for bikes in the city. There are about five thousand. Two thousand of those, are on the university's campus.
"There's not a lot of bike parking and a lot of big areas in the city have been built for car transportation, there's not easy ways to get bikes through some of those places. It turns out that when they look at cities that are trying to be bike friendly, what they call bike terminal facilities, what they call where you put the bike, at the end of your ride is one of the key things that limits how much people are willing to ride their bikes," says Eierman.
Because of this, the commission started work on an ordinance that would be a part of the city's comprehensive plan. It would require new buildings to include bike parking as a part of their site plans.
Eierman says, "This bike parking ordinance is a result of that plan, it fits in with the overall concept of what the city leaders say we should be doing as far as transportation issues."
There are some members of the plan commission who are concerned with the extra work businesses would have to put in if this were a requirement.
Dave Strobel, a member of the Eau Claire Plan Commission, says, "One of the things besides providing the parking, you also have to maintain it, you have to shovel them in the winter time. You know, who's going to enforce that? Who's going to do the upkeep on those racks once they are there? I would prefer that they would make it voluntary for a year and as the plans come forward, see how everybody reacts to it and see if we can base it on the plan that was presented by the group and just see how it goes. If it goes fine, than make it a law."
The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce sent, what it called a letter of concern to the City Council. It would prefer to encourage businesses to add the parking rather than mandate it.
The next step in the process is to hold a public hearing on the proposal.
News 18 expects the public hearing will be held in September. The proposal would have to clear the plan commission and then be approved by the city council.
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