In its continuing efforts to become a more bike-friendly community, the city of Tucson will provide free bike racks to existing businesses.
Additionally, if a business is on a public right of way, such as a sidewalk, the city will also install the racks free of charge.
"We want to make it easy and attractive to get on your bike for transportation purposes," said Ann Chanecka, the city's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. "Having free parking close to the door of your destination is a proven way to attract people out of their cars and onto bikes."
The Department of Transportation's bicycle-parking distribution policy was formally approved last week, and has already garnered attention from at least four businesses, Chanecka said.
"The idea behind this program is for existing businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, doctor's offices - any business lacking in bike parking can request free racks," she said.
New businesses are exempt from the program because they are required to provide bike parking on their own, and have been for several years. The number of racks a new business is required to install depends on the type of land use. For instance, a manufacturer has fewer parking requirements than a restaurant, she said.
Yoga Oasis received eight bike racks from the city at its downtown location, and has inquired about getting them for its two other locations.
Many attendees of Yoga Oasis' classes are cyclists, and love having a safe place to park their bikes, said studio manager Rachel King.
The yoga studio offers an incentive program that gives a free class for every 10 times a student cycles, jogs or takes the bus to class. Having the bike racks motivates more people to participate, King said.
The city's policy states that bike racks must be placed within 50 feet of the public entrance to a building - a requirement both existing and new businesses must adhere to. Chanecka said having the racks positioned close to the entrance makes bicycles more secure.
King said the new racks are durable and positioned right in front of the building. "They're visible, so people feel confident it will still be there when they get out."
Taking advantage of the city's program has saved Yoga Oasis money. "At $100 to $150 per rack, you save a lot of money when you get a handful of them," King said.
The city is purchasing about $21,000 in bike racks, Chanecka said. "We will offer bike racks through this program for as long as we have the racks and/or the ability to purchase more of them."
The program is funded through a federal grant that helps encourage cycling, walking and other alternate transportation modes, Chanecka said.
There is currently no cap on the number of racks a business can request. Chanecka said if a business needs multiple racks and can prove it will use them, it will receive them.
She's hoping more businesses will take advantage of the program.
"I'm hoping when cyclists go to a business that does not have bike parking, they will say 'hey, there's a program to get racks, and you just have to install them,' " Chanecka said. "I think it's up to businesses, but also up to cyclists, to advertise the program to make sure we're getting racks out to the areas that need it."
Business owners interested in getting free bike racks from the city of Tucson should call Ann Chanecka at 837-6691, or email her at Ann.Chanecka@tucsonaz.gov
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4137.