On my way up Mississippi Street today I passed by a brand new, on-street bike parking facility at N. Beech Street, right in front of Amnesia Brewing. It’s very exciting to see this because it’s been in the works for over two years!
Ever since a similar bike-parking facility was put up in front of The Fresh Pot at Mississippi and Shaver Streets back in September of 2004, members of the Boise neighborhood and bike advocates have been pressing PDOT to install more of them.
Kay Newell, who owns Sunlan Lighting on Mississippi Street, is a passionate Boise neighborhood activist who used her position as transportation chair on the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee (ICURAC) to spearhead the effort to make these racks a reality.
I spoke with Newell this morning and she said after the racks at The Fresh Pot went up several businesses contacted her to get more of them. Newell secured funding for three more racks and It has taken two years of lobbying and waiting for PDOT engineers to approve the design to finally get to this point.
She said they have broad community support,
“All the businesses in the immediate area loved the idea…and Amnesia (like Fresh Pot) graciously stepped up and committed to maintain them.”
Newell — who lives in the same building she runs her business from — is an unlikely advocate for on-street bike parking. She doesn’t ride a bike, nor does she have any plans to do so in the future. She’s one of those rare people who sees the Big Picture of the transportation and traffic safety puzzle. She said,
“I’m a person who will never ride a bike…I’m just an old lady. But I’ve got a kid who rides, and my neighbors ride. I just feel that whether you’re in a car, on foot, in a big rig, whatever…all forms of transportation deserve the same access to businesses.”
She also said these racks improve traffic safety,
“These things are great for everyone in the community. They give more visibility to cars pulling onto the street, they make it safer for pedestrians to cross, and I like them much more than curb extensions…I hate those things!”
Newell added that there are two other racks just like this one awaiting a permanent home. One of them will go up nearby, at SCRAP on N. Williams Street. And the other one? It’s just waiting for someone to request it.
Newell says she has gotten ICURAC to commit to setting aside funds (they cost $2,000 a piece) to install three a year, but if no one requests them, the money will go unspent.
“I have dreams of seeing one at the Library on Killingsworth Street, but the request must come from them, or another local business. I don’t decide where they, I’ve just figured out how to put my mouth where their money is.”
If you live in the Interstate Urban Renewal Zone and would like to request one of these bike-parking facilities, contact Kay Newell at (503) 281-0453 or Stuart Gwin at PDOT, (503) 823-7788.
For more bike parking porn, check out all my photos of these new racks….now let’s all meet at Amnesia for beer and sausage to show them how much we love the new bike parking!