Contacts: Matt Laible, City of Minneapolis, 612-673-2786
Susan Priem, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, 612-568-6227

New parking meters also offer new opportunities for bike parking

New parking sign posts being fitted with bike racks with help from local businesses and individuals

May 18, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) New parking meters in Minneapolis are doing more than just allowing drivers to pay by credit card—they’re also providing extra parking for cyclists. In early May, the city began retrofitting new parking sign posts in the Uptown and Lyn-Lake business districts with specially designed bike racks capable of accommodating two bicycles each. As part of this program, businesses and individuals can sponsor additional racks on parking sign posts at locations they choose. Although most of this year’s racks are already spoken for, there are a limited number still available for sponsorship this year.

Many of Minneapolis’ new parking meters are multi-space meters, which means that drivers pay for parking at a pay station on each block. The old parking meters at each parking space have been replaced by sign posts that mark the space number. Although the sign posts alone don’t make good bike places to lock bikes, they can be outfitted with a rack  capable of handling two bicycles, providing much needed parking in well-traveled areas without increasing sidewalk clutter with new bike racks.

Recognizing the opportunity to expand bike parking options, the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition have partnered with area businesses, neighborhood organizations, and individuals to outfit select meter posts with new racks. Half the funding for the racks comes from the City, and the other half is provided by a sponsor business or individual.

If a business contributes $50 for a rack, the city matches the contribution and installs a two-bike rack at a parking sign post of the contributor’s choice. Since the racks use existing sign poles, it provides a cost savings to business owners who might have been thinking about installing their own stand-alone racks.

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition has helped make business owners aware of the sponsorship opportunity, while collecting pledges and helping businesses coordinate installation with the City. The City is working with the Minneapolis-based Dero Bike Rack Company, which designed the racks.

The Calhoun Area Residents Group, Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association and Lyndale neighborhood associations have also provided matching grants for interested businesses. So far, more than 80 racks have been designated in the Uptown/Lyndale area. Similar efforts are moving forward for the Downtown West and Downtown East neighborhoods as well as the West Bank, Stadium Village and Dinkytown areas around the University of Minnesota.

The City of Minneapolis has operated a Bicycle Rack Cost Share Program since the mid 1990s. The Cost Share Program has been responsible for the installation of thousands of bike racks across Minneapolis. Some funding is still available for this year, so businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring a rack can learn more at mplsbike.org/content/sponsor-bike-rack. For information about the City’s Bicycle Rack Cost Share Program, visit http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/parking/bicycles_bikeparking-rack.

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Published May 18, 2012