Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 Points Merchants Say Screw It & Install Bike Rack

When it comes to bicycle infrastructure it is very safe to state that Jacksonville is lacking. That lacking infrastructure is not limited to bike lanes and paths, but also includes bicycle parking. It is also beyond impossible to get the city to respond to the demands of the public when it is pointed what and where it is lacking and no one is more aware of this than the merchants of 5 Points.

Take a walk thru 5 Points shopping district just about anytime and it's completely within the norm to find bikes locked to just anything that will stand still long enough. Add to the narrow pedestrian unfriendly sidewalks that line the storefronts stacks of bikes and mobility around the area can get pretty cramped.

Merchants in 5 Points have been asking the city for over 2 years to improve the situation and put bike racks in. After finally having been given the run-a-round around by the city for the last time, the merchants said "screw it" and purchased a rack themselves and installed it.

While one rack will not do much to alleviate the bike parking situation in 5 Points. It is a start and welcome sight.

Is this rack legal and will the bike rack stay? According to Jacksonville Municipal Code, no:

Sec. 616.102. - Bicycle racks on sidewalks.

No person shall place any bicycle rack on any sidewalk or in the space between the sidewalk and the roadway of any street without obtaining a permit from the Council for that purpose. The Council may grant a permit under such terms and conditions as to it shall seem advisable for the protection of the interests of the City. Violation of this Section shall constitute a class C offense.

As historically inattentive as the city is to bicycle infrastructure I doubt anything will come of the improvements the merchants have made and I think that if the city won't respond to a communities needs. Then the communities are within their rights to do what they can to meet those needs themselves.


Jeremiah Russell said...

I say the "council" can go f*&k themselves. You're right, if they won't take care of what needs to be done, then we as part of our community have every right and responsibility to do what the "council" won't.

Anonymous said...

Kind of a negative story. Not enough bike racks, sidewalk to narrow and City unresponsive. Portland became a bike mecca because the people took matters into their own hands, they thought outside of the box and they didn't spend their time and effort complaining. Take heed.

City is not likely to respond to anything in the bike community if they are constantly be berated.

DragonSphere said...

I don't think we should attack the City but try to educate them on our needs by going to city council public meetings and letting our voices be heard. Write to the editor of the local new papers. Make up flyers and pass them out. I guess what I am saying is that there are more constructive ways than to sit on blogs complaining when you could be out doing. Get a petition going people.

Anonymous said...

I think the merchants are going to have to set the tone here. Perhaps they can attract some grant money for the purchase of bike racks. It would take some work but the effort may prove beneficial. Merchant's Association or maybe even Riverside Preservation Society might help. It sure beats sitting around complaining about it and swearing at the City Council.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the right people in the city even know that the racks were "requested". After all, the area just went thru an extensive right of way project, complete with landscaping, parking and sidewalk improvements...all planned WITH public participation. Where were your bike rack requests then? You are throwing stones at the wrong people again. Rather than participate in the process you elect to instead flog the result. Government can not listen if you do not speak when asked... and no, I doubt they read this rag looking for feedback.

Here's an your council person and ask them to sponsor an ordinance revising the city policy on racks installed on sidewalks... You could even go so far as to volunteer to write the draft.... Or you could hock crap T-shirts on the internet...the choice is yours.

Dacius said...

To anonymous on Oct 12.. My city council told me point blank that he has bigger concerns than where a bike is parked.

They only care about what can make them money or fame. Since bikers are the minority, we don't register as relevant.

Your negativity and assumptions are uncalled for. I personally think the merchants did the right thing. A permit is ridiculous. It is not grafitti, the bike rack is was there to help.