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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Old Town Fort Collins adds On-Street Bike Parking

In a copyrighted story today, Trevor Hughes writes in the Coloradoan about new on-street bike parking in Old Town Fort Collins. (Although we don't like the lead sentence): "Depending on how you look at it, Old Town has either just lost five parking spaces or gained dozens more."

(Trevor, why not write: Downtown Fort Collins just got dozens of new, free parking spaces, thanks to New Belgium Brewing!)

Here's the rest of Trevor's story:

"Workers on Friday installed five permanent bright red bike racks in five downtown parking slots, blocking the slots off from vehicle use but offering dozens of new places where cyclists can lock up while patronizing downtown businesses.

The racks went up in front of Café Ardour, La Luz, the Rio Grande, Trailhead Tavern and Mugs Coffee Lounge. City bike coordinator Dave "DK" Kemp got signatures of support from business owners on each block, spending more than a year answering questions and addressing concerns.

"This makes a statement about our community," said McCabe Callahan, the owner of Mugs. "I think it's a great thing. It's encouraging more people to ride their bikes and not drive cars."

New Belgium Brewing Co. - the Fort Collins-based bike-friendly brewery - partnered with the city to create the racks. New Belgium provided the $10,000 necessary to design, build and install the racks, and the brewer's logo is featured on each. The racks,

designed by BHA Designs and built by M&R Fabricators, also resemble the city's new logo, with swooping curves topped by Horsetooth Rock.

The rack locations were chosen because the neighboring businesses see large numbers of cyclists al-ready. The existing racks outside Ardour, for example, are packed on weekend mornings; and on nice Saturday afternoons, bikes are locked to virtually every object in front of the Rio.

Kemp said moving the bike parking onto the street makes sidewalks more inviting and easier to travel, something Callahan said would help his business.

The racks also have the backing of the city's Downtown Development Authority. Executive Director Matt Robenalt said Kemp did a good job securing widespread support for the project.

"It's responding to a definite increase in bicycle traffic in downtown," Robenalt said. "Fort Collins is a cycling community. It's part of the lifestyle here."

On Friday morning, cyclist Sarah Uhl was one of the first riders to use the new rack outside La Luz. Uhl, originally from Philadelphia, said she's impressed with Fort Collins' commitment to cycling. Uhl works at New Belgium as a tour guide but said she had no idea her company was helping put in the racks.

"It made my day," she said. "It was a really wonderful surprise.""

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