02/25/11

Biking, Walking and Blogging: New Bike Parking Program ApprovedBiking, Walking and Blogging: New Bike Parking Program Approved

From Tony Hull, Evaluation and Program Specialist

Bike Walk Twin Cities has long been interested in bike parking as an essential piece of making our community more friendly to bicycling. In 2007, Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), through Bike Walk Twin Cities, awarded funding to the city of Minneapolis to install community-wide bike parking facilities. This program will provide a boost of sorely needed bike parking in the city, augmenting the excellent program Minneapolis has in place. Unfortunately, the process for administering the funds has been slow, mostly due to a federal aid funding process that was not designed for small projects like bike rack installation.

Seizing the learning opportunity, federal and state agency partners joined us for creative problem solving. Eureka! The result is a new approach that reduces the administrative burden to the local agency. This model is based on simplifying and sharing the administrative aspects, with TLC providing program administration, including preliminary approvals for vendor and rack selection, and the local agency taking responsibility for location approval. In March, the TLC board gave Bike Walk Twin Cities the green light to initiate a new Bike Parking Program with $75,000 available to communities outside of Minneapolis to receive bike racks.

The program, which will formally roll out early this summer, will provide 100% reimbursement for the purchase of eligible bike racks selected from an approved vendor(s). Vendor(s) will be selected by TLC through a competitive bid process in compliance with federal requirements. Eligible jurisdictions will be required to subscribe to the program and will be responsible for installation costs and preparation of a plan set of proposed locations for approval by relevant agencies for historic or cultural impacts of the installations. TLC will provide guidance on the necessary documentation for this process. TLC will administer the program and prepare a blanket project memo that will address the purchase agreement with an approved vendor.

More program details and instructions on program enrollment will be announced soon. We know that visible, secure bike parking is critical to the mode shift goal of the pilot program and we're excited to be able to work with our partner communities in this way.