BICAS brought extra bicycle parking to City Hall, but even with the extra rack, bicycles had to lock to poles and hand rails to accomodate the 20 or so cyclists who showed up to the city council meeting.

Bike advocates will have two more weeks to make their case for improved bike parking in Tucson.

The mayor and council unanimously approved a motion proposed by Councilwoman Regina Romero to send the bicycle parking changes back to the land-use committee to come to a consensus with the cycling community.

The motion required revisions be made and returned to the council at their meeting on March 22.

The council was very happy with the revisions to the automobile parking code, but wanted to revisit the bicycle parking before approving the new code.

The proposed changes allow developers to move bicycle parking further away from entrances and reduces the total number of bike parking spaces.

Mayor Bob Walkup said he plans to meet with cyclists in the next two weeks to get a better idea of what changes need to be made to make bike parking in Tucson something the city can be proud of.

About 20 cyclists came to the meeting to voice their concerns about the proposed changes. Speakers touched on safety and security concerns, quality of life issues and the need to encourage cycling in Tucson.

Several cyclists pointed out that even though adding 25 feet doesn’t seem like a lot — in many instances it would allow developers to move the parking around a corner, which would decrease the safety of cyclists and their bikes regardless of the additional security measures required.

While the cyclists said the code should follow the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Planners guidelines for bike parking in all areas of the code, Councilman Steve Kozachik said he thought some of the national guidelines for the number of bike parking spaces were excessive.

He said requiring 150 parking spaces for a movie theater wasn’t realistic and that he hadn’t seen 150 bikes parked in any location that wasn’t a triathlon.

Jason Wong, a developer and member of the land-use committee that worked on the revision, said the proposed code allows for flexibility for developers, but he is ready to work with the bicycling community to revise the code.

“We tried to get a code that everyone is happy with,” Wong said. “I think we are close, we’ve got two weeks to work with the BAC. We are working to create a good environment to live in, to work in and to bike in. I think within the next two weeks we’ll have a great committee and we’ll work it out and we’ll have a great parking amendment that makes everyone happy.”

Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee president Karen Berchtold said she will work with the land-use committee to try to alleviate some of their concerns about the APBP guidelines.

Living Streets Alliance founder Emily Yetman said she will also work with the committee to improve the bike parking, and is encouraged by the participation from cyclists.

“I thought it was really good to see how many people turned out,” Yetman said. “There were a lot of helpful arguments for why this issue is important.”

BAC member and alliance member, Ian Johnson agreed.

“If nothing else, I think the development community heard tonight that bicyclists really do care about these issues,” Johnson said. “I think that is a victory for us.”

Yetman said the council made the right decision in sending it back to the land-use committee.

“It would have been horrible if it would have passed,” she said. “It is easy to want instant gratification with a verdict tonight, but showing that they are willing to go through another round of the public process is the right thing to do.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how or when the land-use committee would meet to address the issues.

Stay tuned to TucsonVelo for updates.



5 thoughts on “Council not happy with bike parking updates”
  1. I think Steve Kozachik should open his eyes when he goes to work at the U of A, there are many places on campus where there are 150 or more bikes parked at once, everyday! Go down Congress, 4th Ave., or Main Gate, on any busy night and see bikes locked to whatever is possible to lock to. I agree that a movie theater may not need 150 space rack, but, more bike racks in building code requirements are completly justified.

  2. I am an Architect, a Planner and a cyclist……
    You can not use the U of A as an example of public development.
    Bicycle parking is important; however, being realistic and fair it too.
    Good luck and I hope this does not hold up the motor vehicle parking code revision too much longer….it has been a long wait and very much needed!

  3. Let’s be realistic. A movie theater is never going to be big enough to require 150 bike parking spaces. Really the only uses I could see requiring that many spaces would be a retail development the size of a mall or a new sporting arena.

    But let’s look at the numbers a little closer before saying that the proposed bike ratios are too aggressive, as CM Koz mentioned.

    If Tucson Mall was developed today, going by the new reduced code for cars and bikes parking, that 1 million square feet of retail would require 3,333 car parking spaces (down from 5,000 in the current code = huge savings on land costs!). For bikes, only 193 spaces would be required with the new code- 143 short term and 50 long term (down from 400 total in the current code!)

    Nobody is going to miss all the extra car parking stalls in the future. It truly is a waste of space, contributes to auto dependency, contributes to the heat island effect, and is detracts currently from Tucson’s quality of life.

    I have never heard anyone say that bike parking detracts from a communities quality of life. We will be shooting our selves in the foot on this quality of life improvement if we adopt a code that a) lessens the amount of bike parking too much, b) creates too much flexibility on how far the bike parking can be from an entrance, or c) puts unneeded caps on the amount of bike parking a large development has, which is written in the draft code for bike parking, but not for car parking.

    The development community is a big winner with this code. Why must they also take down bike parking with their victory against expansive parking lots?

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