As you already know, City Council moved to postpone approval of the new parking codes at their meeting on March 8, 2011, in order to give the Land Use Committee and the Bicycle Advisory Committee time to work out the remaining issues. Those two groups met on Monday, March 14 and spent three hours hashing through the details. At 8:00 pm we all left the room feeling like we’d really resolved the issues — the developers retained the flexibility they felt they needed, and the bicycling community felt the codes were amended in such a way that good bike parking will be maintained.
While there were many details that were worked out regarding the amount of parking required for different kinds of uses, the two main areas that took the most discussion were these:
- The 50 foot rule. Those representing the developers felt this was simply too onerous; the bicycling community felt this was critical to ensure that bike parking wasn’t pushed around the corner and to the back of buildings. The resolution reached was that if a developer simply could not make 50 ft. work, instead of taking the measures loosely specified in the proposed code (which the bicycling community felt were insufficient), the developer could appeal to have the location extended. However, the key difference is that the TDOT bicycle program coordinator or staff would come out and make suggestions as to how to best meet the parking requirements of bicyclists regardless of the distance. This made both sides happy: the developers have a relatively painless process, and bicyclists can rest assured that someone who really cares about bicycling and is up on the newest techniques and best practices will be there to help make suggestions.
- Downtown Exceptions. The current code allows developers in the downtown district to have their bike parking up to 1500 ft. away; the proposed draft said 600. The group worked out on Monday that this exception should simply be struck since it appears to be unenforceable (and no bicyclist is going to park their bike 600 feet away anyway). Instead, developers can try to work out the 50 foot requirement, and if they choose to, can simply pay an “in-lieu” fee, which would go into a pool for the city that could then be used to install bike parking and corrals on city property. Essentially they’d pay the cost of the hoops and let the city deal with placement.
While the new revisions have not yet been finalized, things are looking good! We hope to see these go before council this coming Tuesday, and hopefully they’ll pass. We’re happy that this process worked out, and we look forward to being involved much sooner so that last-minute changes aren’t necessary in the future.
More updates as things progress. For more in-depth coverage, see these articles: