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Ride to Rochester Day and the Need for Bike Parking Lot Downtown

Will this be the promotion the city needs to attract more cyclists or will it be a spotlight on what is lacking for cyclists downtown?

On Saturday, July 28 the DDA is holding a event from 9-5 to raise awareness of the new bike racks downtown. They are asking people to leave their cars at home and ride their bikes into town. 

There will be special promotions cyclists that day at many businesses.  Bicycles are great for a downtown because that means less exhaust pollution and more space for out-of-towners to park.  I think the eight new bike racks around town are a great start but I think this event will be an eye opener of what we are lacking downtown Rochester: a bicycle parking lot. 

Rochester is certainly a great destination for many cyclists coming from Auburn Hills, Shelby Township and Lake Orion.  The city would like to attract more of these folks into their downtown to take advantage of the shopping and dining. 

Two things cyclists will most likely notice are lack of bicycle parking and ease of access into the city by bike.  If you come from the Clinton River Trail, there aren’t many easy, clearly marked ways into downtown except by the Paint Creek / Clinton River Trail Bridge.  They have built a great parking lot next to the trail under the bridge for cars, but what about cyclists?  They should have a parking lot there as well and a stairway into the city like they used to have.  From the Paint Creek Trail, a rider comes upon Lipuma’s and the Paint Creek Tavern.  There is only one little bike rack there and if you go under the bridge, the trail loops around town and leads the cyclist away from downtown.

As a city crisscrossed by two train trails, we certainly don’t seem to do enough for our cyclists.  There should really be a large bike rental service, bicycles lanes and a bicycle parking lot somewhere really obvious and in plain sight downtown.  Let’s imagine that on July 28, 100 bicycles come to town.  There will be bicycles scattered everywhere!  Take a look at the Rochester Mills Brewery on the nights when their bike club comes to eat and you’ll get the idea.  There simply aren’t enough racks in town to accommodate that many bikes.  Remember, one car can carry a family, but by bike, that is one bike per person! 

Now imagine a large bicycle lot, maybe behind the Atallah Heart center or the lot just north of the karate studio, like the kind you see on a college campus.  100 bicycles would fit comfortably there and businesses wouldn’t have to worry about purchasing bike racks or having bikes parked on the sidewalks downtown.  Whose responsibility is it to provide bike racks: the city or the individual business?

The photo collection above is of the current bike racks in the city and what bike riders do when there is nowhere to secure their bike.  I do not mean for this to be a slam against these businesses.  Bike racks are expensive and they should not be required to pay for them. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joshua Raymond July 25, 2012 at 07:37 PM
For a map of the pathways and sidewalks in Rochester Hills, please see http://www.rochesterhills.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/450 The pathways in Rochester Hills are multi-use and intended for both bicycles and pedestrians.
Robert Gauthier July 25, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Whatever.... - This I would pay to see...you must look like a circus going down the road. And yes, you can bring groceries home and whatever else you want. I can haul myself, 3 kids and a few days of gorceries home on my bike. I can't help your ignorance.
David Gifford July 26, 2012 at 09:49 PM
For me, cycling is about recreation and about having an alternative choice to driving a car everywhere. Sometimes it is nice to slow things down and feel like you have earned your destination. Since we live in a state where public transportation = anti-Michigan, because of our automotive jobs, I can understand those who look down on bicycle riders. I love muscle cars and trucks but I would gladly give up $5000+ a year in loan, gas, insurance, oil changes and repairs if I could. I am not a fan of the spandex riders on the roads either but their bicycles are not fit for sidewalk riding as they ride too fast for pedestrians and their skinny tires are not made to take on curbs. That is another debate but these guys aren’t who this event is aimed towards. It is aimed at 12,800 people who live in Rochester and the 71,500 people who live in Rochester Hills and promoting their coming to downtown by bicycle via the trails and walkways. These aren't the people holding up traffic on the roads. Even if 1/16 of those people came into town, that would be about 5000 bicycles. I'm just suggesting that we could give up a few parking spaces to make cycling downtown look more attractive to those who want that option.
Ryan Katulic July 28, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Hey Richard I donated that stand as well as an additional stand that is currently being installed off the Clinton River Trail at the Letica parking lot. We will be announcing details and advertising the both of them soon!
Jerry Snook September 04, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Ouch! The level of condescension toward bicyclist is pretty amazing. I would like to clarify a few things . . . nobody is trying to suggest bikes replace cars to transport groceries home, though in limited means it can be done; no one in "spandex" thinks of themselves as Lance Armstrong, and very few serious bicyclist hold Armstrong in high esteem anymore; it's easy to say "bike racks aren't important" if you don't bike or dislike bicyclist . . . I'm sure their are some bicyclist that would say the same about parking lots; side walks and even bike paths can be downright dangerous for bicyclist, as motorist often do not look for bicycles before crossing the paths; Bicyclist don't have a "hey look at me attitude" . . . while the clothing is unique it is very functional, the color is an extra "bonus". And lastly, yes group rides can be troublesome for cars; yes, you may have to slow down, but personally, I have never felt safer on the road, in thousands of miles over the years, then when I'm in a group of 50 or 60. There is just no way for large groups to take to a bike path, it would create it's own problems of safety for pedestrians. We've got two lane roads, we are tax payers, and state law allows us to ride on the road. We ask your tolerance and patience. There are many worse things that could happen in a community than having "roving gangs" of fit people that are bicycling through your town.

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