Jul 13, 2012 / 5:00 am
Two parking spaces have been removed from downtown Kelowna and replaced with bicycle racks.
Gio Bean, a popular coffee house, put in a request to the City for extra bike racks outside the business as more and more patrons were opting to peddle on two wheels instead of driving on four when coming for a 'cup of joe.'
Bikes literally took over any structure outside Gio Bean that provided an opportunity to lock up.
The business wanted to accommodate its customers, as bike racks have been used in parking spaces in cities like Montreal and Vancouver.
The local coffee shop owners believed Kelowna was capable of providing the same concept.
Active Transportation Coordinator Mike Kittmer says the City of Kelowna was also familiar with the concept and decided to launch a pilot project that will start July 13 and run till the end of August, where two parking spots will be replaced with 24 inverted use bike racks.
"We thought, here is an opportunity to try this out, where we know there is a heavy demand for cycle parking and we thought why not give it a try."
This is the first example of bike racks being placed on an in-street facility in Kelowna, and not on the sidewalks or transit stops.
According to Kittmer the racks will cost the city $650.
"This is just a research and pilot project. Cycle parking just like vehicle parking is a city function so we provide it, and we had a business that was willing to give up its front door parking for the project."
If council eventually approves the concept, the infrastructure planning group will look at whether bike racks will be a cost sharing model with the business or an active transportation facility that is provided by the city.
Currently there is a cost sharing model in place for businesses that want to purchase bike racks from the city and install them on their property.
Kittmer says the city knows there is a demand for both vehicle parking and cycle parking in the downtown core, and this project will help to find a balance for both.
"We are interested to hear if people are using it, and we will be monitoring it ourselves. We want to know how people feel about it whether they are cyclists, drivers or pedestrians."
A factor the city will be closely watching is the safety aspect of the project as the bike racks are positioned in the street.
Kittmer says Vancouver recently launched separated bicycle facilities, called cycle tracks, and the project has been very successful.
The bike racks are easy to install and would be removed each winter, if the project becomes permanent.
Although this cycle parking project is not part of the overall city parking strategy, there is a new parking development plan underway which will include bicycle parking.
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
- Power back on in East Kelowna May 21
- Tuesday crash sends 4 to hospital May 21
- Quiet start to the summer season May 21
- Stabbing arrest May 21
- Last day to register for PlayOn! Kelowna May 21
- Thunderstorm watch in effect May 21
- Calling all green thumbs May 21
- Glenmore crash May 20
- Grad party rollover May 20
- Annual regatta is largest in BC Interior May 19