Almost $6,000 was spent in 2006 on purchasing high quality bicycle racks in strategic locations in the City of Ferguson. Eighty percent of the money came from a competitive grant originally awarded to the City by the Federal Highways Administration to fund a pilot bike transportation project in which the City partnered with Boeing Corp. and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) in a program aimed at promoting bicycling to those two major activity centers from within a 10 mile radius of the City.
It was intended to combine bike education for Boeing employees, and students, staff and faculty at UMSL, with on-site bike-related facilities improvements, such as bike parking, and in the case of Boeing, also lockers, benches, and possibly shower facilities for changing purposes.
Boeing dropped out in the first year but UMSL continued with the project, although no agreement could be reached on bicycle parking until after Dr. Tom George was appointed Chancellor. That led to a significant purchase of racks meeting project criteria, two different designs being selected by UMSL and finished in red to match the universities color scheme. The City of Ferguson chose a more ornate rack design from Cycle Safe [web: http://www.cycle-safe.com/] to suit its downtown Victorian theme.
Mr. Terry O’Neil, who became Ferguson Public Works Director during the latter part of the project, oversaw it, working with the project coordinator, Martin Pion, in deciding where the bike racks were to be located.
In addition to some in the downtown area, Mr. O’Neil wanted them located in the various Ferguson City parks. A suggestion by Mr. Pion to install a few on the sidewalk adjoining the shop fronts opposite the Victorian Plaza was not approved by Mr. O’Neil, but otherwise there was agreement on rack locations. The photos below show the racks as finally installed.
There are problems with at least some of the rack installations.
CycleSafe recommends a minimum separation of 36″ between racks to facilitate bike parking, but in Roberts-Superior Park the rack separation is only 30″.
The separation of the relocated racks behind City Hall is even smaller at only 26″ on-center, but a bigger problem with those racks is that they are not secured to the ground properly.
The three racks alongside the walkway leading to the entrance to the Ferguson Public Library are now secure, after having come loose from the brick pavers, but they’re too close to the adjoining wall to allow easy access.
The diagram above following the rack photos shows the recommended clearances for different types of layouts for these racks. The information was obtained from http://www.cycle-safe.com/UserFiles/File/PDF/U2RackBrocure.pdf
It indicates that, where the rack is parallel to a wall, the minimum recommended clearance is 2 ft. and where it is perpendicular to a wall it is 3 ft. (2 ft. minimum). Typical rack-to-rack spacing is 3 ft., as illustrated in the diagram.
After the problem with the above racks at City Hall was pointed out, the Public Works Department acted quickly to reinstall them and at first glance, the relocated racks look fine ….. until you try and park a bike.
The second photo illustrates the problem. The clearances between and around the racks don’t come close to recommended minimum clearances. They are so close together it’s not even possible to wheel a bike between them because they are only 18 inches apart. The gap between the utility pole and the rack is also only 18 inches and between the rack and the projection on the standby generator 22 inches.
This could easily have been avoided by following the above guidelines from Cycle Safe, and locating the racks at right angles to their present positions and a couple of feet behind the utility pole.
Over the weekend, in addition to reviewing the reinstalled City Hall racks, I went on a mission of discovery after learning from Mr. Terry O’Neil, Ferguson Public Works Director, of two other locations in which racks were installed in 2006. They are shown below.
Latest revision: July 26, 2010