Snipits

Traffic signs. Trees. Wrought iron railings.

Traffic signs. Trees. Wrought iron railings. Chain link fences. Telephone poles. Even a storm drain.

I think I've secured my bicycle to just about everything in and around the center city of Manchester, NH; everything, that is, except a bike rack.

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I bought my Raleigh Detour 4.0 in May with the idea of riding it to work and around town whenever possible. I've already put close to 200 miles on it. And as gas prices increase, I'm sure I won't be the only one pedaling whenever possible. Indeed, the folks over at the Bike Barn, where I purchased my bike, told me I'm far from the only one who's bought a bike in recent months to combat higher gas prices.

And I certainly believe it. The number of bicyclists on Manchester, NH, roads seems to have increased considerably as of late. Whether folks are riding high-end mountain and commuter bikes or Wal-Mart specials, we all face a similar problem: no legitimate place to park.

I'm lucky in that my boss is nice enough to allow me to park my bike inside the office. If he didn't, I'm not so sure I'd be willing to leave my bike outside all day secured to nothing but a street sign. Other cities - and not just "progressive" cities like Portland, Ore. - have addressed this problem. The city parking authority in Pittsburgh, for instance, offers sheltered bike racks inside each city parking garage. That would be nice.

But I would settle for several designated bike racks in visible, highly-trafficked areas, at least in the downtown area. While it would be nice to covered bike parking like they do outside of this train station in Northern Ireland:

I think most bike riders in the city would appreciate just simple, sturdy, everyday bike racks like the one I have.

Closer to home, Portland, Me. a city about two-thirds the size of Manchester appears to have plenty of such bike racks. Maybe I'm just not seeing them, but I don't know of any bike racks in Manchester save for one outside the children's library entrance at the Manchester City Library.

Parking (of the automobile variety, anyway) always seems to be an issue in Manchester, NH. And while I'm all for maximizing the existing parking spaces we have downtown, I think it would be wise to also look at reducing the demand for parking. Placing bike racks downtown do just that by encouraging more people to bike to work and shopping and dining venues. It's not an end-all, be all solution, but it is a relatively inexpensive one, and it will help.

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Posted in Food Post Date 05/05/2017


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