by Dennis Dalman
A request for an ordinance requiring bicycle racks under certain conditions was rejected by the Sartell City Council during a public hearing at its last meeting on a 4-0 vote.
Council member David Peterson was not present at that meeting. No member of the public voiced opinions during the hearing.
The concept was presented to the council by Sartell Planner/Developer Anita Archambeau, who noted that bicycle usage has increased in the city.
Encouraging and/or requiring bicycle racks is one of the criteria to be named officially a “Bicycle-Friendly City” by the League of American Bicyclists.
The ordinance would have required a bicycle rack that could hold from two to four bikes for business buildings of 5,000 square feet, and a rack that could accommodate seven spaces for business buildings of 10,000 square feet or more. Large apartment complexes would also need to have a rack for up to seven bicycles. No racks would be required next to buildings of smaller than 5,000 square feet.
The Sartell Planning Commission had previously reviewed and recommended the proposed ordinance.
The four members of the council came to a consensus that such an ordinance is simply not needed. Member Pat Lynch said such a measure would be a needless mandate.
“It’s just not a problem in Sartell,” he said.
Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll agreed.
“It’s trying to solve something that’s not yet a problem,” she said, adding initiating a bike rack ordinance just to get some points for a Bike-Friendly City designation is not a good idea.
Members Mike Chisum and Ryan Fitzthum also agreed and said most employers would naturally want to accommodate, with bicycle racks, employees who commute to work, as well as customers who bicycle.
Cities can be designated as “Bicycle-Friendly” if they have in place assets that accommodate safe bicycling, such as bike and pedestrian trails, safe bicycling lanes in roadways, bicycle parking racks and so forth.
Minneapolis is regarded as the top Bicycle-Friendly city in the nation. Another city known for bicycle friendliness is Amsterdam in the Netherlands where just about everybody commutes to work and enjoys bicycling as recreation. That city is a series of canals and narrow streets, making bicycling a virtual necessity.
Sartell is already a bicycle friendly city in many ways because of its miles of biking-hiking trails, its parks and its bicycle lanes on some roadways. The city council throughout the years has always strongly encouraged and supported bike-hike trails in public areas and in residential/commercial developments.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.