Troubled about bike rack options, or lack thereof, around downtown Phoenix? The powers that be have apparently been listening, as some brand new rack spaces have been unveiled around Phoenix's urban canyons.
A brand-spanking new "bike corral" was installed in front of the Phoenix Public Market last weekend, now accommodating up to 20 bikes. And Valley Metro, in partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks, has launched a new rack program with the first bars landing in front of Carly's Bistro on Roosevelt Street.
But the biggest bit of news about bikes finding a place to park downtown came with the announcement that Tempe's Bicycle Cellar has passed the first round of approvals with Maricopa County to take over the ground floor storefront space of the historic Security Building on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren. Just don't hold your breath on that one coming to fruition quite yet.
The Phoenix Public Market bike corral sits directly in front of the store on Pierce Street, out of the way of car traffic as well as the bustle of the weekly open-air markets and food truck meet-ups. The racks line up nicely so that bikes don't converge on top of each other like they can around ASU.
The Carly's rack, which was bolted to the concrete on Monday, is the first of many to get dropped around town. These smaller racks can hold about six bikes and feature metal cut chainrings proclaiming "Bikes Welcome." More racks will be placed near locations such as Cibo and Co+Hoots.
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The racks were partially funded through the Diamondbacks Great Bike Chase event, which donated $5 from each ticket from the more than 300 participants. That helped fund 11 racks from the 2011 ride, with possibly more coming from the 2012 edition.
All of this Downtown bike-centric development makes the possible addition of a Bicycle Cellar location across from the Van Buren Transit Center not only exciting but downright logical.
While the Maricopa County Facilities Resource Council made a strong first step in approving the proposal, this deal is far from done. The Bicycle Cellar proposal, which calls for a part of the ground level space, now goes to the county Board of Supervisors for consideration as part of the fiscal year funding cycle, and the Cellar operators must provide additional funding through grants. And that's assuming the supervisors support the proposal.
Having a Bicycle Cellar in Downtown Phoenix is only a good thing. They would be a solid partner for Downtown's only other bike shop, PHX Bike, and they would offer support services to the many downtown bike commuters who are on a bit of an island should they need a place "store and shower."
The continued promotion of bike commuting and improvement of the bikeability around downtown only promotes a lively 24/7 environment for this long struggling center of Phoenix. Downtown has made some major strides in becoming an interesting urban center over the past few years and Cycle hopes to see this bike-friendly trend continue.