132 more bike racks coming to VermontBy Gordon Dritschilo
STAFF WRITER | November 14,2012New bike racks will soon adorn strategic spots around the state.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation announced the location of 132 racks it will buy for public locations in 42 towns around the state. Combined with purchases earlier in the year for park-and-ride lots, Bicycle-Pedestrian Program Manager Jon Kaplan said the state is getting about 200 racks accommodating more than 1,200 bikes.
“Employees of, for example, the state, are more likely to ride their bikes to work if they know they have a safe place to secure them,” said Nancy Schulz, executive director of the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition.
Schulz said the racks are of the newer, U-shape style, making them safer to bicycles than older racks.
“They can bend a front wheel if the bike rolls over or the rack blows over,” said Schulz, adding she has had one of the older racks do just that to her. “Even if they don’t blow over, they can be difficult to lock in.”
The new ones are much easier to use, Schulz said, sending a message that cyclists are welcome.
Kaplan said towns were invited to apply for the racks in a giveaway modeled after a similar one conducted a few years ago under the Safe Routes to School Program.
Rutland County will get 17 of the racks. Three are going to locations in Castleton — Crystal Beach, Castleton Corners and the Exit 5 Park and Ride — while Poultney will get racks for the town offices and the Community Market. Proctor will get racks for the library and town swimming pool.
Rutland Town will put racks in Northwood Park, Del Bianco Park and Cheney Hill Community Center.
The city’s racks are slated for the City Hall, the library, Godnick Adult Center, Center Street Alley, Depot Park, Meadow Street Park and Pine Hill Park.
Kaplan said the racks cost $200 to $400 depending on size.
“These weren’t typical sort of grants,” he said. “We went through a procurement process to get a bike rack vendor on board and we’re buying from them.”
Kaplan said the winning bidder, Madrax of Wisconsin, is filling the order now.
“I think we told communities to expect them at the end of November, beginning of December,” he said. “It’s late for this season, obviously, but they’ll have them for next year.”
Kaplan said there appeared to be enough interest for the state to continue to program some time in the near future.
“I heard from a few (communities) after the fact who got a hold of me way after the deadline,” he said. “There is still some unmet need out there. I’d say it’s extremely likely we will do another round, but I can’t give a timeline.”
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