Covington may get hundreds of bike racks

A demo bike rack installed on Pike Street across from City Hall (and near the cut-through to Seventh Street) was in use much of today.

COVINGTON, Ky. - People who use bicycles to get around Covington may soon have hundreds of places to lock up their bikes - not only in the downtown area but also in neighborhood business districts and parks. 

The Covington City Commission directed staff to draw up a legal agreement that, if approved by the Commission in the coming weeks, ultimately would result in bike racks being installed permanently in public areas beginning in May.
Ride the Cov - an advocacy group whose mission is to “establish Covington as a bike-friendly place to live, work, and play” - presented what it called its “Bicycle Parking Initiative” to elected leaders on Tuesday night.
The purchase and installation of the racks - each of which could accommodate two bikes - would be funded by the Devou Good Project, a local 501(c)3, Ride the Cov President Joe Koehl told the Commission.
“These would be free to the City, free to taxpayers, and free to any business that is interested,” Koehl said.
Ride the Cov would create a website where the public could request a rack be installed.
The locations would require approval by the City’s Public Works Department to avoid interfering with any right-of-way clearances and use, and the City would be included in the selection of a contractor, Koehl said.
Koehl said the group could foresee as many as 500 racks in Covington, including areas like South Covington and Latonia. “I personally believe that one per block is not too many,” he said.
One such rack - a black pipe structure anchored to a sidewalk “bump-out” - was recently installed on Pike Street across from City Hall as a demonstration.
The group hopes to begin installing the racks as early as May, which is National Bike Month, and finish by the end of the year, Koehl said.
He showed the Commission a map that plotted the locations of about 15-20 existing bike racks in the City, primarily north of Eighth Street.
His presentation included an array of data from studies showing the benefits of bike riding, especially commuting to work. For example, “bike parking takes up 10 times less space than car parking and costs from 30 to 300 times less,” Koehl said, referencing one study. Another concluded that bike riders spend three times more money on local goods than people who rely on cars.
Studies also show that the creation of “bike infrastructure,” such as racks, leads to drastically higher numbers of people commuting by bike, he said.
After questions about the number of racks and where and how they’d be located, the Commission responded favorably to the proposal and asked staff to draft the legal agreement.
“Tom needs to find someone to open up a bike store,” Commissioner Denny Bowman quipped, referring to Covington Economic Development Director Tom West.
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