City to consider bike rack installations at businesses

·2 min read

May 15—Manhattan city commissioners Tuesday will consider requiring bicycle racks at almost all city businesses.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. Officials also will broadcast the meeting on Cox Cable Channel 3, the Manhattan city government website and Facebook.

Chad Bunger, city assistant director of community development, said this mode of transportation is on the rise based on studies conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization. The planning organization reported about 1.2% of Manhattan residents commuted by bicycle in 2009, with that number increasing to about 2.3% in 2017.

The city wants to add racks because of the increase in bike riding.

"As long as we're not in a pandemic, and I think even during the pandemic, we had a lot of people biking around town either for enjoyment or mode of transportation," Bunger said told The Mercury on Friday.

Additionally, commissioners will look at lowering minimum parking requirements for city businesses. In some cases, the city requires more parking spaces than what a business actually needs, Bunger said.

The city government will not remove parking from businesses altogether, Bunger clarified, as a minimum number of spots still will be required.

"We're lowering our minimum (standards) and letting that business owner or developer or whomever figure out how much parking they need to meet their business," Bunger said.

Bunger said he looks forward to this change.

"We're getting out of the game of telling the owners what parking they (need to) have," he said.

Commissioners also will look at rezoning a property owned by Larson Construction along Eureka Drive in west Manhattan to better suit the company's needs. Bunger said the current heavy commercial district zone doesn't allow for storage of large equipment, which Larson seeks to do. Larson Construction seeks to change it to a light industrial district zone to accommodate those needs.

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