October 18, 2008


Bike racks will be installed throughout downtown

Bike Racks

Bob Ellis/staff photographer      
New bicycle racks are in place in Courthouse Park near the Courthouse.

Staff reporter

Downtown shoppers could soon have a place to lock their bikes.
The Common Council heard a presentation on Oct. 7 about a proposal to place 16 bike racks in five different downtown locations. The council will vote on the measure at its next meeting Tuesday.
The horse shoe-shaped racks would hold two bicycles each, and two racks would be placed on both the corner of Church and Court streets and the corner of Main and William streets. Four racks would be installed near the Blue Frog Cafe and the Veterans of Foreign of Wars Building on Main Street, with an additional four racks being placed in pocket park.
Four of the bike racks are already located in front of the Cortland County Courthouse, and the new racks would be placed on city-owned property by the department of public works and won’t interfere with snow removal, pedestrian walkways or café tables at downtown businesses. Cyclists could use the racks year-round, said Angela Perry, who works on bike safety with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County and the Cortland County Bike Safety Coalition.
The project’s funding came from the non-profit organization Cortland Community Foundation and the racks will be installed by the city’s Department of Public Works, said Perry.
The racks would be coated with an enamel to prevent deterioration and weather damages. When repairs are needed, the racks would be sent to the manufacturer, and the city would not need to paint the racks or perform annual maintenance, Perry said.
Nationally, more people are buying bicycles this year, with Giant, the world’s largest bicycle maker, reporting a record U.S. sale of 460,000 bikes in September.
In Cortland, Matt Belknap, owner of Action Sports on Main Street, said this summer was his best selling year ever.
“Last Saturday was as busy for me as most summer days. Normally, October is my slowest month,” said Belknap, who bikes 12 miles from his home in Truxton every day. “The racks would be a great idea. With gas prices being so high, people are starting to bike more.”
Each rack would be topped with a circular logo depicting an old-fashioned bicycle with a big front wheel and smaller back wheel. The logo was formulated with the town’s bicentennial in mind, Perry said.
“(The racks) would be decorative and set the tone of encouraging businesses to install more bike racks,” she said. “We get a lot of requests from people who are looking to use bikes to commute to work to save money on gasoline.”
The request still needs to be approved at the Historic Review Board’s next meeting on Oct. 20.
All city aldermen said they would vote for the proposal during an informal vote after the Oct. 7 presentation.


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