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Article updated: 2/19/2013 12:07 PM

Arlington Heights considering new bike friendly measures

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission is proposing an ordinance that would require all new developments to have a minimum number of bike rack spots, like these at the Arlington Heights train station.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission is proposing an ordinance that would require all new developments to have a minimum number of bike rack spots, like these at the Arlington Heights train station.

 

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Arlington Heights will be considering several new measures this spring to make the village more bike-friendly, officials said.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission is proposing an ordinance that would require all new developments to have a minimum number of bike rack spots, said Briget Schwab, liaison for the commission with the village's engineering department. The proposal could come before the village board in the next two months.

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According to the draft ordinance, multifamily residences not in the central business district would need to provide a number of bike spaces equal to 10 percent the parking spaces required for cars, though two-unit multifamily and townhouse residents would be exempt. Schools would be required to provide a number of spaces equal to 10 percent the number of students.

Retail locations would be required to have a number of bicycle parking spots equal to 5 percent of the vehicle parking requirements.

The highest requirement would be in the downtown, where businesses would be required to provide bicycle parking spaces equivalent to 15 percent of car parking requirements, according to the draft ordinance.

"I think there's a movement of people living healthier lifestyles and people who would prefer to use their bike as opposed to driving," Schwab said. "If someone wants to ride their bike to the grocery store, we want to make sure they have somewhere to park it."

The plan is modeled off a similar ordinance in Skokie, she said. "Part of what attracts people to Arlington Heights is the ability to hop on your bike and ride somewhere," said Alan Medsker, chairman of the Bike and Pedestrian Commission.

"Our goal is not just to accommodate people who already bike, but to encourage new bikers as well," Medsker added. "If people don't have a place to park their bike or consider it a safe place to ride, they aren't likely to do it."

He said the village staff and trustees have supported the bike parking ordinance so far.

The seven-member commission also is working on a "Complete Streets" policy, Schwab said. The policy, if approved by the village board, will require new developers to keep all modes of transportation in mind when planning roads and subdivisions.

"The point is to make sure all streets are available to all users," Schwab said. "If someone wants to ride their bike, walk or drive, they should have a safe way to do that."

Medsker said he hopes to help Arlington Heights apply to be a "bike-friendly community" within the next six months, meaning it would join Chicago, Evanston, Naperville, Schaumburg and Urbana as the only communities in Illinois certified by the American League of Bicyclists.

"We're always looking for new ways to make this a better place to get around, however you get around," Medsker said.

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