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Berkeley may become more ‘bike-friendly’

By John Gelaurdi Daily Planet Staff
Monday February 19, 2001

The City Council will consider an amendment to the Berkeley Municipal Code to allow bicyclists to lock their bikes to parking meters. 

“We want to make it easier for bicyclists to ride their bikes and most other cities don’t have this law,” Councilmember Kriss Worthington said. “It doesn’t make sense to continue to have it on the books.” 

According to the Berkeley Municipal Code, the ordinance states, “No person shall park any bicycle or motorized bicycle against parking meters.” 

Worthington said that the chief of police and the city manager currently don’t enforce the ordinance and it would send a supportive message to people who are considering riding their bicycles to work. 

“Without proper bicycle parking this ordinance discourages the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation,” the recommendation says. 

Many of the merchants in District 7 support the amendment because, as Worthington said, “many of their customers ride bicycles, and the more welcome bicyclists are, the better.”  

Merchants generally support bike parking, said Senior Planner Rochelle Wheeler. The city has installed over a 100 bicycle racks around Berkeley in the last several years, she said, mostly at the request of merchants. 

“We install them in front of businesses that request them.” she said. “They like the racks because the bikes are parked in a more organized fashion.”  

There are two types of racks. One is called the Wave Rack and has room for nine bikes, the other is the U-rack which has room for two bikes, Wheeler said. 

Wheeler said that Hillegrass and Bowditch avenues have just been marked with a series of purple signs declaring it a Bike Boulevard. She said six other streets will be designated as bike boulevards in months to come.  

Both the parking meter ordinance amendment and the street marking may not mean a whole lot, according to Worthington, but he said, “making Berkeley bicycle friendly is series of little steps.”