Dunedin pushes pedaling

The commission gives developers incentives to build bicycle racks downtown.

By Tamara El-Khoury
Published July 21, 2007

DUNEDIN - As if high gas prices, an obesity epidemic and the proximity of the Pinellas Trail aren't enough reasons to ride a bike in downtown Dunedin, the City Commission gave residents another one Thursday night.

Now there will be a place to park it.

The commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would give developers incentives to build bicycle racks.

This is how it works:

Developers are required to provide on-site parking to a building. In the downtown area, a building is required to provide one parking space for every 400 square feet. The numbers vary outside of downtown based on the type and size of the structure.

Every bicycle rack holding five bicycles will count as a substitute for a required parking space.

Developers can satisfy up to 10 percent of their parking requirement with the new provision. They must also show justification for a bike rack by showing that the site can be accessed by bikes and will get bike traffic. The incentive applies to developers required to provide 10 spaces or more.

"I much prefer the bike rack than just leaning it against the wall or locking it to a street sign, which is basically what you currently have to do," said Mayor Bob Hackworth.

Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island have similar provisions.

The hope, according to city staff, is that the new ordinance will encourage redevelopment of sites that have a hard time meeting the city's required number of parking spaces due to the site's location or other factors.

It will also give bicyclists an option to lock their bike to something other than a tree or bench. There are about six to eight bike racks in downtown, said avid biker and Zoning Administrator Matthew Campbell.

"I also hope it results in some development to happen that wasn't happening before as a result of the stringent parking restrictions," Hackworth said, citing a vacant lot between La Maison Gourmet and Bellini Restaurant on Main Street as an example.

The incentive is a more palatable approach then one suggested by city staff several years ago that would have required developers to add bicycle parking rather than giving them the option.

The City Commission rejected that proposal.

Fast Facts:

Park it

The ordinance applies for 10 spaces or more. For each bicycle rack holding five bikes, a developer is credited one parking space, up to 10 percent of the required parking.

For example, if the city requires a developer to provide 10 parking spaces the developer can replace one space with a bicycle rack that holds five bicycles. The site must be accessible to bicycle traffic.

If a developer is required to have 20 spaces and their site is accessible to bikes, they can build 18 spaces and two bike racks.