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Bike rack measure passes

A measure to mandate bike racks at future commercial developments passed after one alderman wagered a bottle of Italian sparkling water that they would become necessary.

“I hope, 20 years from now, you and I are both here, residents of the town of Farragut, and I am going to wager the finest bottle of Italian sparkling water that we could go for a walk in the Town and find bicycle racks in front of retail establishments with bicycles locked up there,” Alderman John Williams told Alderman Bob Markli.

Markli had balked at the idea of requiring business owners and developers to include bike racks in future construction at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Thursday, Jan. 27.

“This is just one more requirement, one more burden, one more hoop to jump through for people opening a business,” Markli said.

The ordinance, which would require one bicycle parking space for every 5,000 square feet of floor space in a commercial development, was up for second and final reading.

Markli moved to table the discussion to allow for more thought on the issue, but that motion died for lack of a second.

Farragut’s assistant commun-ity development director Mark Shipley pointed out many of the newer commercial developments in Town have been voluntarily included bike racks anyway, pointing out numerous developments along Parkside Drive and Kroger Marketplace.

“Everyone we’ve worked with have been very receptive to it,” Shipley said.

But Markli said the market would demand bike racks as they became necessary, and if business owners wanted to put them in, that could be encouraged. He said the Town’s formula for requiring bike racks “has no basis in reality.”

“I think this needs some more study,” Markli said.

Williams said bicycles would be used more in the future as gas prices rose.

He pointed out the Town would have bike lanes on almost all of its roads if the Board had been proactive at putting in bike lanes for the past 15 or 20 years.

“Let’s prepare for the future now,” Williams said.

Mayor Ralph McGill made a motion to table the change to discuss how the Town could “incentivize” bike racks rather than require them. Markli seconded, but the rest of the Board voted against tabling.

That’s when Williams wagered his Italian water.

“If I’m wrong, I will buy you that water,” Williams told Markli.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche moved to approve the new ordinance; Alderman Jeff Elliott seconded. The motion was approved with Markli dissenting.

The Board also discussed options for encouraging developers to get creative with their bicycle racks and encouraging their use as street art.

“From a strictly financial standpoint, there might not be much incentive,” Williams said, since more creative bike racks likely will cost more than standard racks.

Shipley said that the Town could encourage creativity and let it be known that would be welcomed, but said, “We wanted to leave it open to each site.”


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