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Ask Mr. Answer Person: Why have bike racks been put in parking spaces downtown?

Posted: Mon, Jul 8, 2013 7:34 PM

Tee e-mails: Hello Mr. Answer Person, I would like to take the 'spotlight' off of the races for a bit.........

Yesterday I noticed there are bike racks going up in downtown Decorah.  I don't have problem with people who prefer to ride a bike instead of driving.  However, why is the city putting large bike racks in perfectly good parking spots? There are already bike racks on almost every corner of downtown that are barely used, so bigger racks are needed? 

Decorah is lacking parking for customers and employees of downtown businesses, so instead of trying to gain more parking, they are taking spaces away for bike racks?  If you walk up and down Water Street you will almost always over hear someone discussing the lack of parking and these people are usually tourists.  Instead of accommodating those few that bike, maybe the city should start working on how to gain more parking spots ....other than their usual "Customer Parking Only" painted on the stripes.

Mr. Answer Person says: "Yup, this should fill up the e-mail in-box!

City of Decorah officials have discussed this issue at length.  Visit to get some background on why that decision was made.

Let's tackle a few of the questions you have raised:

1) There are three bike racks being put up, two in parking spaces and one on property owned by Alliant Energy.

2) The bike rack that has gone up in the 400 block of West Water Street was placed there at the request of several businesses in the block.  These businesses feel the bike racks will help attract new customers.

3) It's true parking spaces are frequently hard to come by in downtown Decorah.  Let's all remember that this is a good "problem" to have.  There have been various attempts to find more parking spaces, but none of these have been successful.  If you have an idea, I'd suggest you share it with the Downtown Decorah Betterment Association (which is headquartered out of the Chamber of Commerce).

4) The fact that you're overhearing a lot of tourists talk about parking spaces means there ARE tourists in Decorah.  One reason for that (besides the area's natural beauty and the attraction of the bald eagle's nest) is the 11-mile bike trail that loops around the city.  City officials felt it was not smart to spend $8 million building this bike trail and then not have places for trail users to park their bikes.  The point, after all, is to get bike riders to spend money with local businesses!

But if you're still convinced the bike racks ought not to take up the two parking spaces downtown, you should make your comments to the City of Decorah's Street Committee or to your neighborhood city council member.

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