ITHACA, N.Y. — This week, several bike corrals popped up in parking spots in Ithaca. The corrals were installed as a way to meet the rising volume of bicycles, but many local residents voiced concerns that the racks took up already-scarce parking space in Collegetown.
The bike corrals provide 12 to 15 spaces for bicycles in the space of one parking spot. In total, eight were approved. They are designed to accommodate standard bikes as well as the dock-less LimeBikes. They were brought in by Bike Walk Tompkins with approval and permits from the City of Ithaca.
“It was all done according to the process required,” Victoria Armstrong, director of Bike Walk Tompkins said.
Ithaca’s new bike share program, LimeBike, officially took off in April. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere in Ithaca without spotting one of the lime green bikes on the road or parked somewhere. Since the launch, they have been popular with more than 12,000 unique riders and 40,000 rides in Ithaca. Bringing the bike share program was a way to make bicycling more accessible and help reach Bike Walk Tompkins’ goal of doubling local bicycling.
Collegetown was chosen as a spot for more bicycle racks because the narrow sidewalks make it so there is limited space to park bikes. The corrals were installed in early August as a proactive measure before students return to town, Armstrong said.
The corrals were secured with outside funding, however they do take up full parking spaces, meaning a loss in some parking revenue for the city. Michael Thorne, superintendent of public works for the City of Ithaca, said the three lost spots in Collegetown were heavily utilized and would have amounted in $6-$7,000 lost revenue for the city per year. Aside from the lost revenue, local residents were upset at the loss of parking spaces when parking is already so limited in Collegetown.
In a note to local business owners Armstrong acknowledged their concerns and said the process could have been better. She said they will review the situation at the next Board of Public Works meeting Aug. 21.
The city responded to local residents’ concerns Tuesday by removing the bike racks from Collegetown until . A bike rack installed near Buffalo Street Books will remain where it is.
Michael Thorne, superintendent of public works for the City of Ithaca, said the bike racks “will be replaced after new locations have been properly vetted.”
Anyone with feedback can contact the department of public works at 607-274-6527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.