It’s only about 325 square feet, but it’s some of the most important bike turf in the state right now.
On Wednesday night the Appleton Common Council voted to pilot a bike corral on the city’s main thoroughfare, College Avenue. The bike corral will replace one on street metered car parking stall with about ten spaces to park bikes. Racks for the corral will be made by Saris, Wisconsin’s own bike rack manufacturer.
The corral will be installed probably in May and data will be collected throughout the prime biking months. Then a report will be issued and analyzed before the corral is made permanent or others are added.
Bike parking corrals are starting to pop up here and there with a few in place now in Madison and Milwaukee, but the fact that one is being tried in Appleton is important for a lot of reasons.
Appleton’s bike community is becoming influential fast. The long-standing Fox Cities Greenways organization laid the foundation and now the new Fox Cities Cycling Association (FCCA) is taking things to the next level. The FCCA is led by Rob Gusky, a Bike Fed member and a newly elected board member for the League of American Bicyclists.
I had the pleasure of joining Rob and some of the FCCA board for dinner before the council meeting and then a celebratory beer afterwards. Rob and I were joined by Nick Hoffman, Mark Priddis, Christian Gonzalez, Gwen Hinzman Sargeant and Laurie Rescheske.
Having spent some time with them I can understand why they’ve become so effective so quickly. They’re thoughtful and energetic people. They did their research, brought on key allies like the downtown business association and individual business owners in the area of the corral, and talked with every alder. They also worked closely with the city engineer to make sure that they were selecting a site that would be safe.
And they’re just really nice people. You want to work with them and to make their ideas become reality.
Coming off a bruising battle last year over a new bike lane on Mason Street (which they also won), the FCCA wasn’t sure how the council would react to this latest progress on making Appleton even better than the bronze Bicycle Friendly Community it already is. But the final vote was 10-5, an overwhelmingly positive vote for hard working bike advocates who richly deserve it.
All the money for the corral – about $1,500 – will be privately fundraised. The Harmony Café (run by Goodwill), which the corral will primarily serve, has pledged a third of that and the downtown business association will kick in about another third. The rest will be raised through crowd sourcing.
I’m going to kick in a few bucks and you can too. Just go here >
They need to raise $750 by March 7th so please help if you can.