Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's committee time!

Rack installed in front of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto

Something we've been working on for a while is finally going to be discussed at two City Committees with some real authority. And if you like our idea, I encourage you to attend one--or both--of the committee meetings to show City officials your support.

But first, a bit of background. Downtown Waukesha needs more bike racks. (Currently, there is only one correctly-installed rack in the downtown area, and it's in front of the Salty Toad). The WBA wants to resolve the bike parking situation by soliciting creative, sculptural bike racks from the artistic community here in the city. Sure, the BID could address the bike parking problem with some plain U-racks. But doing sculptural racks would have so many other benefits:

  1. Keep money spent on design and fabrication within the local economy
  2. Provide functional, beautiful, and interesting public art downtown
  3. Showcase artists and designers from the Waukesha area
  4. Generate interest and enthusiasm for biking to the downtown area.

We are raising funds for this project without using money from the City's budget. Last fall, we pitched our idea to the BID's Downtown Environment and Streetscapes committee. We identified possible bike rack locations and sent them to the City engineering department for review. We met with the Waukesha Public Art committee. We sent Mayor Scrima a proposal to fund a portion of the project using the New Day for Waukesha fund. We got some press.

Finally, all of those meetings are starting to pay off. Our project is up for review and "conceptual approval" by two City committees in the next couple weeks. Some preliminary aerial photos of possible locations of the racks and some photos of sample artistic racks from other cities will be presented for their consideration. We will have two representatives from the WBA on-hand to answer any questions, but we would also like to have lots of people in attendance to show their support for the proposal. So, please come to one (or both!) of these meetings:

  • Plan Commission: Wednesday January 26th at 6:30 in the Council Chambers in City Hall. It looks like we're at the end of the agenda; I will have to confirm whether we will be moved up. UPDATE: Yes, we are at the end of the agenda, so show up after 7:15 p.m.
  • Public Works Board: Thursday February 3rd at 6:30 in Room 207 of the City Hall. No agenda yet as of today.

You don't have to stay for the entire meeting, but only for our turn to present at the meeting. Hope to see you there!

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