City councilman proposes bike racks with advertisements

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With Pittsburgh City Council considering new rules for businesses that want to install bicycle racks on city sidewalks, Councilman William Peduto is pushing an alternative: racks on parking meters, paid for with advertising revenue.

Today he's inviting his council colleagues to join him in asking the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to seek proposals to put racks on the meters, using a design and business model pioneered by a San Diego-based firm, BicyclePark Media. That company could cover the cost of installing the racks, and even share revenue from 9-inch-by-12-inch ads on its product with the authority, Mr. Peduto said.

"The [city's] cost of putting it on, installing it, is zero," he said. "The revenue from it would go back to the Parking Authority to help in its enforcement of residential permit parking," which currently suffers from a lack of resources, he said.

BicyclePark Media is a company that has been developing its patented racks for four years, and just unveiled it two weeks ago, said Emily Jamison, a Pittsburgh-based sales consultant for the firm. She said the racks, held by brackets to parking meter stems, could be customized to suit various neighborhoods.

"If in the Shadyside area, we want it to look and feel like Walnut Street, versus a different design around college campuses, we can do that," Ms. Jamison said.

The racks ensure that bikes stand parallel to the street, so they don't block traffic or pedestrians, she said.

The city has been installing bike racks in business districts. Council is due to vote tentatively today on legislation that would allow businesses to do the same on public sidewalks in front of their locations, after showing that they met specifications and paying a $25 fee.

Advertising-driven racks on meters "would eliminate any store owners having to pay anything," said Ms. Jamison.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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