Tracy Singleton, the owner of the Birchwood Café, came to a recent Bicycle Advisory Subcommittee meeting I attended. She came to speak about installing a bicycle repair station as part of a larger renovation at the Café. The Birchwood has been very friendly to bicycles over the years, and the city denied her initial request.
The city cited ordinance 549.160 as reason for the denial, which requires "business activity" to be conducted within an enclosed building. The repair station would not be used to conduct business activity, but would be free to be used by the public at no cost, noted Ms. Singleton.
It is thought that this apparent mis-application of the ordinance came from a situation where the Wedge Co-op was denied an application to install a fixit station in conjunction with a bicycle-related vending machine. The Seward Coop also has a bike repair station, so there is some precedence.
Ms. Singleton intends to formally appeal the decision through the appropriate city channels, and the subcommittee drew up a resolution (for full committee approval) in support of the fixit station.
Shaun Murphy's take
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Shaun Murphy helped translate the city's initial decision. He said (and I'm paraphrasing), that Birchwood blazes trails and what they bring to the city has not always been encountered before. He complemented their patience, noting that by going through the process, the cafe was helping the city understand how to deal with these situations when they arise in the future.
Shaun cited the example of how the Birchwood previously sought to permanently remove automobile parking spaces and to put bicycle racks there instead.
From the tone of the meeting, I would expect this to be eventually approved.
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