By Jake Mathias
The Stevens Point Public Works Committee on Monday unanimously approved the purchase and installation of 10 bike hitches for downtown Stevens Point. The proposal now awaits approval from the full Common Council on July 20.
In a memo to the committee supporting the move, Director of Public Works Scott Schatschneider said the new hitches are more aesthetically pleasing and have a better functionality than existing bike racks.
“We’re replacing the big, what I’ve heard termed ‘tire benders’, to ones that accommodate a dozen bikes,” said Mayor Mike Wiza. “We’ve got some u-brackets downtown that are already chipped up and look lousy.”
Wiza also said current bike racks are not located where they would be most used, prompting some cyclists to lock their bikes to light poles along Main Street.
The hitches will be constructed of durable, galvanized metal and cemented into the existing sidewalk. Each new rack is expected to hold two bikes, and the traditional bike racks in front of the Portage County Public Library are expected to remain in place.
Alderman George Doxtator of District 1 asked why the Association of Downtown Businesses weren’t paying for the hitches. He argued the businesses on Main Street alone would benefit from increased bicycle traffic.
“I want the city to be able to choose the locations,” Wiza replied.
The cost of the 10 hitches is $1,465 dollars. Installation costs were not immediately available but will be presented to the Common Council next week.