Bike infrastructure grows in Thunder Bay
Some cycling paths and the odd bicycle rack here and there in front of a shop – five years ago, those features comprised the bulk of Thunder Bay, Ont.’s cycling infrastructure. Cyclist Adam Krupper decided to find out why there were so few racks when he started working for the City of Thunder Bay seven years ago as its mobility co-ordinator.
“After talking with many businesses around the city, I realized many shops wanted to have bicycle racks outside, but didn’t know where to buy them, or how to install them properly to fit the city’s bylaws,” said Krupper.
For the city, he created bicycle parking guidelines for all building owners. Bicycle racks started being installed in 2012 in front of businesses that had expressed interest. Krupper checked in with all those businesses to ensure the new racks were up to standard and would be conducive to cycling, snow removal and accessibility. “I didn’t just want these racks to be utilitarian,” Krupper said. He worked with local artists who created art on the racks to reflect the city’s history.
Another issue facing the racks is the havoc snow can play on bicycle parking. Krupper is working with a company called Asphalt Anchors to test the workability of fasteners that allow racks to be installed quickly and removed easily to facilitate snow plowing, while keeping them secure enough to handle frost heaves and would-be bike thieves.
With almost 300 bicycle racks installed since 2012, Krupper’s initiative has made a significant improvement for Thunder Bay cyclists. Still, he is already thinking of the next step: more integration of bicycle racks, shelters and long-term bicycle storage units in new buildings around the city. He’s continuing to transform Thunder Bay into a bicycle-friendly place.— Coburnbrown