NEW ULM - The City of New Ulm has installed six custom-made bike racks at the intersections along the historic section of Minnesota Street to make the area more biker-friendly for residents.
Installed last Tuesday, one bike rack is available at each intersection on downtown Minnesota Street from 3rd South Street to 1st North Street. An additional bike rack is available diagonally across the Center Street intersection from the first one.
Each bike rack is a U-shaped bar featuring a metal sheet with a cutout of the City of New Ulm logo. City employees installed and built the bike racks with the assistance of local businesses. Howard Meyer Welding bent the bar and installed the metal pads, Donner Laser Consulting cut the symbols, and Stadick Body Shop provided the paint job.
City Manager Brian Gramentz said the idea for the bike racks was developed by himself, Street Commissioner Tom Patterson and several other City workers after the New Ulm City Council amended the "recreational conveyance" ordinance in the downtown area. The ordinance bans the use of bicycles, skateboard, scooters and other similar vehicles on Minnesota Street from 4th North Street to 2nd South Street. Prior to the change, the ban covered a more expansive area, including German Park. The change was promoted by bicyclists who worked on Minnesota Street but couldn't park their bicycles a reasonable distance from their place of employment. The bike racks are intended to further assist bicyclists with the now increased access to the area.
"If you're not going to allow bikes on Minnesota Street, then you need to find a way to accomidate riders," said Gramentz.
Patterson said the City is experimenting with six racks for now. He said they could easily produce more bike racks if there's enough demand, specially since they only cost the City approximately $65 to make.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.