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New bike racks coming to downtown Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 29, 2020

 A map illustrates the approximate locations of new bike racks in the downtown district of Royal Oak. Not pictured are two sites on South Main Street, south of Lincoln Avenue.

A map illustrates the approximate locations of new bike racks in the downtown district of Royal Oak. Not pictured are two sites on South Main Street, south of Lincoln Avenue.

Map by Jason Clancy


ROYAL OAK — On Jan. 15, the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority unanimously voted to purchase and install 45 new bike racks in 14 locations in the downtown district at a cost not to exceed $10,000.

The bike racks will establish a consistent look and complement the city’s branding, improve accessibility and convenience, and encourage nonmotorized transportation.

In some cases, the bike racks will replace existing bike racks of varying styles and functionality; in other instances, the new racks will be installed to accommodate areas with higher demand.

The bike racks will adhere to a surface-mounted, inverted U shape, with 16 of the racks displaying the city of Royal Oak’s logo. The color of the bike racks will adhere to a subdued color scheme that matches the downtown wayfaring signage.

Some bike rack corrals in the city occupy on-street parking, and many bicyclists are unaware that parking meter-mounted bike racks exist, resulting in them chaining their bikes to trees, streetlights or signposts, according to the DDA. The DDA hopes to remedy those issues with the new bike racks.

Downtown Manager Sean Kammer took the lead on the project.

“There are a couple areas we left out of the plan, namely the area of the new city center,” Kammer said. “We did not include bike racks in the park, City Hall, farmers market, police station or library right now, only because we wanted to make sure the plan was approved and we knew what the plan was moving forward.”

Despite suggestions from prominent members of the city to go with the colors of white or orange, in line with the city’s branding campaign, Kammer said the Infrastructure Committee recommended the more subdued colors of silver or gray.

“The metaphor was they’re the supporting cast, not the stars of the streetscape,” he said.

DDA Directors Jason Krieger and Lori London said they felt bright colors would be distracting and add to “color pollution.”

“There’s a lot going on in our downtown visually. We have signs everywhere. I wish I could take a hacksaw and chop a lot of them down,” Krieger said. “I’m afraid if we have more color and stuff, it’s going to get even more cluttered.”

DDA Director Jennifer Rossbach said she would like to see the bike racks be orange or a bright color.

“As a person who rides my bike, you want them to stand out because you want them to be used,” she said. “We do get a lot of foot traffic at night, and we don’t want someone falling over them either. We do a lot of pub crawls and things around the city. I’d like some color to them.”

She asked if the city considered installing bike racks in its public parking structures to offer bicyclists a protected place to park their bikes. DDA Executive Director Timothy Thwing said there are currently bike racks in the new Center Street deck and bike lockers in the Second Street deck.

While bike riding is not permitted on sidewalks in the Main Street area, pedestrians are permitted to walk their bikes on the sidewalks or ride their bikes in the new bike lanes.