New Bike Rack at Church

The Mormon Church I attend on Nicollet Avenue recently installed a new bike rack a couple weeks ago, and I like to think I played a significant role in making it happen.  Back in September of 2008, I submitted a proposal to local church leadership for the installation of a new bike rack.  That proposal was considered, rejected, and forgotten about back in 2008, but the idea was revived in late 2010 when people started to complain that they had to walk too far because the parking lot was always full on Sundays.  To their credit, the local leaders of the Church are attempting to shift some trips to other modes of transportation rather than the typical “expand-the-parking-lot” response (although, I’ll admit, I’ve heard rumors of parking lot expansions as well…).

However, it was still surprising how difficult it was to make this happen.  Despite having a very supportive Bishop, whose influence (I believe) encouraged the Stake President to be very supportive as well, and despite  the chapel being located in the middle of South Minneapolis, arguably one of the nations most cycling-oriented areas, the corporate Church was reluctant to invest anything more than a minimal amount for a bicycle rack.  Apparently, the Church building policies require some sort of special approval to spend anything more than about $200 on a bike rack (a level of investment that was undoubtedly established by people who haven’t tried to lock up a bicycle in decades).  $200 will only buy you the type of bike rack that cyclists will hate using (and, in fact, the church already has one of these – and people hate using it).  As the project was being revived in late 2010, it was clear that they hoped to stick to this budget, which was doubly frustrating, since the Mormon Church (in all likelihood) is the wealthiest church in the nation.  The $850 investment a nice rack would require is, in fact, chump change.

However, after an intense 3-day session involving no less than 3- or 4-dozen emails exchanged between myself, local leaders, a few other lay members of the church, and facilities management people (and undoubtedly many more emails that I wasn’t copied on), I was very pleased to learn that we would be receiving the rack pictured above.  This rack is almost exactly what I proposed buying back in 2008, and is a substantial improvement over the current bike parking available.  So kudos and big thanks to all persons involved in the process, both locally and in SLC.  The only task that remains is to convince facilities management that there is a better way of making sure the rack doesn’t get stolen than by chaining it to a trailer – hopefully they are planning to improve this situation sometime this summer.

4 comments to New Bike Rack at Church

  • Way to go! I think there are always things that we would like changed, but don't put in the time and effort to change them (because as you point out, it can be a major pain). I think they should put a plaque on the bike rack that honors your hard effort. The plaque can also include some profound words by you to inspire all who use the bike rack.

  • Ren

    Good grief. What a cluster for something so simple. For as quickly as the church can operate on some things, it's bureaucracy like this that reminds you it's run by suits from the corporate sector. 😉

    I can guess who is complaining about having to walk "too far" and it's not the Mpls residents. City living has toughened me up from my formerly cushy suburban life. LOL

  • @katie – I was thinking more like a statue, but maybe a plaque would be sufficient.

    @Ren – I was thinking (but not saying) the same thing.

    @Katie – maybe we can arrange candles in a circle around the bike rack.

  • Did they have a dedication ceremony? Pomp and circumstance? No? Let's schedule one. 😉