A survey of bike racks in the downtown area Friday, Dec. 28, found two of the 68 stands in use, it was reported Monday night at the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee meeting.
"We're thinking of doing it again when the weather is warm and on a Saturday," said Pleasanton Traffic Engineer Janis Stephen. "Also maybe some of these racks are not where they are needed. If the public can let us know where they would like one, we can investigate if there is a public right of way."
Committee member Mike Sedlak said he doesn't feel that downtown Pleasanton is friendly to bicyclists, with outdoor restaurant seating infringing on the sidewalks.
"We can't even get off our bikes and walk them, let alone ride them downtown," committee member Bill Rose agreed.
"There's not space for bike lanes. If we did that we'd have to eliminate parking but that would be contentious," Stephen said, adding that there are attractive alternative routes to cycling through town, such as Second Street.
She said she would contact the city of Berkeley to see how it accommodates its many cyclists on the crowded streets and sidewalks.
Rose also noted that cyclists with expensive bikes, in the $2,000 range, are protective of them.
"They are not going to lock them to anything and walk away," he said.
The 68 downtown U-shaped bike racks, which cost approximately $500 each, are mostly placed individually along Main Street, with three on Peters Avenue near Veterans Plaza Park and some throughout the Civic Center.
"Maybe it would be better to put the bike racks together," suggested committee member Deborah Wahl. "People might feel safety in numbers."
The bike racks have been installed downtown over time, some based on requests of residents, others as part of city projects, such as the circular cluster of racks in front of the Firehouse Arts Center. The racks on West Angela Street between Main and First streets were put there for bicyclists attending events at Delucchi and Lions Wayside parks.
Rose suggested putting bike racks near Cole Market, where people leave their bikes and ride the bus to their jobs.
He also said perhaps a space was needed downtown where bikes would be protected, with a valet system.
"Maybe by a bike shop," Pleasanton police Sgt. Robert Leong said. "Have a couple of guys do the valet-ticket thing."
"Maybe get a Scout troop or someone who wants to raise money," Wahl added.
"But then it's just one location and Main Street is long," Sedlak noted.
"We have to let people know there are bike racks downtown," committee Chairman Kurt Kummer said. "I don't think of downtown being a place I would ride my bike."
"Are we trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist?" asked member Rick Romine.
"I wonder if this is a problem that might solve itself," Kummer said, adding that when the trail system is completed, more riders might come downtown. "At some point it's going to be some merchants who will say, 'Why don't I put a bike rack in the back so they can stop and have lunch?'"
The Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.