Bikes & the State Fair
We've tried, and they still don't get it.
Representatives from Bicycling for Louisville have met with the Kentucky State Fair Board, and Louisville Metro’s Bike Louisville to try to figure out how to better accommodate and welcome bicycles at the 2012 Kentucky State Fair. We are disappointed to report that the State Fair Board did not respond in a timely or substantive way to our requests for improved bike access.
Bicycling for Louisville made the following requests to the Fair Board in two meetings, Fair Board representatives responded as follows:
- We requested that they provide bike parking that complies with Louisville Metro’s own bicycle parking ordinance (LDC 9.2), which requires parking at locations as close as a car can drive to the entrances to buildings, and when they declined we asked them to disclose what in their liability prevents them from allowing bikes to operate as vehicles within the Fairground gates. They declined to respond to this request as well.
- We offered to provide valet bike parking next to the Tram Stop by East Hall, accessible by gate 6. (They declined)
- We requested that the Bradley St. entrance be reopened, as a bike & walk entrance to the fair, so that people can access the fair safely without riding on major arterial roads (See John Mahorney’s excellent graphic illustration). They responded that they are unwilling to pursue this.
- We asked to meet again with them in September so we can revisit the event and get the ball rolling early for increased capacity and infrastructure for bikes in 2013. They responded with a tentative yes, if we would discuss potential sponsorships.
We believe that this was not enough of a good faith effort to work on the problem of safe bicycle access to the State Fair. After all, in Indiana they discount $1 off the admission price to encourage people to ride to their state fair, and they provide valet bike parking. Several other state fairs welcome people on bikes including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and Texas.
Recently, Louisville Metro’s Bike Louisville office has worked with the Fair Board on the following agreement:
- Similar to last year the State Fair Board will be providing free bike parking at all gates.
- The State Fair Board has agreed to install concrete anchors at gate 6 for bicycle racks that meet Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals national standards. Louisville Metro will provide the bicycle racks. If additional bicycle parking is need the State Fair Board will provide additional bicycle racks.
- There will also be a ticket booth set up for people who park their bicycles at gate 6. This ticket booth will be open to pedestrians.
- After January 1, 2013 Metro will plan to work with the Kentucky State Fair Board to continue to find ways to best accommodate bicycle parking at the Kentucky Fair Grounds.
Bicycling for Louisville thanks Bike Louisville for continuing to work with the Fair Board. However, we look forward to the day when bicyclists are welcomed and accommodated beyond the gates of the Fairgrounds, and we are willing to work with anyone who shares that vision.
We invite you to support our work advocating for better bicycle access, at the Fair & elsewhere.
- Become a paying member of Bicycling for Louisville. Go to www.bicyclingforlouisville.org and click “Get Involved”. Members receive discounts at over 25 local businesses!
- Check out our advocacy campaigns, and all the fun events we’re involved in, like neighborhood bike tours, PARK(ing) Day, and help out. e-mail your commitment to info at bicyclingforlouisville.org.
- If you have a bit more time, please take our member survey.
- Feel free to let the State Fair know you are disappointed & expect better accommodations for bicycles.
Thank you for supporting our common goal of getting more people on bikes. Do it for the air. Do it to promote a truly livable community. Do it to alleviate traffic congestion. Do it to promote better health and combat our obesity problem. With your support, we can change the world’s perceptions of Louisville and Kentucky.
Bicycling for Louisville Board of Directors