Overview of Rack It Up!
Rack it Up! is a program of the Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) that provided free or subsidized bicycle racks to businesses, non-profits, community institutions, and others in Cheshire County. Funded by the Partnerships to Improve Community Health initiative through Healthy Monadnock and Cheshire Medical Center, the program aims to increase both the number and visibility of bike racks in communities in the Monadnock Region in order to promote bicycling as a viable form of transportation.
Rack it Up! History
In 2014, the Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) received a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to seek business partners and others to participate in a 50% cost-sharing program to purchase bicycle racks to be installed in Keene. This first phase of the Rack it Up! program was very successful, with 90 new bicycle parking spaces created in the City.
In 2015, the program was expanded due to funding from Healthy Monadnock 2020 and Cheshire Medical Center. With this funding, MAST was able to cover 100% of the costs of the bike racks and expand into Swanzey. In total, 170 new bicycle parking spaces were created through Rack it Up! in Keene and Swanzey in 2015.
In 2016, the towns of Troy and Hinsdale participated in Rack it Up!, receiving a total of 178 new bicycle parking spaces between the two towns. In 2017, the Rack it Up! program was offered in the towns of Harrisville, Jaffrey, Walpole, and Winchester. These towns collectively received 82 bicycle racks, which represents 164 new bicycle parking spaces.
To learn more about some of the businesses and institutions that have taken advantage of the program, see our Rack it Up Case Studies page.
The Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure
Improved bicycling infrastructure not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but it also helps people save money on transportation costs, increases transportation independence for youth and seniors, and reduces traffic congestion. Improved bicycle infrastructure attracts bicyclists and encourages local residents to be more active. This leads to many benefits, including (but not limited) to:
Increase in sales for local bike shops and accessory stores
Increase in sales for local businesses that are accessible to bicyclists
Increase in revenue from bicycle tourists
Healthier employees resulting in fewer missed days of work
Reduced emissions of carbon and pollutants
For more information about the benefits of bicycle infrastructure, see “Bicycling Means Business: The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure,” a report by Advocacy Advance, a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Rack it Up! Funding
In 2015, Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK) was selected to participate in the Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) initiative on behalf of Healthy Monadnock 2020. This 3-year initiative funds a multi-sector coalition in Cheshire County that will work to address the leading risk factors for the major causes of death and disability in the United States: tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical activity.
Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) has been subcontracted by CMC/DHK to work with Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) to undertake the Active Transportation component of this initiative, which includes Rack it Up!, Complete Streets, and Safe Routes to Schools. See the PICH Overview Sheet (.pdf) for more infrmation about the goals and objectives for this grant.
Resources for Promoting Bicycling
Bicycle Benefits Program: This program encourages bicycling by providing an economic incentive for people to bike to local businesses. Participating businesses agree to offer some type of discount or reward to customers who bike to their business. Customers particiapte by buying a helmet sticker, which they can then show to businesses in order to receive their discount. The goal is to reward people for bicycling and businesses for being bike-friendly, thereby creating a healthier community with less traffic congestion, parking demand, and contamination and more local commerce. For more information about this incentive program, see the Bicycle Benefits FAQ page.
Bicycle Parking Guidelines: There are several documents to help with bike rack placement. These include, but are not limited, to:
> The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals published a document titled “Bicycle Parking Guidelines“, available for free in PDF format.
> Dero, a bicycle rack manufacturer in Minnesota, provides excellent bike parking guidance, which can be found on their website.