CALGreen bike storage solutions

Can bicycling become a viable transportation mode for Californians? Yes, but only if there's an infrastructure in place that makes it safe and convenient to ride a bicycle. That means all buildings have to provide, at minimum, some bike storage and a safe way to get to it on a bicycle. Does that sound like like an unreasonable project cost that suits only a small and vocal special interest group?

Consider the impositions placed on a new construction project so that automobiles can be suitably accommodated: a single surface parking stall costs around $4,000. A single parking stall in a parking garage averages around $20-25,000. These costs are not optional; parking requirements are required by ordinance.

They very footprint of most buildings is dictated by accommodation for the automobile. The Swiss architect Le Corbusier famously curved the entry of the Villa Savoye (1929-1930) to match the turning radius of his 1927 Citroen. By the 1950's, what was once a radical design statement became an accommodation so commonplace that we barely notice the influence today.

In contrast, bicycle storage can be shoehorned into lots of available spaces, and costs $100-$300 per bicycle. For each car left at home in favor of a bike, there is a significant construction cost savings.

CALGreen bike storage requirements address a portion of our bicycle infrastructure needs: secure short-term and long-term bicycle storage. The short-term storage is a pretty easy deal - just provide a bike rack that stores bicycles equal to 5% of the new parking stall count. Ribbon racks are nice, durable, affordable, and generally appreciated by bicyclists. You can easily lock wheels and frame, an especially important feature for users of easy-to-steal quick-release wheels. Cute, artsy bike racks are cute and artsy, but not really designed for convenience and security.

The long-term storage requirements for tenant-occupants require some additional considerations. By CALGreen definition, a tenant-occupant is someone who is not a "transient" visitor - usually an employee or resident. Long-term bicycle storage must be:

  • accessible from the street (i.e., not upstairs), AND
  • covered and lockable, OR
  • in a lockable bicycle storage room with permanently anchored racks, OR
  • inside of a permanently anchored and lockable bike locker
  • so, make it covered and lockable and permanent already.

This doesn't necessarily mean you have to install big space-hungry bike lockers. We've had success with inexpensive wall-anchored hanging bike racks located in storage, staging, receiving, and utility areas. Your results may vary, but as long as the bike storage area is kept secure from the general public, and is clearly marked as a bike storage area, you'll probably be in good shape with the plan checker. You can get very solid commercial-grade wall-mounted bike racks like these.

CALGreen bike storage requirements are generally compatible with LEED alternative transportation credits. To capture the LEED point, though, you do have to provide shower/changing room facilities.

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