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Proposed code changes would strengthen bike parking rules

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 2nd, 2009 at 10:56 am

Indoor bike parking at the Gallery
Condominiums in NW Portland.
(Photo: Dan Liu)

The City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is working on a package of eco-friendly building code changes that, if passed, would include an improvement to bike parking at apartments and condominiums.

The package of new code regulations -- which also removes barriers to installing water-harvesting rain barrels, wind turbines, solar panels, and more -- are part of the City's Regulatory Improvement Workplan.

Currently, "multi-unit residential buildings" have a zoning code exemption that allows them to opt out of providing secure, long-term bike parking. This means residents and visitors have to find parking inside the units, on balconies, or near the building in potentially unsecure locations.

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If the proposed code changes go through -- City Council is scheduled to vote on them in early September -- residential complexes would be subject to the same rules that currently apply to commercial office buildings. That is, they would be required to provide racks or lockers either on site or within 300 feet, with at least 50% of them covered and secured (a locked, highly visible area, video monitored, etc...).

According to the draft of code changes, if the parking requirement is fulfilled with in-unit spaces, the rack/locker requirement is designed to give "some assurance that the dwelling unit is designed with the placement and dimensions of the bike parking in mind."

The proposed code changes would apply to new buildings and renovations that are extensive enough to meet a certain financial threshold.

The City of Portland is pushing these bike-friendly code changes as yet another way to meet their stated goal of a 20% "Target Commute Mode Share" for bicycles by 2030.

To learn more, download a draft of the proposed code changes at PortlandOnline.com.

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Comments
  • q`Tzal June 2, 2009 at 11:07 am

    This would only affect NEW builds of apartments and condos, right?
    I here there is currently a large decrease in real estate investments and that probably means not many new apartments or condos.
    I, an apartment dweller, would like to see some secure bike parking at my apt complex but they aren't going to make everyone upgrade, right?

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  • Allison June 2, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Well, q'Tzal, codes are for long term planning. Things will change again.

    I think a current apartment dweller can provide pressure on his or her land lord - speak to your neighbors, get your neighbors to also put pressure on your land lord. The difference between an apartment that's profitable and one that's losing money is how quickly empty apartments get filled again - in this time of slow real estate markets, a lot of people who would normally be putting their building on a sales market are putting it instead on a rental market - and these are houses, easy to park a bike there! I think you can put it terms of "this will help you fill apartments" if you install it.

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  • Alexis June 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    My building has indoor bike parking (a good thing--it'd be hard to fit our FOUR bikes and three people in a one bedroom apartment!) but bike theft is common. Unlocked bikes regularly get stolen, and that's kind of expected, but a few days ago someone clipped a lock cable and made off with a bike from our locked basement... :(

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  • peejay June 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    When I lived in a condo in the Pearl, the bike parking there was a joke. For 87 units, we had about eight staples, half of them in the landing of one of the stairwells right by an exit door. Most of the staples were filled with unusable abandoned bikes that just took up space, and were never removed by management. I hated to waste energy by taking the elevator, but did so when I hauled my bike to my unit to secure it properly. I hope it gets better.

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