Planet Bike is the Official Sponsor of's 2008 National Bike Summit coverage.

How the EPA does bike parking

Posted by on March 4th, 2008 at 7:38 pm

This story is part of my ongoing coverage of the 2008 National Bike Summit. See the rest of my coverage here.

The EPA's bicycle storage room-7.jpg

The EPA practices what they preach.
(Photos © J. Maus)

One of the highlights of my first day at the 2008 National Bike Summit had nothing to do with meetings, networking, or keynote speakers — it had to do with bike parking.

It just so happens that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has offices in the same building where the Summit is held (the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center). It also turns out, not surprisingly, that many EPA staffers ride bikes to work and they have a dedicated bike storage room all to themselves.

Thankfully, this year, they decided to share it with us.

The room is accessed through an unmarked door in an underground parking garage. Through the door is a hallway and, after you punch in a secret code, another door opens into the bike parking room. It was quite impressive.

The EPA's bicycle storage room-5.jpg

The EPA's bicycle storage room-2.jpg

Ahhh, the secret code.

It seemed like at least 100 bikes were parked in the racks and there was an entire wall of lockers (including one that had free inner tubes and other supplies available).

Maybe I’m too easily impressed. I mean, compared to the money spent on car parking, this is nothing. But still, it was great to see that the EPA practices what they preach.

You can see a few more photos of the bike storage room here.

  • Jim O'Horo March 4, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Wow! That is slick. I especially like the vertical storage which allows for more bikes in a given amount of floor space. Looks like they have enough ceiling height to add a 2nd level of bikes when this level gets filled.

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  • a.O March 4, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Well, in the interest of accuracy, I wouldn\’t say that EPA practices what they preach. After all, in the last 8 years they have fought the enhanced motor vehicle emission standards tooth-and-nail and denied that CO2 is a CAA pollutant. Both are indefensible legal positions, IMHO, and belie an obviously political agenda.

    Still, it\’s good to see that the (mostly) useless DC bureaucrats have embraced biking to work, because, sadly, change frequently starts from above.

    This is definitely a good sign. And good to know. I wonder how long it will take them to figure out that biking to work does more for the environment than anything they\’ve done at EPA in their entire career.

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  • BURR March 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    I\’d say the staffers that are biking have their hearts in the right place and the political appointees in management that are making all the wrong decisions aren\’t part of the bikey group.

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  • IceArdor March 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    \”I mean, compared to the money spent on car parking, this is nothing.\”

    This is a very good point and got me thinking. What if all employers offered free tubes and flat repair tools, a bike stand, lube, pedal wrenches, chain tool, etc. Aka, a personal repair place, provided there were enough cyclists to use the facility. With 100 bikes, I\’m sure a full-service shops in medium- to large-companies would make sense.

    It\’d also save on having employees need to buy a tool if they only need to use it a couple times.

    With the price that companies pay for parking garages and other services for cars, this environmentally friendly and employee friendly shop would be a huge perk.

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  • Andy B from Jersey March 4, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    What\’s with the memorial plaque that can be seen in the photo gallery? Was Tim Burns a victim of the \”Autocracy\” as too many cyclist are?

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  • Joe March 5, 2008 at 2:18 am

    wow this would be nice, leaving my bike
    outside at night worries me.

    place i work for will not allow me to bring it in doors. 🙁 * its a hand made bike

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  • StevenA March 5, 2008 at 6:14 am

    My brother, who bikes to work at the EPA, says the inner tubes are not free, but provided by his friend, with a pot for contributions so he doesn\’t have to finance getting everyone home who has a flat or needs parts for a repair (he does do a lot of evening and lunchtime work for free). People not reimbursing the \’pot\’ is a problem.

    Apparently “EPA cyclists designed the Bike Parking Room themselves.” See also .

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  • John Boyd March 5, 2008 at 7:16 am

    That\’s sweet as this is also where they go to cry.

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  • Mmann March 5, 2008 at 9:05 am

    A.o. (#2)

    According to a report I heard on NPR last week, there\’s a lot of discontent and low morale in the EPA because of the director\’s opposition to California\’s attempt at raising emission standards. Unfortunately,it sounds like another case of a lot of good people working for a bad boss who make the whole place stink.

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  • McAngryPants March 5, 2008 at 9:28 am

    The ODOT building down on NW Flanders has a similar (damn impressive) bike parking room.

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  • Jim O'Horo March 5, 2008 at 10:35 am

    I agree with a.O. that it\’s the current administration which has put a bunch of like-minded political cronies in place and thus subverted the entire mission of the EPA and the will of Congress.

    Perhaps the next administration won\’t be so narrow minded.

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  • Evan March 5, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I interned at the EPA\’s Smart Growth office during grad school five years ago, and used that room. It was pretty nice.
    It was also especially cool to be able to ride all the way in from Old Town Alexandria on a paved trail.

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  • Me 2 March 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    A.O. Your comments towards the EPA seem a little hypocritical to me. It doesn\’t seem fair to paint a broad brush against the EPA staff who bike to work and the fact that their opinions are limited, ignored and obstructed by the political hacks in power.

    Don\’t you work for Stoel Reeves?

    How do you reconcile the fact that your employer has a climate change practice and a practice that helps electric companies site fossil fuel plants?

    Seems like many of the EPA folks in DC are in a similar situtation as you.

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  • bahueh March 5, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    from a friend who used to work there..A few years back in the E.P.A.\’s global climate change department…the employees were instructed to not mentioned the term \”global climate change\”….that has only recently changed.

    its not the employees…its the administration at large.
    vote out the encumbents….soon.

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  • Big Kahuna March 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    As an aside, I have some pretty funny pictures of about half a dozen workers strapped down with big, noisy, dirty, leaf blowers in front of the EPA building. Victory begins at home?

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  • a.O March 6, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Me 2, don\’t get personal with me unless you want me to examine every personal choice of yours and practice of your employer. That\’s out of line and irrelevant.

    Everyone else understood what I said, so why couldn\’t you? Oh, and learn to spell.

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  • Slick March 6, 2008 at 8:48 am

    a.O. so its ok for you to crucify popo as somehow anti-bike because of his job but can\’t handle any level of criticism yourself? Now your going after people who have dedicated themselves to protecting the environment and ride to work. All the while, you work for a utility defender. You may do some good things, but I think it\’s all for attention and personal gain. Either stop villifying others or get used to a little critique. Before you deny that you went after these people, read this sentence \”I wonder how long it will take them to figure out that biking to work does more for the environment than anything they\’ve done at EPA in their entire career.\” What have you done at Stoel?

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  • a.O March 7, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Slick, care to talk about EPA or policy, or just want to attack me? That\’s what I thought.

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  • Cøyøte March 7, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    The EPA has no mandate to save the earth. Nor does ODEQ have any direction to protect the environment. Both organizations were created to enforce a specific set of regulations. In general the promulgation of those regulations is completely separate from either body. If you want to save the earth join Greenpeace, Earthfirst, or Spankyourmama, not DEQ or EPA.

    Stoel Reeves is a reputable firm. Over the last 15 years, I have sat with them and against them, I have never found that their firm, or any of there employees to be unethical.

    a.O and I have had our mountain goat moments too here in blogland, (In general that is is mostly his fault. 😉

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  • visitor March 11, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Tim Burns (to whom the room was dedicated) was a very hardworking EPA staffer who died of I believe an aneurysm. His family wept when they visited DC a year later and saw that the other employeees had dedicated the room in his honor. There are many at EPA whom I consider friends and are extremely dedicated to the environment and hard workers. To generalize otherwise is an insult to them and to Tim and his family.

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  • Evan March 12, 2008 at 7:50 am

    A few more thoughts, since we have already digressed…
    They use styrofoam plates in the food court at the Reagan building.
    One EPA employee I met liked to go boating in the Chesapeake on the weekend, in a big diesel-spewing pleasure boat. The irony was totally lost on him.

    The first thing they told me when I started my internship there was that one of EPA\’s major responsibilities is to PERMIT polluters. Don\’t criticize them for it, that\’s their job.
    On a positive note, Federal employees in DC get a free subway pass as a benefit, and a LOT of them use it.
    Most people don\’t have the luxury of doing something they love, they do it because they have to. It\’s hard to be passionate under such circumstances. I left the bike industry a couple years ago and every day I question if it was the right choice. Every day.
    People out here in Eastern Oregon just think it\’s weird that I ride a bike to work. Weird.

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  • Robert July 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I notice the reference to a “secret code” to get access to this room. Are there any facilities at all for bike commuters that do not have the, “secret code?”

    Is this exclusive club really open to all bike commuters, or just the ones who are buddys’ with the right people? What about visitors to the building, is there a plain old bike rack at all?

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