Do you live in an apartment? If so, where and how do you park your bike?
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is refining and updating the portion of our city code that regulates bicycle parking in residential buildings and they want your input. Because this is Portland, they’ve also assembled a stakeholder advisory committee that’s grappling with code revisions that could dictate a new number of new policies such as: whether or not a fee should be charged for bike parking rooms; how high bike racks should be installed; what type of security and signage should be used in bike rooms; the quality of access routes to bike rooms, and more.
Our bike parking coverage is brought to you by Portland-based Huntco Site Furnishings.
Our current bike parking code was written over 20 years ago and, while it has been updated a few times, it hasn’t kept pace with development or with the growing number of Portlanders who live a low-car lifestyle. During recent years of Portland’s apartment boom the free market has dictated whether or not bike parking exists — but the quality and accessibility of that parking is still up to each individual building owner. Because of Portland’s reputation as a bike-oriented city and market demand, we’ve seen all types of bike parking amenities in new buildings.
The Milano Apartments near the Moda Center have a ground-floor bike room with space for 91 bikes. That seems bike-friendly, but the racks are spartan — just a single hook on a wall requiring a difficult lift not everyone can manage. The Central Eastside lofts just a few blocks away have much more user-friendly bike parking amenities. They offer racks a variety of rack types and their bike room comes with lockers, a repair workstation, and even a bike shower! Then of course there’s the king of all bike parking facilities — the 600 space “cycle station” and bike valet at the Hassalo on Eighth apartments in the Lloyd District.
How do those compare to the bike parking facilities in your building? If you could create your ideal bike room, what would it include?
To help get feedback that will inform their advisory committee, PBOT has just released a survey. Along with questions about your current facilities, the survey asks questions like, “Would you like to see a requirement where bicycle parking for apartment buildings had to be provided in dedicated bike rooms?” and, “Does your apartment charge for use of the bike room or other bike parking facilities?” (Yes, some apartment buildings in Portland charge for use of the bike parking room.)
PBOT says they specifically want input on how and where to provide long-term, secure bicycle parking for residents.
This is an important issue. Easy to use and attractive bike parking encourages more people to ride. And it also reduces housing costs because the comparitavely high price auto parking is passed onto tenants, some of whom pay $100-$200 a month just to store their cars. As we reported last year, the average cost to build an apartment fell sharply between 2011 and 2013 when there was a boom in buildings that didn’t include auto parking.
If you live in an apartment, condominium, or other multi-family dwelling, please share your input with PBOT via the survey. And keep in mind, any changes ultimately passed at city council would only apply to new buildings or to buildings that undergo major renovation. For more information on the bike parking code update, check out the official city website.