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PBOT wants your input on apartment bike parking

Posted by on February 1st, 2017 at 10:49 am

bike parking at Central Eastside Lofts-4

New city code could require developers to build better bike parking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

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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.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Radical FaerieTim DavismikeybikeyqHello, Kitty Recent comment authors
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Andrew Kreps
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Andrew Kreps

Interestingly, none of that bike parking in the headline image would fit my daily ride, a cargo bike.

BB
Guest
BB

General admission type bike parking facilities in apartment buildings are theft magnets, used for storage of unused/unwanted bikes and overlook all but the typical road/”hybrid” style of bike in their design. I have never gotten the impression that these types of bike storage cages are designed by or for anyone who actually uses a bike. Overnight I only keep my bikes inside, where I live, not in a garage or some kind of public access facility or chained up on the street outside. Build apartments large enough to allow this, anything else is glad handing lip service. The idea of charging money or even disallowing bikes in apartments because of something like this would be insulting.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Whenever you see a bike on a balcony, you know that building’s bike parking has failed.

Adam
Subscriber

No more wall hooks, please!

Champs
Guest
Champs

My ideal “bike room” is a push upstairs and into my apartment. Unless you have a trailer full of groceries, it’s pretty convenient (I’m headed there anyway). Security-wise, only six people have keys to the outside door, and only four to the inside: the people who live there, and the people who own it.

An indoor space might keep your bike dry, but otherwise you might as well lock it outside if dozens or even hundreds of people have 24/7 access to it (check BikeIndex Portland last weekend). It’s fish in a barrel for bike thieves, and cheap LEED points keeps the coopers busy.

And oh look:
http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Expensive-Bikes-Stolen-Despite-Locks_-Storage_Washington-DC-412370333.html

Gabriela Tanaka
Guest
Gabriela Tanaka

My building has an excellent key access bike parking facility but everyone would just park outside because it’s additional $20/month to the already too expensive rent. Then the building decided to put signs up that the outside parking is for visitor parking 4 hours or less. :-/

Mick O
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Mick O

I’m torn on this. I love the idea, but I’m not sure how adding these as “dictates” (JM’s word) fits in the quest to create affordable housing. JM says that forcing rules on developers like this will result in cost savings, but this seems to be true only if the choice is between car garages or bike parking. Is that really the case? My initial feeling is to come up with guidelines, but don’t give owners/developers an additional excuse why rents have to be so high. “Look we have to charge $1250 for studio — we were forced to put in special bike facilities.” But, my opinion could be swayed if shown that this could be done in such a way that didn’t result in pricing families out.

cody
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cody

While I don’t see myself keeping my bikes outside of my apartment, I do see this as an issue for others. What I’d really like to see are more spots to wash/clean my bikes. After muddy cx and mtb rides I’m searching town for a carwash to clean my bikes before bringing them inside.

David
Guest

Please, no Serpentine bike racks, those are horrible for parking and locking a bike and businesses seem to not understand how to properly install them by usually putting them too close to a wall that they become useless.

Doug Klotz
Subscriber

I notice that every single multi-story building that applies for permits downtown, in the Pearl, etc., asks for an exemption to the required 2′ wide parking space per bike. They ask for 18″, and say they have racks that this works with. And every single time, they’re granted the “adjustment” to only have an 18″ wide space. I’m told that the PBOT bike program is okay with this, so BDS just grants every one. I think most of the racks are wall mount. The 18″ spacing is, I believe, on the wall mount racks that “stagger” the bikes (one higher, one lower), making it even harder for some people to access them.

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

Rents are climbing very fast in the Perl. A friend and a cyclist is paying $1600 per month for a studio and the rent is being raised after 1 year to $2000. His car parking this last year has been an extra $400 per month. He keeps his bike in the apartment behind the couch. He does have to pay an extra $100 per month for it. His option for bike storage is in the basement garage for another $20 a month. The garage bike parking has been cleaned out by twice this last year by thieves.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

All y’all saying you keep your bikes in your apartment (and implying this is a good universal solution) – can you ask yourselves if the additional cyclists we’re going to need to get ourselves to 10%, 15%, 20%, 25% mode share are going to want to do this? Or are they just not going to bike if they have to schlep their bike up to their apartment and clutter up their living space with a dirty bike?

Tom
Guest
Tom

What about the 99% of people who will not live under the new code? How can we scale bike parking up to meet mode share goals for people who are not able to carry a bike up multiple flights of stairs. It would be nice to see the city strategically locate some of the new secure elockers in areas with older apartments that do not have onsite bike parking, in place of one or two car street parking spots. For some this might make the difference between bike commuting or not.

http://www.streetfilms.org/secure-bike-parking-just-cents-per-hour/

q
Guest
q

I thought it was lousy the survey doesn’t allow comments unless you currently live in an apartment.

q
Guest
q

It’s important to distinguish between what might be desirable and what should be minimally required of new projects. The City tends to take things that seem desirable and make them requirements forced on every project (in everything, not just bike parking). Instead, the City should ask itself, “If this item/size/provision is not provided, should it be illegal to build this project”?

My preference when living in apartments (and my home for that matter) was to keep my daily-use bike in the living room. I’d rather not be forced to pay for separate bike facilities that I wouldn’t use.

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

the apartment we lived in last year charged a small fee for the parking in the keycard accessed bike room. neither of our bikes really worked well (or at all) with the bike parking. my spouse’s cargo bike wouldn’t even fit into the room and my bike (city bike w/ yepp seats) was far too heavy to lift on to racks. so we were left in a situation where we were paying for “secure bike parking” but had one bike sitting in the middle of the car garage locked only to itself and the other bike likewise locked only to itself (though in the bike parking room). i would have just locked outside but of course, yea, you’d get a nasty gram from the management about how the outside racks were for short-term parking and visitors only. i’d like to see a lot more long term on-street bike parking in the dense residential areas. its the norm in many of the world’s cycling cities and they all get rain/snow/etc, have significant bike theft, and all the usual suspects.

Tim Davis
Guest
Tim Davis

Be SURE to fill out the survey that Jonathan provided! I filled it out and provided long comments. PBOT needs to hear about the importance of providing abundant, safe cycling facilities! My condo building (Harrison East) doesn’t allow storing bikes on balconies, and it has the usual crappy cycling facilities: one small barely locked room (for a building with 200 units) and a couple of bike racks that never have any room (and at least one guy who takes up nearly 10 spaces thanks to his Spinlister operation).

Even at 3AM, nearly half of all the car parking spaces are empty, especially during winter, when some folks are gone. Bike parking takes up a tiny fraction of the space per unit that car parking does. Also, forcing people to lug their muddy bikes into small elevators or up multiple flights of stairs is definitely NOT a way to greatly increase our bike mode share.

Radical Faerie
Guest