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New Bike Parking Regs for the Win!

Images and story courtesy of Bicycle Security Advisors.

There can only be as many people biking as there are safe, convenient, and accessible places to lock-up their bikes at destinations. Every year, more people are biking in Seattle, and that means we need to support them with new, better standards that will help ensure this growth continues over the next decade.

Fortunately, on April 2, the Seattle City Council passed major improvements to the city’s bike parking requirements in new buildings. The improved standards will help ensure people will always have a safe, convenient, and accessible location to park their bicycle, whether it’s in a building or on the sidewalk for a short errand or trip.

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In addition to improving the bicycle parking requirements, the legislation, CB 119221, also updated many off-street parking requirements, aiming to reduce the city’s dependence on single-occupancy vehicles and to support transit-oriented development.  

In support of CB 119221, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways worked in a broad coalition alongside Bicycle Security Advisors, Cascade Bicycle Club, Capitol Hill Housing, Futurewise, Transportation Choices Coalition, Transit Riders Union, Sierra Club, and 350 Seattle to meet with councilmembers, send supportive email messages, and provide public comment at the city council hearings. This work built on bike parking advocacy in previous years such as the Rackathon event we co-hosted.

bike parking reform 2018The new legislation brings Seattle’s bicycle parking requirements closer in line with the other major Pacific Northwest cities of Portland and Vancouver, B.C., as well as other peer cities across the nation.

A centerpiece criteria for determining how much bike parking would be required was the City of Seattle’s performance target to quadruple bicycle ridership by 2030, the equivalent of one-in-eight trips being by bike. Here are a few of the key highlights:

  • Increases the amount of required bicycle parking. In comparison to eight peer cities, Seattle now has the highest requirements for long-term parking for 13 “land use categories,” and the highest requirements for short-term parking for 8 land use categories.
  • Requires office buildings with more than 100,000 square-feet to provide commuter showers for different genders, and exempts the shower facilities from a new building’s size limits.
  • Improves the incentive policy for bicycle parking by allowing developers to trade 1 car stall for two bicycle parking spaces, and increased the cap on this provision to now allow up to 20 percent of the required car parking to be removed.
  • Requires bike parking to be accessible without the use of stairs.
  • Requires bike rooms to accommodate family, cargo, and electric bikes.
  • Requires more temporary bike parking, aka “bike valet” parking, for major events such as Sounders games.

bike valetMore work still needs to be done.  Many of the code’s new provisions, such as definitions of “safe” and “convenient,” and the new bike valet allowance, will need to be implemented through new guidelines to be adopted by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

The parking reform legislation was stewarded by Councilmember Rob Johnson, chair of the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee, and his staff. In addition, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, vice-chair of the PLUZ Committee, also worked tirelessly with bicycle, transit, housing, and environmental stakeholders in helping to shape the final legislation.

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*This post is a modification of a blog post by Bicycle Security Advisors. Follow Bicycle Security Advisors on Twitter.