March 21, 2015
Seattle Children Hospital celebrates the grand opening of its new Staff Bicycle Service Center. This onsite full-service bike shop will offer staff convenient access to free tune-ups and safety checks, discounts on bicycle commuting gear, and free classes and demos.
The service center is just the newest part of a larger Children's strategy to reduce barriers to bike commuting. Children's was instrumental in getting the 39th Ave NE Greenway built and has exceptional support for biking. For example, staff have free use of a bicycle when they pledge to bike to work at least two times per week year-round.
The service center is part of a broader strategy to reduce barriers to bike commuting, thereby increasing the number of Children’s staff biking to work and decreasing the number of staff driving alone to work. This larger goal is a key element of Children’s 2010 Major Institution Master Plan and is intimately tied to the expansion of Children’s clinical space. Increasing clinical space is of critical importance to Children’s ability to be able to provide care to every child in the region who needs us. In order to expand its clinical space, Children’s made a commitment to the City of Seattle to mitigate traffic congestion associated with the expansion of the hospital.
Building and maintaining parking lots is costly and uses resources better invested in caring for Children’s patients and families. By providing unique amenities such as the service center, Children’s stands out as one of the only employers in the nation providing this type of support to its staff and is widely recognized as an innovative business leader in terms of commute trip reduction. Most recently, Children’s received 4 Seattle CTR Champion Awards from the City of Seattle and Commute Seattle for these efforts.
In terms of increasing the number of its staff choosing to bike to work, Children’s faces a unique challenge: over 70% of Children’s staff are women. Since only 24% of all bicycle trips in the United States and 30% of trips in Seattle are made by women, this demographic poses a challenge. Yet, Children’s has an impressive track record of encouraging women to bike to work: 55% of Children’s bike commuters are women. Even more impressive is the fact that 70% of staff participating in Children’s Company Bike Program are women. These statistics are unmatched in Seattle among organizations of Children’s size. They indicate that Children’s unique programming, including the services offered at the new service center, address some of the barriers to cycling that keep women from choosing to bike to work at the same rates as men.