Now that I have your attention, I would like to push the importance of bike racks for new development. It is in the best interest of a developer to include properly designed bike parking in a development. Many times during a development review, developers complain about the requirements for bike racks in their projects. The argument quickly turns to the typical lines: “No one rides or will ride bikes,” or “These things cost too much.” I argue that this requirement is in their best interest, and can save their projects thousands of dollars.
Here are the facts:
1. LESS PARKING. Every bike rack reduces the demand for vehicular parking. Every bike that is ridden to a location is one less needed vehicular parking space.
2. AFFORDABILITY. No matter the scale or use of the development, you will find bike riders. Bicycles are the cheapest form of transportation after walking. The affordability of a bicycle makes this a primary mode of transportation for employees that are in the lower economic levels. This affordability increases the available workforce to a development. With the new employee benefits under the 2008 TARP Bill, employees that ride bicycles to work can receive a rebate of up to $20 a month or $240 a year for riding a bicycle from their home to place of employment.
2. REDUCED TRIPS. By reducing parking, you can reduce transportation demand. Parking spaces are used to calculate trips to a business. By reducing trips, you are able to show a reduction in traffic impacts, and can reduce the impact fees for a project. Many local governments have policies on reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), which include multi-model transportation options. Providing Smart Growth infrastructure such as bike racks, or outlining a Bike-To-Work program may qualify for credits in these policies.
3. RACKS ARE CHEAPER THEN SPACES. A typical bollard style bike rack costs around under $500 and take up less then half the area for one parking space. In comparison, a paved parking space can cost on average of $10,000 a space.
4. NOTHING TO LOSE. For the non-believers, you really have nothing to loose by adding bicycle parking to your development. There will always be skeptics that refuse to think that Americans will get out of their cars. The national trends show us that VMT are reducing across the country for the first time in 30 years, bike sales are up, and virtually every lobbying group is supporting alternative modes of transportation. The fact is that you have nothing to lose by including bicycle parking in your development.