Building with Bikes in Mind - Bikes Make Life Better



The bike boom is not slowing down and best-of-class bike parking solutions are becoming a competitive advantage. Fortunately, bike parking is a relatively small investment. Especially when you think of the astronomical cost of a parking space: typically $10,000 to $30,000 per space (see Donald Shoup’s groundbreaking book The High Cost of Free Parking for the thorough breakdown of cost factors). Then there’s the monthly maintenance cost per space — usually several hundred dollars.

That’s a big chunk of change for a single car-shaped space that will almost certainly be empty some of the time. In comparison, six to 12 bikes can fit into a single parking space (and as developers already know, a lot of other things can fit into many parking spaces — additional housing units; amenities like gyms; retail).

We’re also seeing a culture shift towards more human-centered design with active transportation components. This isn’t surprising considering 50% of U.S. residents say that walkability is a top or high priority when considering where to live, and, according to the U.S. Census, bicycling has become the country’s fastest-growing form of transportation for commuters.

With car-free developments, like this one in Tempe popping up; with many cities across the country abolishing parking minimums; and with the pandemic-instigated bike boom still surging, we believe it’s time for developers to rethink car parking and start building for bikes.


From dismount to desk But what do best-of-class bike facilities look like? It’s really about anticipating how bicyclists will interact with your building’s design elements and then ensuring they have a frictionless and pleasant experience. For workplaces, we like to call this “from dismount to desk” but it applies no matter the bikers’ destination. Here are the 5 things developers should know when building with bikes in mind:


1) Access and routing Because bicycles can use vehicle or pedestrian entrances to buildings, they often have many routes into a workplace. You’ll need to determine what routes bikes commonly use to get to your building or facility. And then determine how you can enhance existing routes or redirect bicycles where needed (that’s where wayfinding, below, comes in).

The key to access and routing is to make the journey from dismount to desk as easy and intuitive as possible. For workplaces, the ideal flow is bike parking → locker → shower → breakfast → desk in a short, direct line.


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