The bicycle parking provision in our new (one year old) condo building has been bugging me since I moved in. The condo is in the District of North Vancouver built by one of BC's biggest home builder's. One bike room is provided for bicycle parking and it has insufficient space for everybody in the building, here's a breakdown in the hope that future developments are better catered for...
The District, as with most municipalities has intentions towards promoting cycling as a sustainable mode of travel and one that helps improve the health of our community as a whole if more people participate. Big home builder, while there to make money by building homes, claim sustainable goals relating to design and construction, but perhaps need to extend that to the entire life cycle of the home, which in this case would be helped by providing adequate bicycle parking for residents.
My condo building has 108 units. The bike room has capacity for 53 bicycles at most, that's how many I counted in there, and I would say they were packed far too tightly. Almost exactly half a bicycle space is provided per unit! We own four bikes, not that i'd put them all in the bike room. There's definitely more bikes squeezed into the room than planned, likely capacity is probably closer to 25 or so spaces.
The parking provision in the planning documents for this development claimed 1.5 car spaces per unit, and 1 bicycle space per unit. That's an easy calculation, 108 units = 108 bicycle parking spaces. What actually was built was the "53 space" bike room, and then 42 storage lockers were renamed bike lockers, presumably to meet the quota. So say 42 lockers with 2 bikes each, plus a 25 space bike room gives us 109 spaces, fantastic, Mr big home builder has satisfied the planning requirements but left a legacy of insufficient space for us to live with for the foreseeable future. The bike lockers were essentially sold as storage lockers and are used as such.
How this was approved by the District i'm not quite sure. The outcome of this is that many of the residents must keep their bicycles in their condo, which is not ideal. Those with expensive bikes may always keep them in their unit, but we have people with "beater bikes" who don't have anywhere to store them.
How much bicycle parking should have been provided?
In a municipality with intentions of promoting cycling (which is most of them), shouldn't we provide bicycle parking for every potential cyclist in the building?
Lets see what that might look like?:
In our building of 108 units, this would equate to the following parking requirement:
Now, I'd agree this is probably too much, and half would go unused, It would require a room over 6 times the size of the current one. But a room say three times the size of the current one wouldn't be unreasonable, and allow everybody to park their bikes without having to fight with other bikes.
Based purely on my experience in my building, I'd say the following bicycle parking standards would be more appropriate:
Or a flat 1.5 spaces per unit would make it simpler and yield pretty much the same provision, 162 spaces.
Going full circle, even if our building's bike room had space for the 1 Space per unit intended, we would have a room with 108 spaces, over double the size of the current one which would be a lot more comfortable than the current situation.
Importantly the bike spaces, whether in the form of a bike locker or bike room should be in addition to the correct number of storage lockers and used solely for the purposes of bike storage.
With aspirations for a more active and sustainable community, and more trips by bike, getting provision closer to 1 space per resident rather than 1 spacer per unit should be our aspiration. Bicycle parking space alone will not achieve the vision of course. This can only be achieved with the addition of suitable and safe on-street bicycle infrastructure to encourage and enable such trips.
The second thing that needs to be addressed is security, we have had numerous attempted and some successful break-ins to the bike room, I'd hoped that a company that has built so many homes would have learned lessons along the way and by now, could design good security into the building.
However, it seems like a case of do-minimum. Our strata has already had to spend thousands of dollars to make our building more secure in the first year. Relatively simple improvements that should be obvious. I would rather have paid a small premium on the purchase price for it to come secure in the first place!
Developers, don't cheat the system. Municipalities, don't let the developers away with it. Provide residents with sufficient bike parking provision that enables rather than hinders the use of a bicycle for transportation.
While we try to reduce urban sprawl by densifying, we need to be reducing the advantages that single family homes have over multi family homes, storage plays a big part in that. Many people don't want dirty bikes taking up space in their living area.
While i'm on the subject of insufficient bicycle infrastructure, here's an older post... Can we have Equitable Streets In and Out of Lynn Valley???