Bicycle Parking Ordinance: Austin
The availability of end-of-trip facilities has the power to inﬂuence an individual’s decision of whether or not to commute by bicycle. A review of best practices indicates that among other things, lack of facilities including bicycle parking, showers, and locker rooms at work signiﬁcantly deters bicycle commuting. While bikeways and bicycle lanes tend to be a stronger factor to bicycling, the end-of-use facilities are also a major
End-of-trip facilities include bicycle parking, showers, changing facilities, car-sharing, and repair services. These components of the bicycle system are important elements that improve the system and make bicycling easier and safer. City Code requirements should be reviewed and amended to facilitate the accommodation of bicycle end-use facilities.
Bicycle parking is an integral part of comprehensive bicycle planning. It’s not enough to develop and maintain a bicycle-friendly road system. People can’t be expected to use their bicycles for transportation unless secure bicycle parking facilities exist at their destinations, not dissimilar to the motor vehicle system. This beneﬁ ts not only current bicyclists, but can
also encourage newcomers to use bicycles for transportation. Bicycle parking facilities can help reduce bicycle thefts, legitimize bicycle use, and often times provide protection from the elements.
Chapter 25-6 of the City Code describes off-street parking requirements for bicycles. Bicycle parking requirements are based on land use classiﬁ cation and the number of motor vehicle spaces required. (See § 25-6-476, § 25-6-477, and Appendix A of Chapter 25-6, Article 7.)
Bicycle parking design standards are a component of the Austin Transportation Criteria Manual. There are three types of bicycle parking facilities (Fletcher, 1993). The appropriate class of bicycle parking depends on the typical expected length of use. If the bicycle is to be parked all day or overnight, at a park-and-ride station or ofﬁce complex for example, security and protection from the weather are the main concerns; class I or II racks are preferred for these applications, and class III may be used in certain circumstances (such as in a covered and secure area). If the bicycle is to be parked brieﬂ y at a grocery store for example, high security is secondary to convenience and a class III rack is adequate.
Class I, the highest security type of parking, is a completely enclosed parking space which protects the bicycle from inclement weather and is designed so an unauthorized person cannot remove a bicycle from it. Examples include bicycle lockers or locked storage rooms, bicycle check-in systems under control of an attendant, and bicycle storage facilities in a
parking garage under constant personal or electronic surveillance.
Class II bicycle parking provides a medium level of security. Class II bicycle parking is a rack designed so that both wheels and the frame can be secured with only a user supplied padlock or U-lock without removing a wheel. These racks support the bicycle securely in a stable position and some models provide protection of the lock from vandalism or breakage.
Class III bicycle racks are standard, short term use, utility racks. A Class III rack provides the user with the ability to lock one wheel and the frame to the rack. Racks designed to secure only one wheel are not permitted (City of Austin, Transportation Criteria Manual, Section 9.2.0, #11).
Long term parking is meant to accommodate cyclists who are expected to park for longer than two hours, such as employees, students, residents, and commuters. Long term parking is typically located at schools, high density residential areas, employment centers, airports, and transit hubs.
Safety from theft and vandalism, protection from the elements and accessibility are key issues for long term
parking. A place to store accessories is also highly desired. Employers should consider providing showers and changing rooms in addition to secure parking.
The best type of parking facilities for long-term parking are either inside a building, ofﬁ ce, guarded enclosure, or bicycle lockers. Bicycle lockers can be installed indoors or out. They are best provided on a userapplication or lease basis to ensure appropriate use. Bicycle rooms are another solution, and can be created from any locked room. In locations without available indoor storage areas, or room for lockers, bicycle cages may be constructed by enclosing bicycle racks and aisle space with heavy grade chain-link fencing and controlling access by lock.
Short-term parkingis meant to accommodate visitors who are expected to depart within two hours. Short-term parking is typically found at retail shops and public buildings (libraries, clinics, etc.). Visibility and accessibility are key issues. Short-term parking racks should support the bicycle at two or more points above and on either side of the bicycles center of gravity. The best types of parking facilities for short-term storage are simple inverted-U racks. The inverted “U” rack is a single piece of heavy gauge steel bent to form a U. Pipe ends are either installed in a concrete base or have welded mounting ﬂ anges bolted directly to a solid, ﬂ at surface. Each of these racks holds two bicycles and are available commercially or easily manufactured by fence shops. Areas without space for racks can provide parking through rings holding a bicycle against a vertical wall. These rings should be attached at a height 20” above ground. Alternatively, bars may be bolted to a secure wall where conﬂ icts with pedestrian trafﬁ c can be avoided.
Shower and Changing Facilities
Showers and changing rooms in employment centers are important for bicycle transportation. These facilities beneﬁt not only commuting cyclists, but other ﬁ tness minded employees who can exercise during lunch hours. The combination of shower and bicycle parking facilities is usually less expensive than construction and maintenance of auto parking, and therefore should be considered during project planning.
There are very few publicly accessible (even for a fee) shower and changing facilities for bicyclists in the city. Gyms currently offer the most common and ﬂ exible option to bicyclists as they are located throughout the city. However, membership costs typically cover many more services than a bicyclists simply looking for a shower and place to change is willing to pay for. The City should consider communication with area gyms and other work-out types of facilities in an effort to create bicycle commuter memberships.
Several individual efforts have been made among public agencies and private developments to incorporate shower
and changing facilities into developments to facilitate bicycling among their employees. The City of Austin
has been active in incorporating showers and changing facilities for City employees, with nine of the City’s buildings
having shower and changing facilities. Additionally, incentives exist through City administered processes such as Green Building and the site development process. The City of Austin should develop incentive programs and requirements for shower and changing facilities in future new developments.