City of Eugene Bicycle Parking Ordinance

Bicycle Parking Ordinance: Eugene

 Executive Summary
The City of Eugene is interested in the effectiveness of its bicycle parking standards, particularly as they relate to development in the Downtown area. The City of Eugene contracted with the University of Oregon’s Community Planning Workshop (CPW) to assess bicycle parking standards. The City of Eugene wants to assess how well the bicycle parking standards meet the needs of residents and what could be done to improve the standards. 

This report presents an analysis of the City of Eugene’s Bicycle Parking Standards (City of Eugene Ordinance 9.6100). The analysis includes a review of how other jurisdictions have addressed bicycle parking, current use of bicycle parking structures in downtown Eugene, and perceptions of Eugene’s bicycle parking standards. The report concludes with a set of observations and potential alternative approaches for the City to consider.

CPW used three primary data collection tools to gather information concerning the content, implementation, and outcomes of the City’s bicycle parking standards. Our work program included the following elements: (1) a review of comparable bicycle parking standards; (2) an inventory of downtown bicycle racks; and (3) surveys and interviews with downtown residents, business managers, and experts. The Eugene Bicycle Coalition reviewed and commented on the survey questions before they were administered. This study was completed during the summer of 2005, a season of peak bicycle activity in the Downtown area and across Eugene.

Findings and Alternative Approaches
CPW developed the following findings and alternatives from our research and analysis of the current bicycle parking standards. Our research indicates that there are two primary approaches that municipalities use for bicycle parking standards: (1) have a required number of bicycle parking spaces per development; and (2) tie bicycle
parking standards to the type of development. Some cities, like Eugene, use a combination of these approaches.

In general, when compared with other communities, the bicycle parking standards in Eugene are:
• More prescriptive;
• Lack design standards; and
• Are less flexible regarding dimensional and quantity requirements.

In reponse to these findings, the following sections provide alternative approaches to achieve the goals of Eugene’s bicycle parking standards and encourage more bicycle use in the Downtown area.

Quantity of required bicycle parking
The downtown area is unique in terms of parking, including bicycle parking. CPW’s interviews and inventory suggests the continued installation of public and private bicycle racks has resulted in bicycle parking capacity that meets or exceeds current demand. CPW found that half of the businesses we spoke with provide bicycle parking inside for their employees, while at the same time the City provides curbside bicycle parking for nearly all businesses. Alternative approaches for the
City include:
• Allow the Planning Director discretionary review (at least in the downtown area) of calculations for bicycle parking dimensions and in determining the number of spaces needed.
• Allow developments to add nearby (within 100’) curbside (cityowned) bicycle parking in their inventory when calculating needed bicycle parking spaces.

Siting is a key consideration for bicycle parking infrastructure. Nearly all cyclists downtown (95%) lock their bicycles to bicycle racks – rather than other convenient objects (e.g., parking meters) – suggesting most downtown destinations have accessible bicycle racks. Personal safety and security of bicycles is a key consideration. An alternative approach
for the City includes:
• Discontinue installation of bicycle racks in alleys and other low visibility areas by the City or developers.

The design of bicycle parking structures is a significant factor in determining the effectiveness of the bicycle rack. In fact, all the cities CPW reviewed, except the City of Eugene, prescribe design standards for bicycle parking. (see Chapter 3)
Inverted-U racks are an effective design and tend to be the predominant type (64%) in downtown Eugene. Most short-term racks in the downtown area are located on sidewalks that are in close proximity to businesses. Moreover, the City of Eugene is the primary provider of short-term bicycle parking in the downtown area. Alternative approaches for the City include:
• The City could develop bicycle rack design specifications that stipulate recommended designs (see Chapter 2).
• The City could provide safe, secure, and accessible long-term parking facilities.

• The City could provide for centrally located long-term parking lockers at new large-scale developments, potentially using system development charge funds.
• The City could require developers to contribute to a bicycleparking fund to facilitate centrally located bicycle parking facilities.
• The City could include secure, long-term bicycle parking spaces in new Automobile parking structures.

The City of Eugene created bicycle parking standards to provide safe, convenient, and attractive areas for the circulation and parking of bicycles. But beyond this general purpose, what issues do such standards address? How are they implemented?

Bicycle standards vary from city to city, as do recommended designs for bicycle parking infrastructure. Many cities have ordinances that require developers to provide bicycle parking. This chapter reviews the general principles that underlie these ordinances: recommended locations; cost; and balancing bicycle parking with auto parking.

Rationale for regulation
Cities adopt development regulations to serve the public health, safety, and welfare. While different cities have different reasons for adopting bicycle parking standards, underpinning such regulations is the fact that the standards have a legitimate public purpose. It is notable that not all cities include a purpose statement in their bicycle parking ordinances. These municipalities have either assumed that (1) the purpose of such standards is evident, (2) that the purpose does not need to be made explicit, or (3) a broader purpose is defined in a different section of the code.

Bicycle parking requirements
Bicycle parking requirements specifically refers to how municipalities define the amount of required bicycle parking. The requirements vary from city to city. Most cities regulate how many spaces are required, and the size of spacing. Recommendations for design of racks are also included in most ordinances.

Bicycle parking spaces are regulated by three main methods. Some cities allot bicycle parking spaces by calculating the square feet of a development. Others require a standard percentage of vehicular parking spaces be designated for bicycle parking. A third way to calculate bicycle parking spaces is by land-use and number of employees. In addition to requiring bicycle parking spaces, many cities also require a “u” rack design and specify how far apart racks need to be from the road or curb and from other racks.

Design considerations

Location is an important consideration for effective bicycle parking facilities. Safe, convenient, and secure parking structures are essential to their use. The City of Portland’s Office of Transportation states that, “The location you choose should meet the needs of potential users and consider where cyclists want to park, not where you might like them to
park. To ensure that bicycle parking will be used, be sure to choose locations that are: convenient enough to encourage cycling; and secure enough to reasonably safe-guard against bicycle theft”2.

The Bicycle Parking Guidelines, produced by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, states that, “the best location for a rack area is immediately adjacent the area it serves.”3 Racks that are hard to find or are in areas perceived to be vulnerable to bicycle vandalism will not be used by cyclists. The Bicycle Parking Guidelines also state that, “The rack area should be no more than a thirty second walk (120 feet) from the entrance it serves and should preferably be within 50 feet”4. 

Bicycle Parking, by Ellen Fletcher, compares bicycle parking with automobile parking. She states that, “The bicycle parking facility should be located at least as conveniently as the most convenient auto parking”5. In summary, convenience and secure, visible areas are important considerations when locating bicycle parking spaces. According to the International Bicycle Fund (IBF), several approaches exist to determine where to locate bicycle parking facilities. The IBF identifies the following approaches for determining rack location:
1. Visual observation. Look for where bicycles are parked illegally due to lack of legal parking. The (car) parking patrol people can probably do this for you in a week.

2. User input. Ask bicyclists (through clubs or advocacy groups) to create a list of most-needed spots for bicycle parking.

3. Land use criteria. Target every coffee shop, bookstore, video arcade, teen/young adult clothing store.

4.Public-private partnership. Have a grant program whereby businesses can request bicycle parking for customers and
employees, paying for the installation themselves, but getting the racks paid for by the grant.

5. Building code. Require all new development or change of business to install bicycle parking proportionate to car parking

Moreover, the IBF encourages consideration of the following criteria when siting bicycle racks:
• Visibility: Short-term parking should be easily visible from the street. Highly visible locations discourage theft and vandalism. Locations in alleys or in un-supervised parking structures or garages should be avoided.
• Access: Parking areas should be convenient to building entrances and street access, but away from pedestrian and auto
• Security: Surveillance is essential to reduce theft and vandalism. Surveillance can be accomplished by placing racks
in highly visible areas or by hiring security.
• Lighting: Bicycle parking areas should be well lit for theft protection, personal security and accident prevention.
• Weather Protection: Bicycle parking areas should be protected from weather. This can be accomplished by using an
existing overhang, covered walkway or by constructing a canopy or roof – either freestanding or attached to an existing building.
• Avoid Conflict with Pedestrians: Racks should be located so that parked bicycles don not block the pedestrian path.
• Avoid Conflict with Automobile: Bicycle parking should be separated from auto parking and roads areas with space and a
physical barrier.

Short-term bicycle parking
Short-term bicycle parking is intended for patrons or customers of establishments, and should generally be located in front of the business. The literature suggests that the type of parking facility (e.g., rack) makes a difference. The bicycle rack is an effective tool used for shortterm bicycle parking. The design of the rack is an important to think about, as poorly designed racks decrease use and have the potential to waste space. The Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities produced by The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, recommends that bicycle racks should be designed so that they: 

• Do not bend wheels or damage other bicycle parts;
• Accommodate high security U-shaped bicycle locks;
• Accommodate locks securing the frame and both wheels;
• Do not impede or interfere with pedestrian traffic;
• Are easily accessed from the street and protected from motor vehicles;
• Are visible to passers-by to promote usage and enhance security;
• Are covered where users will leave their bicycles for a long time; or
• Have as few moving parts as possible.8

The Bicycle Parking Guidelines makes further recommendations on what type of racks to use (Figure 2-1). They recommend the “inverted U” or “A” racks to support bicycles, which are pictured below. These racks support two bicycles in a safe and easily accessible manner.

When thinking about what type of bicycle rack to use, it is also important to think about what racks not to use. According to The City of Portland, Office of Transportation, “old fashioned racks that hold only the wheel of the bicycle can cause damage and are a waste of money. Seasoned cyclists will find other alternatives and take their business elsewhere.”9 Racks that either waste space or damage the bicycle are the “comb ” and “toast” racks.

Designing bicycle racks that safely and easily hold bicycles is one way to encourage optimal use of bicycle parking spaces.

Long-term bicycle parking
Long-term bicycle parking typically serves employees or others that are in a single location for more than a few hours. The focus is less on convenience and more on security.

There are just as many different design options for long-term bicycle
parking as there are for short-term parking. Common options for longterm bicycle parking include storing bicycles inside the residence or business, bicycle lockers, and sheltered rack parking. Bicycle Facility Planning states, “Lockers provide the highest level of security for bicycles and are appropriate for use where day-long or longer storage is needed on a regular basis.”10 Materials used for construction of lockers range from particle board and fiberglass to galvanized and stainless steel. The cost of bicycle lockers tends to be higher than bicycle racks due to the more expensive materials used in construction. 

Ellen Fletcher, who wrote Bicycle Parking compares the cost of bicycle lockers to automobile parking spaces. Though she wrote Bicycle Parkingin 1983, the difference in prices is still applicable today. She states that, “auto parking spaces can cost $30,000 to $40,000 per space in urban areas; the cost of a bicycle locker, which completely encloses and protects the bicycle, can be as low as $200.”11

Bicycle parking space exchanged for automobile parking space
Many cities, including The City of Berkeley and The City of Boulder, allow a certain reduction of automobile parking spaces in exchange for bicycle parking spaces. According to Bicycle Facility Planning, “Most ordinances link bicycle parking requirements to land use and the amount of automobile parking required. In some cases, bicycle parking
is allowed to replace some of the required automobile parking for developments.”12 Allowing an exchange of bicycle parking spaces for automobile parking spaces can allow for more flexibility for bicycle parking standards.

Cities have different motivations for adopting bicycle parking regulations. Chief among them is ensuring that bicycle parking exists in appropriate locations and types to provide employees and patrons with transportation choices. There are a few important considerations to take into account when planning bicycle parking. Parking should be located in a safe and easily accessible area. Racks should be designed to adequately hold the bicycle, and provide easy access to ensure efficient and productive use. Exchanging automobile spaces for bicycle parking spaces can be one way to allow for more ordinance flexibility. These recommendations provide a brief overview of bicycle parking infrastructure, however they
are important first steps to think about when planning for bicycle parking.

Back to all City Bicycle Parking Ordinances