Bike Parking For Employers & Developers: A Guide To End-of-Trip Facilities
We know we’re lucky to live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area—a place renowned for innovation, where some of the most talented in the tech industry make their home. Given the spike in traffic, a lack of parking near work, and mandatory trip caps, companies are getting innovative about how to get their employees to work. Here’s why bikes matter to Bay Area companies:
Recruiting: Hiring in the Bay Area, especially in Silicon Valley, is often referred to as an “arms race.” Offering secure bike parking, a hassle-free place to store gear, and access to showers gives employers a competitive advantage. Plus when you consider tech workers tend to ride bikes more than others, building top-notch bike facilities becomes critical.
Cost savings: Bike parking solutions are much more economical than infrastructure for cars. Think of the astronomical cost of a parking space: $2,500 in a surface lot and up to $30,000 in a parking structure. In comparison, 6-12 bikes can fit into a single parking space.
We’re seeing the dawning of a new age of the bicycle, where bike rooms, bike amenities and comprehensive end-of-trip bike facilities are now standard issue in the Bay Area.
Bike parking for now and down the road
Building high-end bike facilities will increase the likelihood that existing employees or tenants will—you know—actually bike. But you’re also aiming to appeal to those on the outside: talented prospective employees (if you’re a business) or future tenants (if you’re a developer).
For example, when Pembroke Real Estate set out to create a best-in-class bike parking facility for its San Francisco multi-tenant building at 100 California, it wisely allocated space for its current biking population plus an additional 10 percent to account for growth.
“As forward thinking long-term owners, we wanted to both meet and exceed the demand,” explained Caroline Johns, a project manager for Pembroke, in a recent talk she gave for the Bikes Make Life Better Online Bike Forum series. “Not only as a differentiator now, but because we believe it’s not just a trend — the use of these centers will continue.”
Gone are the days when bike racks in the parking garage sufficed. Employees and employers expect more, like conveniently located, secure bike parking facilities with state-of-the art racks and amenities. San Francisco employers like Salesforce, Airbnb, WilliamsSonoma and Stripe, to name just a few, are investing heavily in their bike parking facilities.
Wall murals, adequate lighting, and wayfinding (like painted pathways) entice bike commuters want to use the space.
DIY bike repair stands, like this one at 100 CAL, support savvy bike commuters and may save trips to the local bike shop.
Lockers with capacity to store saddle bags, helmets and other gear are one of the most popular perks to offer cyclists.
A look inside the posh “End of Trip” facility at 100 California in San Francisco.
There are a number of ways to up your bike parking game. Color is a low-cost, high value way to make bike parking more appealing. Paint on the floor helps distinguish the bike parking area. Wall murals, adequate lighting, and wayfinding (like painted pathways) go far beyond decoration: they send the message that you care about your bikers and want to support them.
Many employees like to have their bikes as close as possible. If you can find indoor space for bike parking, that’s ideal. You may find space near workstations, under stairwells, in underused hallways or in storage space.
At Facebook’s Menlo Park campus, every building is outfitted with wall-mounted vertical racks.
The design, alternating the height of the rack, stores more bikes per linear foot without tangling handlebars.
Another way is to mix bike parking with workstations. LinkedIn, for instance, installed wall hooks for bikes on many floors of its 17-story new office building in downtown San Francisco. Facebook also tested desk bike parking with vertical wooden racks.
Facebook tests freestanding wood racks at HQ in Menlo Park.
IDEO stores bikes in its SF office on the ceiling via a rope and pulley system.
Your turn to go the extra mile
Remember that hiring arms race? Being able to point to bike amenities and perks will make working at your company (or in your buildings) that much more appealing.
Facebook, has the most enviable bike amenities around town, including a fully-functioning bike shop that is free to employees. We know not everyone has those resources, so here are some “little extras” to consider:
Facilities: Access to showers and locker room facilities are a must for those who bike to work. No one wants to show up to their 9 AM sweaty and gross.
Security: Even bikes locked in underground racks get ripped off sometimes, so providing badge access bike rooms or installing security cameras will help bikers feel safe leaving their rides alone for the work day.
Gear storage: Time and time again, we hear bike commuters gripe about having to store sweaty cycling clothes at their desk. Providing lockers or cubbies designed to hold helmets and other gear are unanimously applauded by the cycling community. Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., went even further by including a dehumidifying drying rack in one of its bike facilities. Hundreds of rain-pummeled bike commuters rejoiced.
There are other “added bonuses,” you can try, like DIY bike repair stands, bike docks specifically designed for e-bikes, and wayfinding techniques. The more you build for bikes, the better it is for business!
Need help planning bike facilities at your company? Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped design bike parking and facilities for Facebook, Salesforce, Airbnb, Stripe, Pembroke Real Estate, LinkedIn and many others.
Thank you for your read! Connect with us today to discuss your bike program. Complete the form below or call us at 415.412.7092.