Downtown Bike Access Ordinance Clears Key Hurdle at Board of Supes

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today gave preliminary approval to what advocates call the strongest bicycle access legislation in the country. The ordinance [PDF], which would require downtown building managers to provide secure indoor bicycle parking for employees either on-site or nearby, is expected to receive final approval from the board next week and be signed into law 30 days after that.

Employee bike parking at San Francisco City Hall. Photo: Aaron Bialick

“Today’s vote is another way that San Francisco is proving itself to be a great place to do business and to bicycle,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “The city took a significant step forward today in recognizing that more people bicycling benefits our city’s economy.”

“An impressive number of businesses ranging from law firms to tech companies to real estate firms are already making it easier for more of their employees to bike to work, and this legislation will help even more companies become more bike-friendly,” she added.

Supervisor John Avalos, who introduced the legislation, noted the broad support it enjoys, particularly from the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA), which was involved early on in its development. All supervisors except for Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd voted in favor of the proposal.

“With many companies expressing the desire for bicycle parking and storage, BOMA recognizes the need to provide safe, secure parking for bicycling employees,” said BOMA President Meade Boutwell in a statement. “Members of [BOMA] are concerned about the environment and promote the use of sustainable transportation options, including bicycles.”

BOMA’s support, noted Avalos, “says a lot about where we’ve come from in terms of how much cycling is accepted as a means of commuting in San Francisco.”

At a recent hearing on the proposal, SFBC Program Manager Marc Caswell pointed out that it will benefit far more than the “hundreds of thousands” of San Franciscans who already bike to work. It will also provide incentive for “the thousands of other people who are interested in biking to work, but are discouraged because they do not have a secure place to park their bike right now,” he said.

  • Mark

    Since I’m a daily cyclist I’m all for this, but “. . . the hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans who already bike to work.” Really? Perhaps a bit of an overstatement? Also, how about some enforcement of the law that already exists mandating bike parking in all garages open to the public. Some garages still offer no bike parking, others let the bike racks get completely filled with irresponsible idiots who lock up bikes and then abandon them, as if they were for free long term storage, making the parking useless for what they were intended. 

  • jjsmack

    I agree that something needs to be done about bike owners who use bike racks as free long term storage. Happens in my condo building, at work, etc. I would support the idea of charging a nominal fee for bike parking, similar to how it’s done in the Embarcadero BART station where you pay 3c an hour during peak times, 1c at others. I don’t think employers should be required to do it for free, only to have the racks filled up with abandoned bikes that nobody monitors.

  • Aaron Bialick

    @bd760725d6d51edffdab360afce160a7:disqus “Hundreds of thousands” is what Marc said, but it’s possible. The SFMTA estimates there are 75,000 daily bike trips, and SFBC survey found 70% of the 800,000 San Franciscans rode a bike in 2009, and not everyone rides every day.

  • sabrina D

    Yup Mark is right.

  • “The ordinance … would require downtown building managers to provide secure indoor bicycle parking for employees either on-site or nearby”  This is not quite accurate. 

    Buildings will not be required to provide bike parking–they just won’t be able to prohibiting bikes from entering the building unless they provide secure indoor bike parking.  Whether or not a business who rents the office space allows their employees to park their bikes inside their rented suite is up to the business.

  • Not only do the existing laws need to be enforced, it would help if “secure” was actually defined. Our office building in SOMA provides bike parking in the garage which consists of a few racks just inside the garage accompanied by a sign relinquishing any responsibility in the event of theft. From what I can tell the security cameras all point to the cars, so they would also be of no use.

    I am not sure under what definition that qualifies as secure. Fortunately they do allow us to use the freight elevator and park them in our suite.

  • Zack

    I’ve been trying to find it and haven’t so far, so does anyone know of a map showing the affected area of this?  I’ll be working in Mission Bay soon and know that so far my building isn’t going to allow bikes, and was hoping this would change it.

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