Planned bike hub is a tip of the helmet to commuters
Parking - A 16-story office tower to be built downtown will offer cycle storage, showers and lockers
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Friday, February 16, 2007
This could take some of the sweat out of Portland's growing peloton of bicycling commuters:
A new downtown office building to rise on a surface parking lot at Southwest First Avenue and Main Street is the first to feature a "bicycle hub," offering 933 square feet of indoor storage for 34 bikes, showers and lockers.
The 16-story tower, being developed by Equity Office Properties Trust, based in Chicago, and Gerding/Edlen of Portland, will offer the perks to earn a square footage bonus allowed by downtown development regulations.
Bike riders may work in the new building or other downtown locations, according to the tentative plan. It would be the first office tower greeting riders as they enter Portland off the Hawthorne Bridge, which during summer peaks carries 5,500 daily bike trips.
But the cyclists' bennies will not be free. "As I understand it, these operate for a fee," said Richard Dobrot, one of the building's architects.
Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for the Portland Office of Transportation, said the new building would be the first here offering bike amenities to its own tenants as well as employees in other buildings. He said some large employers provide secure parking and showers for their own employees.
In addition, Bike Central, a Portland cooperative, offers secure parking and showers at two Portland private athletic clubs.
The developers have yet to hire an operator to run the bike hub. Bike repair and sales of bicycle-related gear could become part of the setup, too.
Portland's downtown development regulations offer bonuses for desired uses in various locations, including housing, rooftop gardens, retail space, decorative fountains and public art.
The new tower, which the Portland Design Commission approved Thursday, takes advantage of a "locker room bonus option" to encourage bicycling. The rules allow an extra 40 square feet of building space for each square foot devoted to the locker bonus.
In this case, the bonus amounts to 37,320 square feet, or nearly an entire floor on a downtown-sized block.
Of course, the bike is not yet king. Three basement levels in the tower will hold 294 parking stalls.
Fred Leeson: 503-294-5946; email@example.com