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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-29-09, 03:06 PM   #1
PrairieDog
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Looking for suggestions for making a building "cycling friendly"

My college is getting a new building and I've been invited to sit in with the architects next week to offer suggestions for making it both "cycling friendly" and "green."

I'd also like to add features that would encourage faculty and staff fitness and health. And it seems to me that encouraging bicycle commuting is pretty "green." So here are some of the ideas I've already come up with:

showers/lockers
a safe place inside for storing bikes (or even better, a place right outside your office door for storing bikes)
a weight room (no kidding)

Any other suggestions I could pass along?

I'm cross-posting this in both 50+ and commuting. Thanks!
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Old 07-29-09, 03:50 PM   #2
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Why not bike lockers for those who work in the building? Or rentable units? A weight room sounds good but make sure it has a stationary cycle and treadmills, along with a shower and personal lockers. Of course good bike racks outside the building.
I assume this will be a brick and mortar style building, as it's a college building so the best insulation possible along with well insulated windows and plumbing will help keep running costs down. If the roof is a flat roof, it needs some sort of grade to it, but that's understood. That keeps maintenance down from leaks through the roof.
Iuhno... A vending machine with cycling supplies (tubes, lube, bars/gels, Co2 containers)?
Bout all I can think of.
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Old 07-29-09, 03:59 PM   #3
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An decent air pump on a chain (enough slack to move it to air tires, can be light weight because if someone really wants it, well...)

A way to deal with complaints about "tight cycling clothes". Not kinding, this actually happened at my work, and HR did not deal with it well. Told us to "stop it". What a nation of Gladys Kravits we've become.

A board listing folk's mileage year to date (What? Bob in Accounting rode 3,000 miles last year? That sucker can't top me!)

Something during bike to work week to get more exposure. My office ran a door prize drawing during bike to work week.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:25 PM   #4
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If it's a college campus, would there not already be a gym with exercise facilities? I could maybe understand adding a small exercise room, but beyond that, it seems like it would be best to leave exercise equipment in the gym.

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A way to deal with complaints about "tight cycling clothes". Not kidding, this actually happened at my work, and HR did not deal with it well. Told us to "stop it". What a nation of Gladys Kravits we've become.
How incredibly ridiculous. Unless you're wearing cycling clothes around all day, it should be a non-issue. I'd be tempted to just ignore HR and let the complainants suck it up.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:36 PM   #5
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As an architect, I think that once of the main issues with bicicles is the safe of pedestrians.
Why not suggest a separated bike path aproach to the building that would terminate into a vestibule where you can park and lock your bike; Sort of a bike parking lot. I really like the idea to be able to park my bike outside my office but that wouldnt fly anywhere - I don't think.

Some other ideas:
Water fountains to fill you bottles as you leave the building...
lock boxes (small lockers) at the "bike" station

You dont have to have a conventional post or bike rack, a wall or a series of walls and even the floor can be articulated to act as a bike rack, I am plan to do this at my house someday.

anyway.. good luck
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Old 07-29-09, 05:16 PM   #6
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Bike lanes, MUPs, cyclist light triggers, slower speed limit, wide outside lanes, bike boxes... oh wait.
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Old 07-29-09, 05:18 PM   #7
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When you're talking about lockers, you need to think about ventilation. If you put a sweaty bike jersey in a typical locker in the morning, eight hours later it's still soaking wet, but now it's smelly and cold too.

Make sure the shower/locker room is close to whatever bike parking is provided.

Definitely indoor storage with some sort of tracked access, maybe video surveillance. Consider that this (and probably everything else too) is going to attract bikes from all over campus, not just users of this building. See an example here: http://bikeportland.org/2008/03/04/h...-bike-parking/

+1 on the parts vending machine and floor pump. A work stand and cleaning station would be nice too. Better yet, how about a bike co-op in the building. See an example here: http://www.bikeshop.pdx.edu/index.php

+1 on planning a bicycle approach to the building that's safe for everyone. Don't even pretend that bicyclist will walk their bikes from the road.
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Old 07-29-09, 05:32 PM   #8
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From a LEED standpoint, bicycle racks are green, but showers are not. I seem to remember the net result being a negative.
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Old 07-29-09, 05:56 PM   #9
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A way to deal with complaints about "tight cycling clothes". Not kinding, this actually happened at my work, and HR did not deal with it well. Told us to "stop it". What a nation of Gladys Kravits we've become.
Was somebody "sexually harrassed" by your stuffed bulge, or just offended by the sight of body hair? Incredible.
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Old 07-29-09, 06:11 PM   #10
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From a LEED standpoint, bicycle racks are green, but showers are not. I seem to remember the net result being a negative.
Not even with eco-friendly shower heads? What if they aren't hooked up to hot water? Can the cyclists be sprayed down with fire hoses?
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Old 07-29-09, 06:14 PM   #11
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Was somebody "sexually harrassed" by your stuffed bulge, or just offended by the sight of body hair? Incredible.
I wear gym shorts over my bike shorts for this reason. You can't just put that stuff on display. There's no telling what might happen. I'm imaging something like an Axe body spray commercial.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:04 PM   #12
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Seems like a lot of good advice PraireDog. A couple of questions I have is, are you building a new building or renovating an existing one? Also, what would be the purpose of the building (i.e. administrative offices, faculty offices, classrooms/lecture hall, departmental expansion including classrooms and faculty)? Also where would the building be located (on campus, close to campus (within a mile), seperate site (a mile or more away from central campus))?

I guess if I knew more information I could tailor my answers better. Access and bike parking/security would be the main issues I would address. Recently (w/n 3 years) my university has constucted a building downtown about 4 miles away from the main campus with the purpose of housing a reorganized department. We have also purchased an existing building and are currently renovating it less than a 1/2 mile away from the main campus for an expanding department. Both site locations will house both classrooms and faculty offices.

As far as bike commuting is concerned we installed a bike rack outside the downtown center and also have security who walk the premises occasionally. On our main campus we have installed new bike racks under an enclosure outside of our lecture hall. The renovation project is still underway.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:54 PM   #13
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How incredibly ridiculous. Unless you're wearing cycling clothes around all day, it should be a non-issue. I'd be tempted to just ignore HR and let the complainants suck it up.
Once the company is large enough to need an HR department, it is large enough for endless amounts of bureaucratic mischief. Find a smaller company.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:56 PM   #14
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For LEED, I think you need both a bike rack or storage of some sort, and a shower to get the Point.

Try for a locked room inside the building, perhaps near the loading dock. Remember, space inside the building is expensive, so If you can't get that try for an outside bike cage enclosed with security fencing with a locked or card entry door and lockable bike storage inside, with a security camera.
A video example can be found here: http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/...ambridge-mass/
Dero (www.dero.com) makes vertical racks, and even bike service stations.

If they do end up with bike racks, make sure that they spec something that you can lock your bike frame to, and preferably, both wheels - staple type racks or wave type seem to be some of the best. Whatever you do, make sure the architect or landscape architect doesn't put in the real sleek looking wheelbender type.
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Old 07-29-09, 11:15 PM   #15
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Try to get showers and a locker room in the building at a minimum. If parking is to be outside try to get bike lockers installed instead of bike racks. If bike racks are the only option you can get try to get the area covered.

Cost to puchase and install bike racks $150 to $300 each (parks 2 bikes)
Cost to purchase and install bike lockers $1000 to $4000 each (parks 2 bikes)
Cost to provide car parking space $2200 surface lot, $12,500 parking garage
Number of bike spaces in one car space 10-12.
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Old 07-30-09, 05:33 AM   #16
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Seems like a lot of good advice PraireDog. A couple of questions I have is, are you building a new building or renovating an existing one? Also, what would be the purpose of the building (i.e. administrative offices, faculty offices, classrooms/lecture hall, departmental expansion including classrooms and faculty)? Also where would the building be located (on campus, close to campus (within a mile), seperate site (a mile or more away from central campus))?

I guess if I knew more information I could tailor my answers better. Access and bike parking/security would be the main issues I would address. Recently (w/n 3 years) my university has constucted a building downtown about 4 miles away from the main campus with the purpose of housing a reorganized department. We have also purchased an existing building and are currently renovating it less than a 1/2 mile away from the main campus for an expanding department. Both site locations will house both classrooms and faculty offices.

As far as bike commuting is concerned we installed a bike rack outside the downtown center and also have security who walk the premises occasionally. On our main campus we have installed new bike racks under an enclosure outside of our lecture hall. The renovation project is still underway.
Thanks everyone. I am getting some good ideas from you.

I thought I'd reply directly to this quote, since it asks some good questions. The building will be new, and will replace one that is old and no longer viable or safe. It is located on one side of the campus, and the campus itself is very large (over a mile across). There is a recreation center, but it is located at the other end of campus, so riding to work in our building and showering in the rec center is not really practical.

Right now, it is my understanding that the building will be more like a complex, and will house the administrative and faculty offices of the college, classrooms, and a dorm for the students (I know this sounds like a lot, but it is a small college within the university, and this will be a fairly large building). The Dean wants the building to serve as a green model for the rest of the university (which, unfortunately, is not all that environmentally-friendly).

Please keep these good ideas coming--I'm keeping a list that I'll present at the meeting next week.
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Old 07-30-09, 06:05 AM   #17
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Be sure to put the bike rack away from the parking lot. Ours was put in an area where they put poles around parking spaces then a rack in the center. Well on one side cars park their passenger side within a couple inches so you can't get in there and since its in the parking lot its been taken over by motorcycles. If you do put some sort of roof over it then be sure to put up the no smoking signs, ours turned into a smoking area as well as motorcycle parking. I haven't been commuting since being asked to not park my bike there.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:05 AM   #18
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I haven't been commuting since being asked to not park my bike there.
Who in the world asked you not to park your bike in the bike parking area?

That sounds like a nightmare!
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Old 07-30-09, 01:36 PM   #19
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The motorcycle drivers. Aparently bikes locked in the rack make it hard for them to get their motorcycles in the bicycle parking.
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Old 07-30-09, 01:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bergerandfries View Post
An decent air pump on a chain (enough slack to move it to air tires, can be light weight because if someone really wants it, well...)

A way to deal with complaints about "tight cycling clothes". Not kinding, this actually happened at my work, and HR did not deal with it well. Told us to "stop it". What a nation of Gladys Kravits we've become.

A board listing folk's mileage year to date (What? Bob in Accounting rode 3,000 miles last year? That sucker can't top me!)

Something during bike to work week to get more exposure. My office ran a door prize drawing during bike to work week.

Why only a week, go all out.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:12 PM   #21
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With racks, make sure that they work well (some racks suck) & preferably are compatible with all bike styles (recumbent, etc.).
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Old 07-30-09, 02:25 PM   #22
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- Indoor secure bike parking
- Showers
- Place to store extra clothing (lockers?) and hang rainy gear
- Repair area - bike pump, bike stand, some basic tools
- Poster on how to fix a flat
- Ooh vending machine of spare tubes and other accessories (bungees?)
- Pamphlets available on bike lighting, traffic positioning etc.
- Map of your city highlighted with circles estimating "average" biking time to the building (people may not realize its closer than they think!)

Along the lines of green - green roof, energy efficiency, LED lighting, on demand lighting in washrooms etc.
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Old 07-30-09, 05:11 PM   #23
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I would recommend an enclosed area in which to lock the bikes onto racks. Maybe the powers that be on this project are all for incorporating this area into the building itself, and having bike-sized lockers (with ventilation, but you can't tell from outside the locker whether it has a bike inside or not). That would probably be ideal. Since a thief can't tell if the locker is empty until he breaks into it, the locker system is known to be an effective theft deterrent. As a secondary measure, inside a locker, there should still be a way to lock the bike to the wall or locker side.

If open air / outside the building, it would have an iron fence that meets the roof (can't climb over) , and a keycard entry gate. Each person who wishes to use the entrance would have to sign up for an individualized access card, even if it's free. System would log when people enter and exit. Security camera running. The exit/gate unlock button would be on the opposite wall from the door and inaccessible from outside the fence. Upside-down U bike racks to lock, with adequate space between each one, and between racks and walls.

Also generally, avoid situating the storage area in a little-trafficked, secluded spot. Seclusion means that a thief can make an attempt with more confidence that there will be no eyewitnesses. Do not hide the area with shrubs or put it out back somewhere.
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Old 07-30-09, 06:19 PM   #24
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The motorcycle drivers. Aparently bikes locked in the rack make it hard for them to get their motorcycles in the bicycle parking.
Poor babies. I have trouble imagining anyone as willing as motorcyclists are to leave lots of their skin on asphalt being so whiny about parking.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:48 PM   #25
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Looking at your reply PraireDog it does sound like there will be a lot going into the building. Don't be surprised if something is left out due to budget, construction problems/delays, miscalculations, duplication of facility/services, etc. We recently built an events center that had to leave out a planned olympic sized swimming pool, offices, and other such amenities from the original plans due to some of the above. All that by being within budget or slightly above if memory serves me correctly .

If the new building plans includes housing dorms and such I figure showers would be included. Also access to the building via walking path and roadway would also be considered. I also believe there will be more than adequate lighting for both access and building. Since the building would be part of the main campus I doubt they would hire security but rather have it fall under the jurisdiction of the campus police. However, the building being a combination of functions including dorm and school it would also have Resident Director, Residential Assistant(s)/Advisor(s), and key card entry (during off school hours) basically for the dorms. The department would then have faculty and administrative offices for the school and may include security personnel/receptionist during school hours for visitors.

At my school faculty usually have thier own offices while administrative personnel share office space. Hence some of them would be able to bring thier bikes into their space. Bike parking should be as close to the building as possible with at least a covering to help with some of the elements. I believe lighting, showers, and security will be taken care of due to the basic idea of the facility.
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