Opinion: We Need to Update Bicycle Parking Minimums

I want to thank the Planning Commission’s consideration for updating bicycle parking minimum requirements. I would like to ask the Commission to consider the following in its discussion:

  • The implementation of bicycle parking minimums for (multi-family) residential uses that are currently lacking in the code.
  • The regulation of short-term bicycle rack types to more practical uses. Developers tend to install various types of racks (for aesthetics) that are impractical for people to lock their bikes to. To ensure aesthetics does not compromise utility, and to make sure racks offer a practical and comfortable way to park bicycles so as to not deter cycling as a mode of transportation, I find it necessary to regulate rack type.

I would recommend the Planning Commission include language into a revised ordinance authorizing Community Development to accept or reject bicycle rack types based on “practicality of bike racks”, subject to the approving authority as developments come for approval. I would ask staff to conduct research on what are the practical short-term bike rack types and offer that information to developers during the approval process.

Alternatively, a stronger path could entail an ordinance with a list of acceptable rack types anything that deviates from that would require a variance from the appropriate authorities at Community Development. I would favor this as well.

Some of the most impractical styles of bicycle parking racks might include:

  • The “wave” bicycle racks
  • Tilted wave racks
  • Coathanger racks
  • Grid or schoolyard racks with very thin spaces where fat-bike tires could not fit in.
  • Racks that compromise utility for aesthetic

Here is a website with excellent guidance on bicycle rack types:https://bikeprovincetown.org/choosing-bike-racks

I would also recommend allowing some flexibility in the zoning code to allow for bike parking to be in one or two car-parking spaces. This would be very helpful in existing commercial, residential, etc. development that has limited space to build bicycle parking. Pictured below is an example of two parking spaces with bike racks on them:

One example of this is the Chick-fil-A at Woodbury Town Center gets absolutely overwhelmed with ebike parking in front of the doors to the frustration of their staff (and to the frustration of Facebook users who have commented on this more than once online). There are almost always empty parking spots near the entrance of Chick-Fil-A that could be used for bicycle parking.

Prohibiting e-bikes from being banned from residential units

Per the recently passedSB 712, it is illegal for developers to prohibit e-bikes from residential complexes. Having this in the City code would allow for increased enforcement of this rule during the approval process.(Background on SB 712).

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Planning Commission Meeting – February 15, 2024 at 5:30pm
  • Agenda – Item 3 – Bike Parking Standard Discussion – Provide direction on bike parking standards to incorporate into the Municipal Code and Zoning Ordinance Technical Update.
For information on how to participate: https://www.cityofirvine.org/community-development/planning-commission-agendas-minutes-0