Monday, March 12, 2012

Bike Parking Report Is Prepared for Legislature

As a result of legislation that passed in 2011, a bike parking report was created for the 2012 legislative body. Except for the sections on inventory and recommendations, the report was written by the VBPC at the request of the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS). It's an executive summary that discusses the findings of the bike parking survey conducted by the VBPC in the spring of 2011.  In the report, the VBPC makes the point that good bike parking solutions at state buildings are site specific.  A cookie cutter, one size fits all approach won't work. The VBPC hopes that BGS will heed the specific suggestions that are made in the bike parking survey relative to sites around the state.
 click here to review the bike parking survey results.
Here is the executive summary report after the break:

Report to the 2012 General Assembly 
 The following report regarding Bicycle Racks at State Buildings is presented  relative to the 
language contained in Act No. 40 of the Acts of 2011, Section 33 which directed the department of buildings and general services to consult with a statewide or regional bicycle organization to assess  and identify areas at the Capital complex and the Waterbury complex where bicycle parking could be added or enhanced and to assess other state-owned buildings existence of current bicycle parking options. 
A bike parking survey was conducted in May and June, 2011 by the Vermont Bicycle & 
Pedestrian Coalition (VBPC), a statewide nonprofit organization.  A total of 81 responses were received.  The majority of responses involved state facilities in Waterbury and Montpelier.  A smaller block of responses concerned facilities in Burlington, while the final block of responses involved a variety of other facilities around the state. This summary addresses the responses that concerned Waterbury and Montpelier.  It is worth noting that the survey was conducted before Tropical Storm Irene damaged the Waterbury complex.   
 Many Waterbury respondents appreciated the fact that they are permitted to bring their 
bicycles inside some buildings, an option that provides secure, weather-proof storage.  Others 
recognized that the porches of some of the Waterbury buildings have bike racks.  At the same time, many Waterbury respondents asked that when bike parking is not located on porches, that it be located under cover and in a convenient location. 
 The survey results indicate that the Waterbury complex has many porches and other covered 
locations which are (or could be) utilized for bike parking.  At the same time, it appears that many employees are permitted (formally or informally) to secure their bikes inside buildings.  The survey supports adding bicycle racks to porches where none are currently located or installing racks in other covered locations, while at the same time formalizing a policy allowing employees to bring bikes inside.  The survey also shows that a one-size-fits-all approach to bike parking is not what bicyclists want in Waterbury.  Indeed, the survey shows that many Waterbury employees have ideas about how to improve bike parking at the complex.  Therefore, BGS’ most cost effective approach to installing desirable bike parking in Waterbury may be to tap the local knowledge of bicycle-riding employees at the Waterbury complex. 
Montpelier yielded fewer responses and less consistency regarding existing conditions.  This 
may be because responses involved a wide range of facilities.  Generally, respondents cited needs for more bike racks outside state office buildings.  Some wanted covered bike parking, while others (particularly at the National Life Building) cited the lack of access to shower facilities as a major reason for not riding to work.  Unfortunately, the Montpelier responses did not provide any over-arching ideas for how to improve bike parking in that area.  Instead, the responses contained a number of very sitespecific suggestions, which would need to be closely examined by BGS in order to determine the best solution for each location. 
In Montpelier, there are currently seven (7) bicycle racks located within the Montpelier Complex 
at the following locations; one at 133 State St., one at 134 State St., two at 120 State St., one at 115 State St., and two at 109 State St. along Governor Davis Ave.  The only bicycle rack that is currently under cover is the one located behind the State House at 115 State St.  In several locations, bicycle racks are not being used due to their inability to secure bicycle frames; instead trees and signs are being used.  
A survey of the Complex has identified seven (7) additional possibilities for bicycle racks.   
Attached is a map A showing existing and proposed locations.  One of the existing bicycle racks, located on the wall near the east entrance of 109 State St., provides the type of security requested by the Bicycle Association and will not be replaced.  Consequently, it would be our intent to replace all other existing racks with those recommended by the Association.   
In Waterbury, there are currently three (3) bicycle racks; one at the Public Safety building under 
the former front entrance canopy, one on the porch at 1, 2, and 3 South and one under the walkway bridge connecting 10 North with the West Offices.  A survey of the Complex has identified six (6) additional possibilities for bicycle racks.  Five of the proposed racks will be located under porches and one inside the Weeks’ basement.  The racks being considered for the Waterbury Complex hold three (3) bikes each and will be wall mounted.  Attached is a map B showing existing and proposed locations.  It should be noted that the survey of existing and proposed locations in Waterbury was completed prior to the recent flood. 
As can be seen from the summarized information above, it  is not possible to draw any overall 
one-size-fits-all conclusions regarding one or two types of bike racks which should be installed at all Montpelier or Waterbury office facilities.  On the contrary, the data collected demonstrates the solution to bike parking is very site-specific.   
At this time, the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services recommends  that the 
legislature consider making capital appropriations for bike racks and covers or enclosures for the Capital Complex.  January 2012, the Commissioner will provide the legislature with cost, proposed designs and covers or enclosures that will meet the requirements of the Capital Complex Commission Guidelines. As stated earlier the evaluation of the Waterbury Complex was completed prior to Storm Irene, therefore it is recommended that no improvements occur until it’s future  is determined. 

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