Friday, May 17, 2013

UPDATE - Planning Commission Unanimously Approves Amendments for Bicycle Parking

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UPDATE - May 17, 2013

The proposal for new bicycle parking requirements was approved yesterday by the San Francisco Planning Commission with a 6 to 0 vote.  It will amend the current bicycle parking requirements in the Planning Code in response to an increase in bike use in San Francisco.

The new amendment to the Planning Code will reflect the national standards for bicycle parking, and allow San Francisco to incorporate best practices from other bike-friendly cities such as Portland, New York, and Vancouver. The proposal will categorize the bicycle parking requirement into two types:

1. Long-term parking geared towards residents and employees of buildings; and
2. Short-term parking serving commercial building visitors.

The requirements will vary depending on the building use, such as residential, retail, clinic or an office, and the building’s volume of bicycle trips. The proposal also allows flexibility for property owners to convert required car parking spaces for bicycle parking. In addition, the proposal will include a bicycle parking manual, a comprehensive overview of the design and layout guidelines for different types of bicycle racks.

Since August 2012, the San Francisco Planning Department worked closely with San Francisco Bike Coalition, BOMA San Francisco, San Francisco Residential Building Associations, Union Square Community Benefit District, Real Estate Department, the Department of Environment, and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to understand and address their concerns on the proposed bicycle parking requirements.

Next Steps

The proposal is anticipated to go before the Board of Supervisors in June 2013. If the proposal is adopted, garages and buildings owned and leased by the City will be required to upgrade the bicycle facilities within one year to comply with the new Planning Code standards. The proposal will also require new and renovated privately owned commercial buildings, and new residential buildings to comply with the bicycle parking requirements.


UPDATE - May 14, 2013

The San Francisco Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the proposed planning code amendments for bicycle parking on Thursday, May 16, 2013 commencing at 12 Noon.  BOMA San Francisco members and your BOMA Advocacy Team have been working with the Planning Department staff on this proposal over the last few months.  We will be reviewing the latest draft of the proposal (also below: Exhibit G) to determine if our member's concerns have been addressed as noted in the last  blog post on March 29, 2013.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the changes, please email

UPDATE - March 29, 2013

BOMA leaders met with Planning and Department of Environment staff regarding this proposal recently.  Code development is an issue that members take seriously so this additional meeting was fruitful for all stakeholders.  The gathering produced the following suggested amendments/issues of concern to BOMA members:
  • Planning, Environment Codes - Bicycle Parking; In Lieu Fee 
    • References to No Cost Bicycle Parking in the Proposal 
      • BOMA members ask that the commercial property owner and tenants negotiate the reasonable amount to charge for bicycle parking, if required, in an existing commercial building or parking garage. Based on BOMA member interactions with tenants, charging for bike parking will incentivize tenant employee cyclists to ride their bicycles to work and care for their bike investment (i.e., they won’t want to damage their costly bicycle as well as the commercial property). 
    • Applicability (pg. 26) 
      • New Entitlements 
        • Planning Department staff suggested strongly that the new bicycle parking requirements in the proposal affect entitlements for new developments, not existing buildings.  
      • State Law California Title 24, Part 11, Sec 5.701.6.2 
        • We spoke about BOMA members’ concerns about ‘code creep’ which is a colloquial term to explain the unintended consequences of a code proposal at any level of government. BOMA members interpret and implement existing code and work closely with San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, San Francisco Fire and the Planning Department when pulling permits for Tenant Improvements and other projects for existing buildings. 
          • (5) where DBI determines that an addition or alteration meets the bicycle parking thresholds set in the State Law California Title 24, Part 11, Sec 5.701.6.2 
            • Planning Department staff mentioned that this new addition to the Applicability section of the proposal is required by State law. They also stated that Barry Hooper with the Department of Environment would be the correct person to speak with.  BOMA staff has reached out to Mr. Hooper but have yet to receive his comments.
  • Tenant Bicycle Parking in Existing Commercial Buildings Environment Code 
    • BOMA staff has communicated member concerns to the Department of Environment and are awaiting a response.  Most importantly, as detailed in the January 24, 2013 update below, is that the new bike parking requirements may affect existing buildings and parking garages based on specific criteria. 
We are awaiting an updated draft of the proposal before it is heard at the Planning Commission later in April.  Thank you to the staff from the Planning and Environment Department for listening to our member's concerns.

UPDATE - February 28, 2013

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please click here to review the most recent draft of the executive summary and language for the Planning Code Amendments for Bicycle Parking.   We've received word that the proposal will be continued at today's Planning Commission meeting and will be heard in the near future.

In the meantime, please continue to send in your feedback to  The Planning Department and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition have been gracious partners in this process.  Collectively, we feel that most BOMA member issues have been addressed.

What is the major issue identified in the proposal at this time?

As present, BOMA members and other commercial property owners will have an August 2013 deadline to build a bike room to current standards or the NEW standards after August 2013.  The new layout/design requirements may impact existing building property owners that file for a specific exemption under the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Buildings Law.

Your BOMA Advocacy team and members are working on a compromise to extend the deadline.

What are the next steps?

We will recommend that the Planning Department/Commission consider reviewing future existing building bicycle parking facility build outs by square footage.  More details on this as the dialogue continues.

Once the Planning Commission approves the amended code changes at an upcoming meeting it then goes to the Board of Supervisors and relevant committees (most likely Land Use and Economic Development) for review. BOMA members and other stakeholders can suggest amendments at the appropriate time.


This large scale update to San Francisco’s Codes that relate to bicycles is based entirely on the 2009 Bicycle Plan that was adopted unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on August 11, 2009.

I want to know more. Where can I review this proposal?

Take a moment to review the Executive Summary of the Planning Code Amendments. Specifically:
  • Triggers for Bike Parking Requirements in Existing Uses (p. 4) 
  • Bike Parking as an Active Use (p. 5) 
    • Related to bike parking rooms/facilities.  
  • Bike Parking Requirements for Existing Garages (p. 6) 
  • Bicycle Parking in the Environment Code (p. 7) 
  • Public Comment (pp. 8-9) 
    • BOMA feedback 
    • Department of Environment feedback 
    • San Francisco Bicycle Coalition 
    • City and County of San Francisco Department of Real Estate 
If you’re so inclined, please review the language of the Planning Code Amendments. Specifically:
  • Standards for Location of bicycle parking spaces – Class 1 (p. 19-20 of the ordinance)
    • These are the bicycle parking requirements AFTER August 2013 if you want to build or expand your bike room.
  • Effective Date (p. 26 of the ordinance)
  • Note the language that identifies bicycle parking rooms (or facility) and the effective date for new bicycle parking requirements as August 1, 2013


UPDATE - February 13, 2013

The San Francisco Planning Commission will hear this measure on February 28th.  Please email if you have any questions or concerns.


Original Post - January 24, 2013

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team has been working with our partners at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and the San Francisco Planning Department on an ordinance that will affect the way all property owners - including the City and County of San Francisco - administer bicycle parking on and adjacent to their premises.  This new proposal includes the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings law that our members worked on with the SFBC in 2011 and was signed into law in 2012.

The aim of this new measure is to streamline all references to bicycle parking and to provide for new requirements in the San Francisco Planning and Environment Codes.  The catalyst for these updates is the San Francisco Bicycle Plan adopted in 2009.  Please note that the Planning Department is still working on amending the proposal language to reflect stakeholder issues, including BOMA San Francisco's concerns mentioned below.  Please contact with any questions when you review the available proposal dated December 13, 2012.

About the San Francisco Bike Plan

The San Francisco Bike Plan set as one of its major goals to ‘ensure plentiful, high quality bike parking’ in San Francisco. In order to achieve this goal, this Plan asks that the existing Planning Code be amended to better address bicycle parking. The plan identifies changes that would expand and increase these requirements and also organize and consolidate the existing Code sections. The proposed legislation would help implement many of these actions specified in the adopted San Francisco Bike Plan.

Potential BOMA Member Issues - Your Feedback Is Requested

The new measure will target primarily new construction projects and existing buildings where building alterations increase the gross square footage of a structure by 20% or more.  There are a few issues that will affect a BOMA members' ability to facilitate bicycle parking in an existing building going forward.   Any feedback on the following is appreciated.  Please send to

Bike Parking Facilities (Bike Rooms) - Grace Period Until August 2013

The aforementioned 2012 Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings law requires that commercial building owners allow bicycles to be brought into the tenant space/or into a bike room on site for tenant employees only.

If a BOMA member has elected to allow tenants to park their bicycles in a bike room and they have not built it by August 2013, they will have until that time to do so under the current Planning/Environment Code.  After August 2013, they will be subject to the new bicycle parking requirements including: new parking design standards, number of parking spaces based on square footage, path of travel (e.g., no stair or escalators may used to access parking) and parking facility location requirements that are included in the 2013 bike parking proposal.

 - Charging a Reasonable Fee for Bike Parking Facilities

If you charge a reasonable fee for use of your building's bicycle facilities, you'll need to provide the bike parking facility at no charge if you build it after August 2013.

 - Existing Bike Parking Facilities 

According to the Planning Department, if a property owner has an existing bike parking facility on site that meets the current code, they do not have to meet the new requirements (after August 2013) unless they have building alterations that increase the gross square footage of the structure by 20% or more.

- Allowing Full Tenant Employee Bicycle Access

If a property owner or manager allows all tenant employees bicycle access into the building without restriction, they are not impacted by the new proposal.

We'll update this post once we receive the next draft of the proposal outlining these changes.  Please email with any questions you may have.

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