Provo city officials explain new bicycle parking ordinance

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New city ordinances will require new buildings to include short-term bicycle parking, such the bike dock shown above. (Scott Baylon)

Provo parking and sustainability coordinator Austin Taylor shared the citywide minimum bicycle parking standards recently passed by Provo City Council and discussed the potential benefits they will have for the city.

The standards, included in a city ordinance approved by the City Council in late September, will raise bicycle parking standards at both residential and commercial buildings.

Taylor said these standards must be planned into all future buildings built in Provo and will take effect as new buildings are constructed.

“With every new building, bike parking will be built with it. This doesn’t affect pre-existing buildings,” he said.

The new standards require a certain number of bicycle parking spots per building in proportion to the number of residents or employees or the building’s square footage. Specific requirements vary depending on the building’s purpose.

The ordinance also includes provisions to ensure high-quality bicycle parking, such as bike docks or corrals, for short-term parking and accessible bike rooms or lockers for long-term parking.

He added that he hopes improved bicycle parking will decrease bicycle theft, which is one of the biggest crimes in Provo, with an estimated 1,000 bikes stolen in the city every year.

Bicycle parking in Provo needs to be easy to access and needs to meet City Council criteria. (Scott Baylon)

Provo residents agreed that improved bike parking is a necessity for the city. Provo biker Aaron Skabelund said that inadequate parking can be a big enough deterrent to keep residents and students from biking at all.

“Poor bike parking at home or destinations (people) want to go to is a barrier,” Skabelund said. “When I see bikes at Wymount that are parked on balconies, I know that the bike parking is poor — and that is a bike that is not being ridden regularly because it is such a hassle to get it on the road.”

Mary Wade, director of BikeWalk Provo, commented on the necessity of high quality standards for bike parking, especially downtown.

“In our denser areas and prime destinations like downtown Provo, it’s essential to have bike parking that is secure, visible, u-lock compatible and convenient.”

City Council members expressed a desire to encourage biking and other healthy lifestyle choices among residents when they discussed and planned this ordinance. Council member George Handley said in the September council meeting before the approval of the ordinance that he supports active transportation.

“As we move more and more in the direction of providing this kind of infrastructure and support and it becomes more a part of our city identity, I think we’re going to find that it has great dividends for our community,” Handley said. “I’m very supportive of this.”

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