New Legislation Would Increase Secure Bike Parking in San Francisco

Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee advanced new legislation that would modify the current Planning Code to dramatically increase the amount of bicycle parking in San Francisco buildings (more details below).

The new legislation was introduced by Supervisor John Avalos and moves to the full San Francisco Board of Supervisors for consideration later this month. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition worked closely with the Supervisor, Planning Department staff and other key stakeholdersto help craft this legislation.

“With so many San Franciscans choosing to bike for their daily activities, abundant secure bike parking is essential. The existing Planning Code was a great start — but in the decade since, we’ve seen a huge increase in people biking and this change will help keep San Francisco rolling forward. This new legislation keeps up with the growing demand for more secure bike parking,” said Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Secure bike parking

Bicycle parking at Airbnb in San Francisco (click to download hi-res image)

The legislation covers all new San Francisco buildings, major renevations and buildings owned or leased by the City. The legislation has huge support from bicycle advocates, everyday bike riders and building owners, all who recognize that more secure bike parking will help adapt to the large projected population growth in San Francisco, as well as encourage more people to bike and help the City reach its official goal of 20% of trips by bike by 2020.

“As a developer, we understand firsthand the value of providing quality, secure bike parking,” said Michael Yarne, Pratner of Build, Inc. “Both of new projects in the Dogpatch neighborhood include a minimum of one bike parking spot per residence and plenty of spaces for visitors. On-site bike parking helps attract quality tenants and create more livable neighborhoods.”

“As a Commercial Real Estate broker, I know that many employers want to be able to offer bike parking because it allows them to recruit and retain high quality staff,” says Simon Poulton, Principal Owner of Walker Poulton Commercial. “These updates to the Planning Code are a great way to ensure San Francisco can help meet these needs for years to come.”

Risk of bike theft is a major deterrant to city riding for many people, and this new legislation will make it easier for San Francisco residents and employees to find secure bicycle parking.

“I rely on my bicycle to get me to the nearest BART station and to destinations in San Francisco. I do not have a secure place to leave my bicycle and have had my seat and wheel stolen as a result,” said Amanda Leahy, who lives in Berkeley and commutes to San Francisco. “As much as I love to ride, theft is becoming a major deterrent. I am constantly fearing returning to my bike to find another piece of it, or the whole thing, missing.”

“I used to ride my bike to work downtown, but a year ago my locked bike was stolen off the outdoor rack my building provides. I  won’t consider riding to work again until my office building improves their bike parking. In the meantime, I have to drive or take the bus to work,” said Fiona Smythe, resident of the Richmond District.

Highlights of the new Bicycle Parking Legislation:

  • Increase required number of bike parking spots in new buildings from about 2% (or less) to a minimum of 5%.
  • Clarify Categories: Instead of simply labeling all buildings as “Residential” or “Commercial,” the new code includes variety of requirements based on type of use. Numbers vary for SRO’s, Schools, Stadiums, Industrial/Commercial/Office uses and more.
  • Offer Clear Design Standards: Provides developers with clear guidelines on best types of racks and specifies space/width for aisles and entranceways.
  • Add Triggers: Planning Code is only for new buildings or other buildings that have a specified change called a ‘trigger.’ In the existing code, only Commercial Buildings with a renovation of $1 million or greater are triggered to comply with the Bike Parking Code. In this new legislation, the addition of a dwelling unit or adding car parking would also be ‘triggers.’
  • Create options for outdoor sidewalk parking: New construction that doesn’t want to install outdoor bike racks for visitors themselves can simply pay $400 per spot to SFMTA to fund additional sidewalk racks.
  • Provide Option to Convert Car Parking to Bike Parking: Any landlord or developer who would prefer to use space for bike parking instead of mandatory car parking may do so – which is currently prohibited.
  • Update Enforcement for City-Owned and Leased Buildings: Changes and strengthens how the city surveys and enforces bike parking requirements for City-owned and leased buildings. This will help add more bike parking to libraries, the Hall of Justice, and other buildings.

For further information about the new Bicycle Parking Legislation, visit

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