New code amendment could bring more workplace showers and bike lockers

Bend City Council, Brian Potwin
With City Councilor Sally Russell at his right, former Bend Bikes board member Brian Potwin tells it like it is back in 2013.

One of the agenda items on tonight’s City Council meeting (agenda available here) is a proposed change to the Bend Development Code (BDC) that could increase the number of workplace showers and bike lockers available to bike commuters. These proposed amendments, which include a variety of other code changes, have been unanimously approved by Bend’s seven-member Planning Commission. The city’s Community Development staff also recommends approval.

Bend Bikes supports these amendments because evidence suggests that measures like making showers available at work lead to significantly more commutes by bike (for example see this City Lab article).

Currently, large non-residential commercial development proposals in Bend are required to submit a transportation analysis (BDC 4.7). In order to assess a project’s impact on traffic and congestion, one part of this transportation analysis must estimate the number of trips the development would generate.

The proposed amendment introduces a Transportation and Parking Demand Management (TPDM) Plan. The TPDM Plan provides explicit ways for developers to show how their project attempts to minimize its impact on traffic and congestion. By enumerating specific steps, the TPDM allows a development to reduce its projected impact in terms of the number of trips and required parking by specified percentages. For example, adopting a carpool, vanpool, and/or car share program or being located within 1/4 mile of a transit facility and participating in CET’s Group Bus Program would each entitle a development to reduce its projected traffic and parking impact by 5%, respectively.

One of the options that developers will have to lower their projected trip and parking requirements is by providing “on-site showers and lockers free of charge” and providing “enclosed bike lockers and/or fenced, covered bikes storage areas and/or a designated bike storage area inside a building.” A project may also double the number of required bike parking in exchange for additional reductions in trips and required car parking spots (see p. 68 in the proposed amendment).

Council will have a first reading of these proposed changes, along with opportunities for public input and the presentation of evidence, tonight (March 1, 2017) during its regular meeting at 7pm at City Hall (710 NW Wall, Bend, OR). If you are interested in voicing your support in person at tonight’s City Council meeting, we’d encourage you to show up by 6:30pm to sign up to speak for 3 minutes. Usually the public comment period is one of the first items on the meeting’s agenda. We’ll be following the issue to see the outcome of Council’s consideration.