The Indignity of Bike Parking: Now with LEED Certification

I’ll try not to make every post about my SmugCalc, but after a completely car-free September, I have to confess that I’ve gone off the deep end in October, racking up well over 400 miles in a car of some sort. The only solution will be for me to get out on the bike more to try to make up the difference. I’ve also realized that I didn’t put a “cab ride” column on my spreadsheet. I’ve opted to just classify it under “ride with a friend” because really, cabbies are just friends you haven’t met yet.

Enough of the SmugCalc. Let’s get to some parking.

Last month, NPR ran a 2-part story about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings. One part of the story focused on how there is little follow-up on a building once it is certified. The U.S. Green Building Council (they who bestow the LEED) has a system of points for all the various things that will greenwash your construction project make your building more environmentally sustainable. One of the things that will get you some points is bike parking with shower facility and changing facility. The building where I work has a well-located (if not well-designed) bike rack, but no changing room (unless the landlord is hiding it somewhere). This building was rehabbed in 1997-8, which is before the whole LEED trend took off.

The yoga studio I go to is also in (what seems to be) a LEED certified building, or at least, it has a bike room and shower facility. Here’s my Cannondale parked in the bike room.

The bike next to me has been parked there for a few months now. Maybe they are following Carbon Trace’s suggestion of leaving a bike parked at one’s office in order to go on short errands and meetings without needing to drive there. I gave the tires a quick squeeze and determined that this bike is not going anywhere.

this bike is exercising the option to stay in one place

There are two bikes like this in my rack at work. Kind of annoying really. One of these days, I’ll have to leave them a note suggesting that they donate their bike to Recycle-A-Bike (or maybe take a class to learn how to fix it up).

Spouse recently started working in a newly-renovated, LEED-certified building. Overall, I’d say they did a great job: the offices are lovely, the paint is low-VOC and there seem to be energy-saving features throughout the building. There’s even a changing room and shower right next to the bike room!

But what’s with that sign?

Well, someone on staff decided that the bike room would be a good place to park a server tower rack for a while, thus blocking 3 of the 5 bike parking spaces.

I do like the vertical racks for the bikes. It’s a good way to save a little space in the bike room. At first, I thought the racks would only allow a cyclists to lock up the wheel and not the frame, but on closer inspection, they seem to work just fine for most people with a U-lock:

Evidently, they’re also great for hanging conduit.



2 responses to “The Indignity of Bike Parking: Now with LEED Certification

  1. That’s ok. I work just off Charles and Silver Spring. I won’t bike it because honestly Charles St. is a horrid mess of tire wrecking potholes not to mention the highway on/off ramps, etc.

    But my office has full shower and changing facilities but NO BIKE RACK!

    • That sucks about the lack of bike racks. Is there some sort of reason why they have shower/changing facilities? It reminds me of my fake commute back in May with commuterDude. He works at the campus of a major wireless telecommunications company in Overland Park, Kansas. The campus was built in the late 90’s for 15,000 employees (and their cars) but had zero bike racks until a couple of years ago.

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