Office Buildings Get Their Wheels On

banana seat bike charmPull your pink banana-seat bicycle from the storage unit - it's time to roll.

More New Yorkers will be able to commute to work by bicycle thanks to The Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law that goes in effect Friday, Dec. 11.

Referred to as the "Bikes in Buildings" law it aims to increase bicycle commuting by providing cyclists with secure bike parking in or close to their workplaces.The law, signed by Mayor Bloomberg in August, only applies to commercial office buildings with at least one freight elevator. It does not apply to residential buildings.

The program will be jointly overseen by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Buildings (DOB).

According to the program's press release commuting by bike has grown 26 percent in just the last year alone. DOT's strategic plan to double 2007 bike commuting levels by 2012 and to triple them by 2017.

Here's what "Bikes in Buildings" could demonstrate to commercial building owners in other cities...

Reduced Automobile Congestion
Oh, sure, biking is a great way to wave the "green" banner. But let's get real: encouraging more cyclists means that the roads and parking spaces are freed up for other economic use.

Building owners that have designated parking for employees can reduce costs if fewer employees need a parking space.

Increased Building Value
Commercial tenants are increasingly just as interested in "green" features as residential tenants. A building owner that complies with the new law and creates a designated space for bikes will be more competitive on the market, even if no tenants currently cycle to work.

Unfortunately, LEED does not offer points for bike racks. If it did, we might see building owners accommodating cyclists faster than you can say "10-speed".

Health and Social Benefits
Office tenants with healthier and happier employees are more likely to contribute positively to a commercial landlord's bottom line.

If you're interested in bringing biking to your building discuss it with other employees and approach your manager. Under the New York law tenants may request bike access through a formal request to their office building owner. The building owner must then grant access to the tenant's space by elevator or request an exception from the City. More info here.
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