Are there bylaws requiring bike lockers in new developments?
Yes. Kind of. But they may not be as useful as you might like.
The City has the weighty tome called the Zoning Bylaw that regulates pretty much every aspect of new development. If you want to build an apartment building, row of townhouses, office tower, curling rink or shopping mall, there are all sorts of regulations in there to dash your architect’s dreams. Included in those requirements are requirements for bicycle parking (Section 155, to be precise).
Before we get too deep into it, we need to define our terms, because I often park my bicycle leaned up against a parking meter, so all “bicycle parking” is not created equal. The Bylaw differentiates between Long-Term Bicycle Parking (“means a space designed for the parking of one bicycle by permanent users of a building, such as employees and residents”) and Short-Term Bicycle Parking (“a freely accessible space designated for the parking of one bicycle, available for public use during the business hours of premises in the building”). It also differentiates between a Bicycle Locker (“for the storage of one bicycle and accessible only to the operator of the bicycle“) and Bicycle Storage (“an area providing two or more long term bicycle parking spaces“).
Let’s put the short-term parking aside, because installing a couple of racks on the sidewalk is pretty straight-forward. The number of designated long-term bicycle parking spots depends on the type of development. New multi-family buildings require 1.25 bicycle spots per unit (regardless of whether that unit is a studio or a three-bedroom), and office buildings require 1 long-term bicycle space per 8,000 sqft of office space. For comparison, the City requires between 1 and 1.5 vehicle parking spaces per residential unit (depending on the number of bedrooms) and 1 parking spot per 31-50 sqft of office space.
Long-term bicycle storage must be at least 20% in the form of bicycle lockers, which must be solid-walled (not metal cages) and secure. The rest can be in a bike storage room, which must by law be painted white(!), include space for no more than 40 bicycles per room, and have secured access by key for fob.
The Bylaw is silent, however, on how those bicycle parking facilities are distributed among the residents of the building, so those decisions are made by the Developer, the Marketer, and (eventually) the Strata Board. I can find no rule that makes it mandatory to provide access to one or more secured bicycle parking spots to any specific suite, nor is there anything limiting a developer from charging for access to those secured spots. It is possible that, once built, the “bicycle storage” area could be converted to general storage, and I suspect that is what happens in many buildings.
Do you have storage lockers in the basement of your high-rise? Nothing in the Zoning Bylaw that I could find mandates their existence, and it is possible those are converted bicycle storage, if your building is a recent build. People who bought suites may have paid for access, or may have been guaranteed access, but it is, unfortunately, a buyer-beware market. Of course, the same is true for automobile parking spaces. The City designates there must be, say 1.4 per suite, but we do not dictate which suites get one spot and which suite gets two, or how much residents are required to pay for buying/leasing/using them.
As for Office buildings, we simply do not require enough in our zoning bylaw. One spot for 8,000 sqft of office is ridiculous. However, we also do not have any rules around end-of-trip facilities in commercial buildings, and this will limit uptake of cycling more than the threat of having to lock your bike up outside. If you work for a large organization like TransLink with a 150,000 sqft office (18 bike spots required!), it is easy to justify end-of-trip change rooms and showers for your several-hundred staff – actually, they are likely to demand it if your staff includes professionals under the age of 40. But if you are a smaller office tenant, leasing 2,000 square feet for your 5 employees in the same strata building, it is not viable for you to build those same amenities, and you can only hope the Owner and/or Strata see the benefit of these as a “common area” amenity.
So to answer your question, Yes, we require bicycle storage. However, we don’t do enough to make sure that storage is useful for people who want to use it.