(Bay City News) People biking to work just got a boost from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which gave initial approval today to an ordinance requiring commercial building owners in the city to accommodate bicyclists in their buildings.
The proposal, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos last August, would allow tenants to bring bicycles into a building or require building owners to provide secure bike parking nearby.
Owners who want to put limitations on bike access to their buildings would have to complete a bicycle access plan and submit it to the city's Department of the Environment for approval, according to the ordinance, which will go into effect 30 days after its passage.
Owners could also ask for total exceptions to the ordinance if a building's elevators were not available for bicycle access or if there was secure off-street parking or indoor, no-cost parking within three blocks of the building.
The application for the exception would require an inspection of the building by the city's Department of Building Inspection and an inspection of the parking site by the Livable Streets subdivision of the Municipal Transportation Agency.
Avalos said the proposal is "a very cost-effective way of promoting bicycling in San Francisco," and would clear up roads and sidewalks while also reducing bike thefts.
He said the ordinance has the endorsements of both the Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
The board voted 9-2 this afternoon in favor of the proposal. Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd were the two supervisors to vote no.
Chu said she was worried that the ordinance would put too much stress on city departments that "are already taxed at the moment."
Avalos said after the vote that those concerns were "a minor issue."
He said Department of Building Inspection officials had expressed concern about the ordinance but ultimately supported it.
Avalos also said the legislation currently does not include any penalties for building owners refusing to comply with it.
"We could follow up later if we're seeing there's a real issue, but I believe that for the most part there's been embracing of us," he said. "We're not asking anyone to make space for a bike where there isn't space."
The ordinance will come in front of the board again next week for final approval and then go to Mayor Ed Lee's desk to be signed into law.