Baden-Wuerttemberg sets new trends: bicycle promotion starts there right on its doorstep. According to the new building code which came into force yesterday, in the future every builder of private houses must also provide reasonable bicycle parking spaces.
“In Baden-Wuerttemberg, the new building regulations stipulate that, from now on, two weather-protected parking spaces for bicycles which make effective theft protection possible must be available per apartment,” says Edgar Neumann, press spokesman for the B-W Ministry of Transport in Stuttgart. That means, for example, 16 parking spaces for eight apartments. They should be as accessible as possible at ground level or easily accessible by ramps or lifts. Traditional bike racks may be built or areas or rooms set up to park bicycles, strollers or walking aids.
This change is timely. Today in homes, often no space for bicycles or strollers is provided. The vehicles are inevitably parked in the entrance foyer and stand in the way.
Nevertheless, the bill has caused a lot of tumult even before the decision was made: the daily Die Welt reported mockingly about the covered bicycle racks, and the FAZ found them expensive. However, no one bothered to mention that buyers or tenants of an apartment are forced to build and finance a car parking space, even if they do not have a car.
The Green-Red state government´s step is only logical and a consequent outcome of the intention to promote cycling in the city and in the countryside. If one wants more cyclists in the city, one must also create suitable parking facilities – both private and public. The outraged reactions in the press and politics only demonstrate once more that cycling in Germany continues to have an extremely low status.
In future, builders in Baden-Württemberg will be able to replace up to a quarter of the necessary car parking spaces with bicycle parking spaces. For this, they must provide four bicycle parking spaces for a parking lot. Ideally, this is cycling promotion is in its purest form.
The example of Bike City in Vienna shows how this can operate. There are 320 bicycle parking spaces per approx. 100 apartments. On the individual floors, there are partly glass storage spaces for bicycles and strollers, partly bicycle parking spaces right outside the front door. This works easily, because the lifts are so spacious that they can comfortably fit three bikes and three people. The Viennese traffic expert Michael Szeiler explained in a conversation that even the less enthusiastic cyclists rode bikes more often after their arrival in Bike City than before moving in.
If it functions similarly in Baden-Wuerttemberg, politicians will come one step closer to their goal of increasing cycle use. According to Neumann, the Stuttgart government is aiming for a state-wide share of cyclists in traffic of 20 percent.
Baden-Württemberg does not want to abolish driving. Rather, it’s about making cycling more comfortable and attractive and getting more people to ride a bike to get traffic flowing on the streets again. This benefits, above all, motorists. Yet that goes mostly unnoticed.
The state building regulations for Baden-Württemberg can be found online here; here is the wording of the key paragraphs:
§ 35 Apartments
(4) For each apartment, two suitable weather-protected bicycle parking spaces are to be made (necessary bicycle parking spaces), unless these are not required by the type, size or location of the apartment or not in this number. (…)
§ 37 Parking spaces for motor vehicles and bicycles, garages
(1) When constructing buildings with apartments, a suitable parking space for motor vehicles must be created for each apartment (necessary parking space). In the construction of other structures and other facilities where an arrival and departure is expected, necessary parking spaces are to be produced in such numbers that they are sufficient for the proper use of the facilities, taking into account the local public transport. Instead of necessary parking spaces, the production of necessary garages is permitted; in accordance with paragraph 8, garages may also be required. Up to a quarter of the necessary parking spaces under sentence 2 can be replaced by the creation of bicycle parking spaces. Here, four bicycle parking spaces are to be created per single car parking space; the bicycle parking spaces thus created shall not be credited against the obligation under paragraph 2.
(2) In the construction of buildings where it is expected that bicycles will be used for the purpose of accessing and leaving, sufficient bicycle parking spaces shall be made in such numbers that they are sufficient for the proper use of the facilities. Necessary bicycle parking spaces must provide effective anti-theft protection and be accessible from the public thoroughfare at ground level, via ramps or with lifts.
(3) In the event of changes or changes in the use of installations, parking spaces or garages shall be manufactured in such numbers that the additional vehicles and bicycles expected as a result of the change can be accommodated. A derogation from this obligation shall be allowed in the case of the division of dwellings and of projects for the creation of additional living space through the development, extension, alteration, addition of another floor or alteration of the roof if the building permit or license for the building dates back to at least five years and the construction on the building plot not is not possible or only with great difficulty.