How to Get Bike Racks

 Baltimore Ave at Mariposa

As bicycling increases in popularity in Philadelphia, customers, employees, and residents are increasingly looking for accessible and convenient bike parking when determining where to shop, work, and live. Here is all the information you need to get bike racks (of all shapes and sizes) in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's Technical Requirements

Property owners interested in installing bike racks in the sidewalk must fill out an application to do so, and make sure that the rack meets Philadelphia’s specifications. The application is free, but the property owner is responsible for the costs of buying and installing the rack.

Additionally, Philadelphia’s bike parking zoning code lays out certain requirements pertaining to bike parking:

  1. Creates three classes of bicycle parking spaces according to how they protect against theft and inclement weather.
  2. Requires the establishment of standards for racks and bicycle parking spaces by Department of Licenses and Inspections and Streets.
  3. Requires that bicycle parking spaces be provided by:
    • All non-residential uses with gross floor area larger than 7500 square feet
    • Multiple-family dwellings when 12 or more are provided on a lot
    • Public parking lots
    • Low occupancy facilities with 6 or more employees
  4. Reduces the number of required off-street automobile parking spaces by one (1) for every five (5) sheltered bike parking spaces provided on a lot, with a maximum reduction of 10%.
Where to Buy Bike Racks

Many companies sell bike racks – a quick Google search will provide many options. When evaluating what type of rack to buy, consider your space requirements. This guidance (2002) from the Association of Bicycle Pedestrian Professionals provides excellent information on the best kinds of racks and standards on spacing.  ABPP’s guidance was updated in 2010, but is only available for purchase.

We wholeheartedly encourage property owners to pursue partnerships with artists and designers to create bike racks — just make sure that the dimensions of the rack comply with Philadelphia’s specifications.

Getting Sidewalk Bike Racks

If you want to install your own bike rack at your own expense, you need a permit (no fee required).  While not difficult to fill out, you do have to take measurements and submit forms. Look here for the Streets Department’s instructions and forms. Review the City of Philadelphia’s bike parking regulations to understand what kinds of racks are permitted and the space required for their installation.

Getting a Bike Corral

Institutions, businesses, and Business Improvement Districts can all apply to the city to install a bike corral. The applicant is responsible for the costs of installing the corral, and must submit this application to the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. The one-time cost of the corral is frequently recouped, however, by the increase in commercial traffic brought about by convenient and dense bicycle parking.

Getting Indoor Bike Parking Solutions

Many companies also offer products that allow for the secure storage of bicycles indoors. These range from simple wall mounts for storing a bicycle in a small apartment, up through elaborate solutions for transforming a room into a bike storage facility. Look online for these companies, many of whom provide free consultations for determining the appropriate setup for your needs. And be a hero to your tenants or employees!

Looking for creative ways to store your bicycle in your house or apartment? Velojoy put together this Pinterest board of creative indoor bike parking ideas.