Saks building plans
The former Saks Fifth Avenue building on Smithfield Street is to be torn down this spring and replaced by a six-story building.
What caught my eye, other than the 585-car parking garage and the coming condos, is the allotment for 60 bike spaces.
to me, the interesting political play is: the bus lane.
I believe that if the bus lane remains, this property can’t have delivery trucks stopped along Smithfield St. (please correct me if I’ve got this wrong)
remember the misbegotten ACEX dialogue about giving Smithfield Street a bike lane, in conjunction with taking away the bus lane? Which was wrapped in, getting “those” people to stop standing on public sidewalks waiting for buses, because the business / property owners didn’t like it?
Removing the bus lane is a “wish list” for businesses along that side of the street.
(also, Stu, I am so damn tickled to get to answer one of your questions with an unexplored transit implication.)
The current building seems to have its delivery entrance on Oliver (which has one lane for driving, one for on-street parking). I’d expect the new building will have the same setup. Its Wood Street side should be all street-level retail, since it sees more pedestrians than Oliver.
One thing they might want to change is the alignment of the delivery entrance. The current one is small and perpendicular to the street. If you look at the next building on Oliver (Piatt Place, with the Oliver Garage), it’s got a big delivery entrance where trucks pull up at an angle. I’m guessing the Saks setup may have required them to use smaller trucks.
If they really need to have trucks pulling up to deliver without using the delivery entrance, they can park on Oliver, or on the opposite side of Smithfield (which has metered parking except during peak commute times). I see no reason for them to mess with the bus lane.
Returning to the original comment, bike parking included with construction (not that speculation about smithfield street isn’t it’s own interesting topic: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/smithfield-st).
The ratio, 585 car parking spots to 60 bike parking. On the one hand I’m happy bike parking is planned in from the get go. On the other hand I wish there were more spots maybe (< 50% downtown commuters got there by solo cars, right?, so we're assuming <5% bikes which, specifically downtown, we might eclipse sooner rather than later). On the other hand the commuter pool is maybe the wrong comparison, and outside rush I imagine it skews more toward cars, and also, most people on bikes don't have the convenient ability to more than a backpack full of stuff, and might not want to mash a brand new garment into said backpack, so… right. We'll see then? The great thing about bike parking it's that it's comparatively so easy and cheap to add more.
I think the need for downtown residents to “own” (well lease) a spot is still in the developer’s and politico’s mindset. We have all these people moving downtown and they need someplace to park their car!
I wonder if anyone has conducted a survey of current downtown/strip/NS residents regarding car ownership over time. Do these people start off with a car when they first move in, and how does this change after living there for a year or two. And if they are keeping their car, where are they driving to: work, groceries, etc.
There is a new component in the building code that allows developers to reduce the required number of parking space per square foot of building by adding bike parking spaces. I don’t recall if it’s a 1:1 ratio, but if they eliminated 60 car parking spaces (bikes can be parked in interstitial spaces that would be unusable by cars), the estimated 2010 cost of building one car parking space in a garage is around $16,000, they saved nearly $100k. This is a good thing.
And this is good government at work.
Here’s a PDF that summarizes the 2010 change in zoning code.
“Larger-scale new construction or change of use applications will be required to provide bicycle parking based on use, building size or staff size. Residential uses are required to provide 60 percent of the bicycle parking in protected spaces. In addition, all developments will have the opportunity to provide bicycle parking in lieu of automobile parking on a 1 to 1 basis, up to 30% of required parking. For projects that are required to provide bicycle parking, the incentive may be used on these mandated spaces. Additional bicycle parking is not required to utilize the incentive.”
Here’s a PDF with the actual ordinance.
The rules for required bike spaces are complicated, involving square feet of gross floor area, number of dwelling units, the area of the city involved, etc. It’s hard to tell if the developers are including the minimum number of bike spaces they must include per the zoning code, or adding additional bike spaces to reduce the number of car spaces the zoning code requires.
However they picked the number of bike spaces, it seems like a reasonable number to me.
Edmonds and Steven have the details right, except I BELIEVE that downtown and Oakland are exempt from the parking elements of the development code. That may not be true for residential development, but a retail development in downtown is not required to provide any parking – for cars or bikes, although they much provide a loading area or dock.
It’s nice to see that more and more, bike parking isn’t just an afterthought.
Seems like a win-win: tenants get sheltered parking and the landlord doesn’t have tenants dragging bikes through the common areas marking up the walls.
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