Bike commuters to the University of Chicago Medical campus can now wheel into its first covered, enclosed shelter specifically for employees. The new bike shelter was designed, engineered, fabricated and installed by Duo-Gard Industries Inc.
Located in an enclosed, low-profile courtyard on the academic medical center’s Hyde Park campus, the 16 feet wide by 24 feer long shelter is Duo-Gard’s Sentry model from its standard line. This one features a bronze metal, barrel-vault roof and glass walls; an open front doorway provides ventilation. Equipped with inverted-U parking racks, the structure holds up to 28 bikes. The fenced courtyard’s iron gate requires a swipe from the employee’s ID badge for entry.
“We have a number of employees who regularly bike to work. Safety and security for them and their expensive bikes was a major factor,” said Dave Hicks, UCM’s vice president of pharmacy and laboratory services. “We needed some place secure, protected from the region’s wind and snow, and readily accessible.”
Response has been quite positive, Hicks said, with some 15 to 20 bikers a day taking advantage of the shelter. Hicks is one of them. Four days out of five, he bikes the 10 miles from his home in downtown Chicago to the Hyde Park location. He added that, as a user, he appreciates the open air flow and glass panels, plus the concrete floor and its good drainage. And, he said, bikers don’t like carrying their locks around, so the shelter’s rafters provide a convenient place to clip them.
Bicycling is no longer relegated to recreation in parks and off-road environments. Commuting to work on bikes is a growing trend. The League of American Bicyclists cites a U.S. Census Bureau survey that shows a whopping 80 percent increase in bike commuting from 2000 to 2011 in large, bike-friendly cities. Combining increasing concern for the environment, as well as employee well-being, this form of alternative transportation is gaining growing respect.
Employers are encouraging this with accommodation that includes covered, enclosed bike shelters that provide both protection from the weather and security for bike and rider.
“Companies want to make it safe and easy for employees to bike to work,” said Michael Arvidson, Duo-Gard’s executive vice president. “Our shelters help them accomplish this goal, and we’re on the front lines of sustainable, LEED-compatible design.”
He said a major topic at the 2013 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., was the fact that the younger generation coming into the work force is moving closer to the job, and many are committed to the environmental advantages of alternative transportation.
“The shelter helped us achieve exactly what everyone was looking for,” Hicks said.