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Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor DDA's 'bike house' in Maynard Parking Structure set to open for Commuter Challenge

By Amy Biolchini


A new "bike house" under construction in the Maynard Parking Structure Monday in downtown Ann Arbor. This week, 37 bike racks will be installed.

Amy Biolchini |

A new 37-space "bike house" in Ann Arbor’s Maynard Parking Structure will soon be open for bicycle commuters to safely store their wheels while they’re at work downtown.

The bike house will have its soft opening this week in time for the Commuter Challenge, which starts Wednesday.

The project is funded by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and implemented by the getDowntown program, which also runs the Commuter Challenge. An annual pass for the bike house is $75.

Originally called a “bike cage,” the structure is now being referred to as a bike house to make it friendlier-sounding, said Nancy Shore, director of getDowntown.

“We’re calling it (a bike house) for a reason because we want bike commuters to feel welcome downtown,” Shore said.

The DDA allocated $30,000 of its funds for the project, and expects to come in several thousand dollars under budget, said Amber Miller, planning and research specialist for the DDA.

“We are seeing interest from downtown employees particularly in the State Street area that want a secure place for their bikes,” Shore said. “This is on the cutting edge and we hope it will help attract employers downtown.”


Access to the bike house will be controlled by a key card. Users will have to provide their own locks.

Amy Biolchini |

The bike house is located just inside of the Maynard Street entrance to the Maynard Parking Structure, and is denoted by a wall painted bright green.

“There’s a lot of new high-tech firms that are locating in that area,” said John Mouat, a DDA board member. “We found there’s a lot of demand in that cohort of people for bicycling as commuting.”

Covered, secure bicycle parking is an important feature for commuters that have invested in their bicycles and rely on them to travel long distances, Mouat said.

Separated from the rest of the parking garage by an enclosure of glass and wire screening, the bike house takes up the space of two parking spaces converted for the project located immediately behind the Republic Parking offices. The bike house will have 24-hour surveillance.

Access to the bike house will be controlled by a sliding door that opens with a key card. Cards will be distributed only to individuals who purchase the $75 annual pass and have a go!pass.

The go!pass program is for businesses located within the Ann Arbor DDA’s boundaries, and for the cost of $10 per person, allows employees access to unlimited trips on TheRide buses and discounts on other services.

Cyclists will have to provide their own locks, as the racks themselves do not have a locking mechanism.

Outside of the enclosed bike locker there is an air pump and bike repair station that includes basic tools to help people change flat tires and adjust brakes and derailers.

As the capacity of the bike house is 37 bikes, getDowntown will be capping the number of users at 37. About eight people have pre-reserved a pass to the bike house to date.

Revenue from the bike house passes will be divided between getDowntown and the DDA, though the percentage each organization will receive from the pilot endeavor has not yet been solidified.

“The breakdown will be determined once the getDowntown Program has a better sense of the administrative time commitment for managing the program,” Miller said. “The getDowntown Program will receive a portion of the fee to cover program management and the DDA will receive the remainder to reinvest back into the parking and transportation system.”

There will be a launch party for the bike house May 17 - which is also Bike to Work Day. From 7 to 9 a.m. people can tour the facility. There will be several speakers at the event as well about 8:30 a.m., Shore said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, May 17, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Hey y'all.....can we get these folks to use BELLS on their bicycles....."just like they do in Amsterdam?" As one who WALKS a minimum of 5 miles/day I can tell you that bicyclists are notorious for NOT announcing their ANY way. Got a bike? Get a bell!


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

We'll know we've made it when we have an entire parking garage for bicyclists like this in Amsterdam:

David Frye

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.


David Cahill

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

I must be missing something. How can 37 bike racks possibly fit into 2 regular parking spaces?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

i'm imagining vertical bike parking but here's an image of 15 bikes (with plenty of space) in one parking spot. Shouldn't be too much of a stretch of the imagination to fit 3 more bikes in this picture.

Nancy Shore

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Hey all, We are also happy to chat with anyone who doesn't have a go!pass but would like a space in the Bike House. Just email us at Thanks, Nancy Shore Director, getDowntown Program

Nice in A2

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Another year round biker here.... I prefer to use a beater-bike so I can park close to my destination without worry. I would prefer the town to spend it's pro-bike money on road safety and education.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

So you can't get in without a gopass, and individuals cannot buy them. They are purchased by employers, and the employers must buy them for all employees at $10 per person per month. They are heavily subsidized by the DDA, which is in turn subsidized by the taxpayers. So if your employer doesn't by a gopass then there is no bike house for you. Even though it's in a city parking structure.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Just to clarify, I believe it is $10/full-time employee per year, not per month. The DDA does provide nearly $500,000 to subsidize the go!pass. If the bike house is full, it does seem like it will make about the same as two parking spots over the course of the year at $2625. For a parking spot, that comes out to 2.8 hours per day (six days per week), I'd guess that's somewhere in the realm of the average over every spot. I'm all for biking, but $30k sounds like a lot for a glass box connected to an RFID reader hooked up to a database. I'd rather see more bike racks and bike lanes... and motorcycle/moped parking.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

The city spends hundreds of millions on car parking. The city spends huge sums in providing countless amounts of free car parking around the city. And yet, when $33K is spent on bike parking, the crybaby's come out in force. Let'em ball.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

I know I'll sleep better knowing that a very small number of cyclists will have a cute little house for their bikes. A steal at only $33K.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

It's nice to see that tax dollars are used in a more sustainable way. While a parking spot requires more or less 80 years to cover its costs, this bike house only needs something like 15 years. The revenue from bike parking is clearly above the revenue from car parking: If there are 30 bikes per year that makes $2250, while the revenue for two car spots is roughly $1600 according to the DDA. And I'm not even talking about all the benefits Tom Joad talked about...

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

"Cards will be distributed only to individuals who purchase the $75 annual pass and have a go!pass." So where is the solution for people who just want secure bike parking? I don't want a go pass. I don't need one. I do want bike parking.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

I agree with Nicholas. The go pass isn't available to individuals; it is only available via en employer. My employer happens to be the University of Michigan. I do not believe they participate in the go pass program. Instead, all UM employees get to ride the AATA buses by showing their UM ID. Oh well; knowing where a bike pump is on central campus will be useful. Perhaps later they'll adjust their rules based on the bike commuting community. I'll bet anything that Nancy Shore drives to work even though she lives within walking distance of two bus lines.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

You park bike here. You buy go pass.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Safer or convenient one stop shopping for the bike thief?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

well Bob since you bring it up... Care to link how may "problems" were reported on this site for the Maynard Garage? I reiterate, safer?

Bob Needham

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

"Safer or convenient one stop shopping for the bike thief?" -- Any more so than a parking garage is for a car thief?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

right, because, no criminal has ever breached such high end security before, right? No one ever held the door or allowed someone to enter behind them in such a secure facility? No criminal was ever smart enough to jam the latch to keep the door open? Ever wonder why there are so few ATMs in vestibules any more?


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

If they want to pay for a $75 pass to gain entry and then cut off a lock I guess that is more convenient than just stealing it off of a random bike rack.....


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

In their quest to emulate Berkeley the DDA as usual forgets a small difference between Michigan and California called WINTER. The $75 a year reserved bike parking is useless for 1/3 of the year and means 2 less parking spots. In addition the revenue from bike parking is at least 2/3 less than the parking revenue from those spots. Once again the crony appointed DDA board uses our money to try social engineering. Was Ms Shore serious when she said that bike parking was "cutting edge" and would "attract employers downtown"? Does anyone really think Google is in Ann Arbor because 37 people can park bikes in the Maynard garage?

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Add me to the YRC list. :-)

Joe Hood

Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Interesteda2: Add me to the year-round bicycle commuter list.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Great! Now we have 1 person who bikes year round and two who know people who bike year round. Still have about 34 spots to fill in the bike house. I guess two spots arent important after spending $50,000,000 on the underground disaster, I mean parking garage.


Wed, May 1, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

I bike commuted every day of the year for 25 years. It's not hard.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Yes Brad, you are the paragon of comment political correctness ;) I wanted to use something more gender neutral than men from boys, but knew my comment would likely be removed.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

"sorts out the men from the boys"? The 1950s are calling ... ring ... ring ... ring

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Oh - the humanity! Two less parking spots. We are doomed. I have friends who bike to work every day. If there is a blizzard, all the better. It sorts out the men from the complaining boys.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Hey, speak for yourself. Many of us bike year round.

Tom Joad

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Bike cages are an excellent idea. Why not make it FREE to use and only a nominal charge for the key card? When I was at UCSF they had a cage and everyone was given a key to the giant room. They only charged for the key deposit. It was wildly popular---always filled to capacity. It drastically reduced the amount of thefts because you had to be credentialed or affiliated to the university to use it. The DDA should be doing everything to encourage alternative transportation. I'd willingly pay $75 a year for a private bike locker. Why the venomous anti-bike crowd? "One Less Car" means drivers have that much more room on the road. There is more parking available to you when a cyclist forgoes driving to work. Cyclists also don't use gasoline so the demand is lesser and those that choose to drive or must drive pay less. Individuals pushing two tons of steel and plastic around to transport them is not a sustainable method for the future.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:10 a.m.

This is stupid. Bike racks are fine. I know a guy with a $3k bike who uses the racks without complain. Thanks for wasting my money DDA, I'll be sure to vote you out next election.... OH WAIT.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

I bike everywhere and never need the downtown parking structures. Thanks for wasting my money, DDA.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

@Brad: I store my bike in my office. Barracuda really should provide their own private storage for employee bikes. It doesn't take much space. Asking your employees to find somewhere offsite to park their bike reeks of cheapness.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Yes, those bike spaces will be "widely beneficial" to 37 Barracuda employees. The best advice for bike security: park next to a nicer bike with a crummier lock

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Yeah, "I know a guy" who complains about everything, even stuff that is widely beneficial. Just because "that guy" does it doesn't mean that behavior is suitable for everyone.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

They ought to charge $1.50 per hour, just like cars. I agree fix the roads.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

At 19.5 bikes per car spot, that's $1.50/19 = $.08 per hour.


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 10:11 a.m.

fix the roads!


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Yeah! They could have fixed at least an inch-long stretch of Madison with that $30k