Make It Easy to Bike Commute, and People Will Bike Commute

The bike racks and bike repair station at the Alliance Center. Photo: David Sachs

Whether it’s free parking at RTD stations or the federal tax benefit that allows people to write off parking costs by the billions, car commuting is heavily subsidized by the powers that be. The private sector does it too — by offering a parking space as an employee “benefit.”

Not the Alliance Center.

The downtown shared-space office building, created and managed by the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, houses 55 organizations, most of them nonprofits. Instead of giving away parking spaces, the Alliance staff encourages commuting by bike — and they make it easy. (Full disclosure: I know, because Streetsblog Denver is a tenant.)

The building is right off the Cherry Creek trail on the Wynkoop Street bike lane, one block from Denver’s busiest transit hub, Union Station. Out front there’s a bike corral, and around the side are two more bike racks — 26 spaces in all. If you want a more secure place to park your bike, you can arrive early and snag one of 17 spots inside.

The latest addition? A bike repair station, open to anyone and everyone, complete with a public bike pump.

“It just fit,” said Chris Bowyer, the Alliance Center building manager. “It fit in the area, it fit in the community. It’s for everybody, not just the Alliance Center — anybody that’s in the neighborhood, works in the neighborhood, lives in the neighborhood. If you’re here, come use it.”

Bowyer recently installed the repair station thanks to Whole Foods Market, which regularly donates them to local governments and organizations around the country. The repair station has a bike stand and all the tools you need for a quick tune-up. You can scan a QR code to watch instructional videos on changing tires or checking your brakes.

It’s no coincidence that the bike racks at the Alliance Center are full almost every day of the week.