Exit133 is about Tacoma
Sustainability Updates: Electric Vehicles, Bike Facilities, Etc
Among proposed updates to Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan and Municipal Code being considered for 2014 are a list of amendments related to sustainability issues.
The amendments in this section were developed by City staff with the intent of updating the Land Use Regulatory Code to encourage sustainable development practices and advance identified City goals related to sustainable development, public health, and active living. Proposed amendments fall into four basic categories.
Electric vehicle parking and infrastructure provision: Electric vehicle charging and battery exchange stations are currently allowed. Amendments proposed in this area would refine the code for these stations, adding design, accessibility, and location standards for new electric vehicle stations, along with minimum quantity requirements.
- Quantity requirements - intended to ensure that a percentage of new parking spaces either provide level 2 charging facilities or are constructed with the capacity to provide those facilities in the future. These requirements would be focused on providing charging stations at trip origin and destination locations, with a particular emphasis on multi-family developments. Multi-family developments would be required to provide 10% of parking spaces with charging infrastructure such that a level 2 charging station could be provided in the future. Rates are set by use, requiring the number of spaces with charging stations: A 3% minimum would be set for lodging, office, and institutional (over 12,000 square feet) uses; 1% for retail and shopping centers (of at least 15,000 square feet) up to 8 total; and 1% for auditorium, stadium, and theater uses (of at least 500 seats) up to 12 total.
The requirements would apply to all new construction and alterations that exceed 50% of existing value in a two-year period.
Bicycle start and end of trip infrastructure:
- Bicycle parking requirements (quantity) - Bicycle parking requirements are currently based on a percentage of required auto parking requirements. This made sense when the requirements were originally drafted, but changes in the last few years have decreased or eliminated auto parking requirements, meaning a corresponding decrease in the number of required bike parking spots. The proposed amendment would decouple bike and auto parking requirements, resetting the quantity of bicycle spots required in line with the City's goals around urban design, healthy living, transportation mode shifts, and greenhouse gas reduction.
- Short- vs. long-term - A distinction would also be created between short- and long-term bike parking facilities. Short-term bike parking will be required to be located within 50 feet of, and visible from primary building entrances. Short-term parking can be shared by different facilities, as long as quantity and location requirements are met. Long-term bike parking would be required on-site for residential developments, and within 300 feet of non-residential uses. Quantity of bike parking is set as a ratio based on type of use and size of development. Lighting, minimum space per bike, and bike rack requirements are also specified.
- Trip destination facilities - Requirements for identified end of trip destinations would be added, including shower and changing facilities when a certain amount of long-term bike parking is required. Any use requiring at least 10 long-term bike parking spaces would also be required to provide at least one shower and changing facility, with an additional shower being required for every 20 long-term spaces required, up to a total of four showers. Multi-family and transportation facilities are exempt. Looking at the numbers, it appears that a business or professional office would have to be at least 40,000 square feet, and warehouses would have to be 400,000 to trigger this requirement; while a retail, dining, or medical facility could be up to 120,000 square feet before requiring one shower.
Setback and height exceptions for exterior insulation: This amendment would provide an exception to setback and height requirements to make it easier for existing structures to be retrofitted with exterior insulation to improve energy efficiency.
Low Impact Development barriers: The proposed changes include minor code revisions to remove barriers to the use of pervious pavement and rainfall catchment systems, and identify sections of the code that support low-impact stormwater management, in line with EPA guidance. Minor changes are also made to the purpose and intent statements of specific code sections to reflect this support.
At a public meeting scheduled for this Wednesday City staff will share details of all the proposed amendments, and answer questions from the public. The official public hearing for the amendments is scheduled for next week.
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133