Brno has added minimum requirements for bicycle parking to the city building regulations

Publikováno: 09. června. 2024, 13 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 05. června. 2024
Úvodní foto: Václav Kříž
Publikováno: 09. června. 2024, 13 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 05. června. 2024
Úvodní foto: Václav Kříž

Brno has set minimum requirements for the provision of bicycle parking in new buildings in its newly adopted city building regulations. The document (Regulation No. 14/2024) will take effect on July 1, 2024, and will become binding for all builders, designers, and authorities involved in the permitting process. The rest of the country can expect similar changes within two years, following a new European directive.

The three largest Czech cities (Prague, Brno, and Ostrava) can adopt their own building regulations according to the new building law, which comes into force on July 1, 2024. Previously, only the capital city had the privilege of its own building regulations. Brno thus has its own building regulations for the first time, going beyond national legal norms.

Bike shelters for residents and visitors

„The building regulations specify requirements for construction in the city of Brno, with an emphasis on the character of both the buildings and public spaces, to avoid non-urban development. Requirements for the placement of advertising structures and devices are addressed. The number of car parking spaces is specified with regard to different building structures and city zones. New requirements for accessible bicycle parking spaces have been added. The aim is to support sustainable transport and the permeability of the city and the open landscape,“ said Petr Bořecký (ANO), Councilor for Urban Planning, regarding the change.

The new Brno building regulations mandate the construction of bike shelters for both long-term parking and visitors. Bicycle parking spaces must be covered and easily accessible. Visitor parking can also be placed in street spaces. For example, in residential construction, one bicycle parking space per 60 m² of gross floor area must be provided, in a ratio of 9:1 for long-term versus visitor parking.

Brno City Building Regulations on Requirements for Bike Shelters

§ 27 Requirements for Bicycle Parking

  1. For buildings, with the exception of temporary structures for a period of no more than one year, it is necessary to provide a minimum number of designated bicycle parking spaces and visitor bicycle parking spaces for the individual uses listed in Annex No. 4 to this regulation. The resulting required number of designated bicycle parking spaces is always rounded up to the nearest whole number. The resulting required number of visitor bicycle parking spaces is rounded to the nearest whole number, with 0.5 and above rounded up and below 0.5 rounded down. The minimum size of a bicycle parking space is 0.45 x 2 m unless a technology that demonstrably allows bicycle storage in a smaller area is used.
  2. Designated bicycle parking spaces must be covered.
  3. Visitor bicycle parking spaces can be appropriately placed in street spaces according to the street profile’s character.
  4. Bicycle parking spaces must be easily accessible.

The full text of Brno’s city building regulations is available here.
Annex No. 4, which sets specific minimum capacities for bicycle parking, is available here.

Similarly ambitious requirements for bicycle parking were not always a given. In April, we reported on the comments from the Brno na kole association, which pointed out that the originally proposed wording regarding bike shelters was too vague and might not fulfill Brno’s goals for sustainable transport. „The phrasing in the draft building regulations ‚buildings are usually equipped with areas for bicycle storage‘ and ‚spaces for storing bicycles for permanent building users are generally established‘ invites too loose an interpretation by investors,“ the association stated in its comments.

The obligation to establish bike shelters emerged during the approval process

The obligation to establish bike shelters was incorporated into the document during the commenting process. Councilor and Chairman of the BESIP Commission Marek Lahoda (Pirates) commented on the final version of the regulations: „In cooperation with the Brno na kole association and the Brno City Architect’s Office, we managed to include so-called ‚parking minimums‘ for bicycles in the new Brno building regulations. Why is this great? Because traffic induction works for all modes of transport, and where supply is created, demand will gradually follow. Safe bicycle parking has so far been one of the main barriers to why people in Brno (and elsewhere in the world) don’t ride bicycles. This will soon come to an end in Brno, with adequate bicycle parking in all new buildings.“

How are Prague and Ostrava doing?

Prague and Ostrava are also preparing building regulations according to the new construction law. Prague, which already had its own building regulations, aims to approve the new ones by July 1, so they can take effect alongside the new construction law.

The existing Prague building regulations mostly mirror the originally proposed wording from Brno, lacking specific obligations for bicycle parking and using terms like usually or generally.

The new Prague city building regulations being discussed this year copied the original wording with minimal updates. This has been criticized as insufficient by the AutoMat association: „We consider the proposed wording completely inadequate, as it is non-specific and therefore very difficult to enforce. The discussed draft of the regulation, in the context of the previous point, prioritizes comfortable and safe parking for cars over the safe storage of bicycles (including e-bikes), which are much easier to steal in public spaces,“ said Michal Kalina from AutoMat in his remarks (MNK is an independent project of this association, editor’s note).

The Deputy Mayor for Territorial and Strategic Development, Petr Hlaváček (STAN), responded to the association, acknowledging the limits of the proposed wording, also in connection to the implementation of the goals of Prague and its surroundings‘ Sustainable Mobility Plan and Prague’s Climate Plan up to 2030. However, he noted that the minimal changes were adopted primarily to ensure smooth and timely approval of the regulations. „The currently proposed form of the Prague building regulations aimed to bring as few changes as possible to allow for a swift approval process so that Prague could have adequate legislation when the construction law is fully in effect, which I consider a priority, especially after the significant effort to retain the possibility for cities to issue their own building regulations,“ said Deputy Mayor Hlaváček.

Proposed Wording of Prague's City Building Regulations and Requirements for Bicycle Parking

§ 27 Requirements for Bicycle Parking

  1. Buildings are usually equipped with areas for bicycle parking, with capacity based on the specific purpose and location of the building. Particularly, areas for visitor bicycle parking are established at civic amenity buildings, and facilities for storing bicycles for regular users of the buildings are created.
  2. Areas for visitor bicycle parking are set up as publicly accessible and must allow for the locking of bicycles. Facilities for storing bicycles for regular users of the buildings are generally established outside publicly accessible spaces.

Deputy Mayor Hlaváček further stated that advocating for changes is not easy: „The trends implemented by large cities in the EU or USA mean years of hard work on participation and marketing of basic professional principles of transport planning in our environment, where there is no consensus in the current political environment of Prague and its districts. At the same time, there is a need to protect our public spaces through a well-enforceable parking policy,“ he wrote in response to the AutoMat association.

Minimum Requirements to be introduced by a European Directive

As we previously informed, the new European Directive No. 2024/1275 on the energy performance of buildings, which definitively came into effect on May 28, sets minimum parking requirements for bicycles, including for residential construction. For instance, it requires at least two bicycle parking spaces for each newly built housing unit.

The directive should be implemented into the national legislation of member states within two years. We will present its content in more detail in a special article.

The upcoming national construction regulation, which implements the new building law, also partially responds to these changes. Initially, the draft did not contain any mandatory requirements for bicycle parking, but this changed soon after. Following feedback from the professional community (such as the association of ecological NGOs, Green Circle), the Ministry for Regional Development decided to add the obligation to build bicycle parking at schools. „Based on the feedback, we have introduced a requirement to designate parking spaces for bicycles at buildings intended for education,“ said ministry spokesperson Petr Waleczko to Deník N.

State Regulations catching up with European changes

During the preparation of the regulation, the now-valid European directive intervened, prompting further reaction from the ministry, as spokesperson Veronika Hešíková explained to the media in February. By the end of winter, it was clear that the national regulation would not only include bicycle parking at schools but at all public buildings. § 7 of the currently proposed wording of the regulation thus contains a general formulation: „Depending on the type and purpose, parking spaces for bicycles are established at civic amenity buildings.“

For now, this is without specific parameters and only applies to civic amenity buildings. The ministry already announced that Czech regulations would need to respond further to the European directive: „This will need to be adjusted following the mentioned EU directive, which may undergo significant changes during the negotiations. After adoption of the EU directive, we will set the parameters accordingly,“ Hešíková explainedv in the winter to

In two years, bicycle shelters will be mandatory for new construction throughout Czechia

Brno, with its new city building regulations, has become a pioneer of the requirements that will gradually be introduced at both the European and national levels, including the remaining two cities authorized to create their own building regulations — Prague and Ostrava. This will not take long, within two years already, when the European directive must have been implemented into national regulations.

Brno leading in the Czech context

The inability to implement these changes directly, except for Brno, is due to the convergence of two processes in the Czech context: the introduction of the new building law, which brings some revolutionary changes (digitization of building permits) from July 1, and the adoption of the European directive, the final wording of which has been known since the beginning of this year.

Could they have been combined from the start? Preparation of new European regulations is not secret, and some changes could surely have been anticipated. In addition to a general lack of awareness of European-level developments, a certain comfort and fear of meeting deadlines may have played a role.

The ministry and, for example, Prague chose a less confident approach, fearing they wouldn’t meet all the deadlines. As a result, they made minimal changes to bicycle parking requirements, with updates planned soon based on European regulations. As Prague Deputy Mayor Hlaváček explained, the city building regulations are now subsidiary to state regulations, and matters not differently addressed by city regulations will automatically be governed by national rules: „Regarding bicycle parking requirements, we fully plan to utilize the future provisions of the national regulation, which will transpose the EU directive as soon as possible. The currently undefined definitions of the new regulation, the principle of subsidiarity, and the minimization of changes for rapid approval are why we opted for this approach in the proposed wording of the Prague building regulations,“ he stated.

Brno has embarked on a path that soon awaits all construction in the Czech Republic. Despite the Ministry of Regional Development and Prague being aware of the broad outlines of the forthcoming European regulations, they decided to wait and avoid the risk of possibly not having the regulations approved in time, which are supposed to come into effect from July 1 with the new building law.

As Brno councilor Marek Lahoda stated: „Yes, similar rules are also being prepared by the EU, and there were objections to waiting for the exact wording from above. But who knows when that will be. And as far as I know, neither Prague nor Ostrava will have these rules in their building regulations. So once again, we managed to be the first in the Czech Republic to follow the example of progressive countries.“

This is an adjusted machine translation using Automat’s CycleLingo Translator (ChatGPT) of this article:

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