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Designing High Density Urban Bike Parking 2016


Question: Is there a design solution that provides high-density, accessible, cost-effective bicycle parking in the urban context?
Submit proposals:
Rules: All entrants must agree to the 2015 Contest Rules. and Terms of Use.
Deadline: Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 20:00:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.


What is the Kendall Square EcoDistrict?

The Kendall Square EcoDistrict is a vision of environmental stewardship that is shared by Kendall Square property owners, major tenants, businesses, the Kendall Square Association, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and the City of Cambridge. The EcoDistrict acts in a collaborative way to bring greater sustainability to Kendall Square. The creation of an EcoDistrict supports the continued growth of Kendall Square by developing strategies for sustainable growth that consider environmental impacts, quality of life, and economic vitality. Supporting and growing sustainable transportation options is a key part of reducing the EcoDistrict's carbon footprint. In order to support and grow non-car transportation in and around Kendall Square, better pedestrian, bike and transit infrastructure is needed - including access to more and better bike parking.

What do we mean by "bicycle parking" for this competition?

The EcoDistrict will consider a range of bike parking designs in this competition. Kendall Square, like many urban areas with a mix of businesses, residents, and institutions, has a range of locations in need of more and better bike parking. The EcoDistrict seeks design that are flexible in terms of where they can be located and how they can be used. Design submissions are encouraged to be flexible enough to meet both short and long-term bike parking needs in both indoor and outdoor locations, although designs can be presented as separate options or submissions. Designs could be for one rack that could be replicated in large quantities, or a fully integrated parking system that could handle large quantities of bicycles, or any combination of both.

Judging Criteria

The Kendall Square EcoDistrict seeks design submissions that meet the following criteria:

  1. Submissions should meet the City of Cambridge Technical Criteria for Bike Parking Design and/or meet the goals of the requirements (see below).
  2. Submissions should provide both technical designs and renderings of how designs would be implemented in a streetscape or other location. Submissions are most likely to be successful if they include a multidisciplinary team that looks at bike parking design from the technical, aesthetic, and user perspectives.
  3. Submissions should detail benefits and costs, including a conceptual budget estimate and ideas on a prototype construction schedule.
  4. Submissions should be creative, innovative, and flexible enough to be used in a range of locations.


We envision the winners of this design competition proposing designs that the EcoDistrict Steering Committee can review and potentially prototype in Kendall Square...and then bring to the world. The prizes for the Kendall Square EcoDistrict bike parking competition include:

  1. Winners present their design submission to the full Kendall Square EcoDistrict Steering Committee for evaluation and discussion.
  2. Winning designs may be selected to receive a contribution towards the prototyping and piloting of the design in select locations within the Kendall Square EcoDistrict.

City of Cambridge Technical Criteria for Bike Parking Design

The proposed bicycle parking designs should meet performance criteria defined by the City of Cambridge; additional criteria will be used to differentiate amongst proposals once the required criteria are met.

Below are performance standards based on Cambridge's current requirements for bicycle parking.  The full on-line guide can be accessed here. Proposed designs should directly address how the new parking system either meets those requirements or achieves the goals of the requirements in different ways.


A submitted bicycle parking system should:



The bicycle parking system should be useable in a variety of situations, inside and/or outside. Ideally, it is a system that can be weather protected and secure (long-term parking) or useable in outdoor locations, although designs can be presented as separate options or submissions.

Convenience is important for bicycle transportation; it is the number one reason people give for why they choose to get around by bicycle. In order to meet our fundamental goal to support and promote bicycling, the placement of bicycle parking should allow as much convenience as possible for the users.

Designs for this competition can single out specific types of parking needs or can be more comprehensive. Some aspects of bicycle parking will lead to different design solutions. Aspects such as parking for different types of bicycles or serving people who are storing bicycles all day long versus people who are making short trips to and from Kendall Square can be singled out or included into one design solution.


Long-term bike parking is best located in an enclosed, limited-access area, near main building entrances, and designed to protect bicycles from precipitation and from theft. It may be provided in:


Short-term bike parking does not need to be covered or weather protected, but it might be nice. Short-term parking should be able to be located in public spaces near pedestrian activity. Short-term bicycle parking is intended to primarily serve visitors, such as retail patrons making trips of up to a few hours; however, it may serve other bicycle users as well.


The bicycle parking system must be constructed of sturdy, durable materials that will last and will not require extensive maintenance. Moving parts, in particular, should be designed to avoid mechanical failure. Steel and stainless steel are common and appropriate materials.






Resources for Proposal Authors

City of Cambridge Bicycle Parking Guide

City of Cambridge Bike Parking Resource Page 

City of Cambridge Bicycle Network Plan - Released October 2015

Kendall Square Eco-Totem Bike Counter - Real Time and Historic Daily Bike Counts

Cambridge Redevelopment Authority - Kendall Square 2014 Traffic and Bike Counts