Monday, June 18, 2018

Lawyers to the Rescue

In our discussion with UCLA Health we were told that the difficulties of renting and improving medical office space that would be bicycle perfect (bicycle parking, showers, no bundled parking to allow parking cash out) goes back to the lease template provided by the University of California, Office of the President.

So we wrote to the UCOP Real Estate Services with some suggestions how to turn the lease template into a path towards better transport choices. We look forward to their response!

Dear Allen Meacham, 

The UCLA Bicycle Academy is concerned that leases used for UC premises have insufficient regard to sustainability issues. We are especially concerned that UCLA Health affiliated medical offices operate without adequate facilities that would support healthy modes of transport. This leads to a system-wide dissonance: The mode of transport most often recommended by doctors is very poorly served at the very premises where these doctors see patients. We were advised that the UCOP lease template prevented better accommodation of healthy and sustainable modes. 

Your colleague Julie Wong shared the standard lease template for leases where the UC Regents are the tenant. (Rev. 12/2016 4821-2942-8779 v. 3)

This templates includes only references to petrol burning vehicles (cars). From this exclusive focus a direct line can be drawn to the deplorable state of bicycle provision at premises used by UCLA Health (and on other campuses)

We would like you to make the following changes to the template

  • 1. 1. 2. (Premises) ... loading and unloading areas, visitor parking areas,  - add: loading and unloading areas, visitor parking areas, shower facilities for bicycle commuters ... (LEED certification considers such facilities a necessity)

  • 11.1.e.(xxiv): any other parking facilities associated with the Building  - add: any other parking facilities for cars or bicycles associated with the Building,  (it is important to be clear and explicit about transport options)

  • 11.1.e.(xxiv): utilities, insurance of any form, real   - add: utilities, vehicle charging points, shower facilities for bicycle commuters, insurance of any form, real  (it is important to be clear and explicit about vehicle types and required facilities)

  • Addendum 4, #2: Tenant Improvements must satisfy the Campus Fire Marshall, State Building Code and Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.  Add: Bicycle parking must be designed according to the bicycle parking guidelines of the APBP  (Where bicycle facilities are present, they invariably fail to meet the standards set by APBP and become an embarrassment in the eyes of bicycle user) 

In addition, the UCOP leases should NEVER include bundled parking. Bundled parking is a sure way to remove incentives, for the entire duration of the lease, for users and organisations to reduce car use. Bundled parking effectively removes the ability to offer financial incentives for modes other than cars (Parking Cash Out). From the point of view of the sustainable transportation advocate, bundled parking is the prime source of unsustainable and unhealthy transportation choices. From the environmental point of view, it is a very bad idea. It should never be part of a UCOP lease. (Remove first Option in Addendum 1, or strongly discourage it)

In a perfect world, the current template could well encompass sustainable and healthy modes of transportation. But experience shows that without explicit reference to these modes, administrators have consistently overlooked these issues. As it stands, the template enables and encourages administrators contract for facilities where EVERYBODY DRIVES. As amended, the template would better project the interest of UCOP in supporting and planning for sustainable and healthy forms of transportation. The amended template would also lead to lease negotiations that act in the best interests of those campus members (and the public) who would prefer to get around without a car. It is crucial that such improvements are planned in the early stages, because adding such facilities at a later stage is a very burdensome and complicated process.

We believe making such changes to the UCOP lease template could well qualify for an Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Award issued by CHESC, for instance in the new Large-scale Planning category


Dr Michael Cahn
Secretary, UCLA Bicycle Academy 

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