The area surrounding Samsung’s San Jose, California location offers no shortage of major competition for recruiting top engineering and support talent, including companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google. All of these organizations work to attract said talent through various employee perks, such as free meals and extensive exercise facilities. In order to not only stay competitive and true to its priority of supporting employee wellness and corporate social responsibility, Samsung Electronics focused on integrating top bike commuting facilities into the development plans for its new Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. headquarters four years ago.
“We are very fortunate to be located in San Jose, because this city is very passionate about supporting companies and initiatives that encourage bicycle commuting,” said Yohan Paek, Construction Manager, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
San Jose even has an ordinance that provides incentive-based Transportation Demand Management measures, which include specific bicycle parking requirements. The Active Transportation Program in San Jose’s Department of Transportation also has the Bikeways Projects. Goals of the program are to achieve 5% of trips by bike by 2020; achieve a 15% by 2040; build a 400-mile on-street bikeways network and more.
Samsung’s previous headquarters’ location did not offer secure bicycle parking. Employees were either carrying bikes into their offices or locking them on a chain-link fence, leaving them easily accessible to theft.
Later, while the company’s new building was under construction, the employees relocated to a temporary office building with a relatively small number of bicycle lockers. Faced with those lockers being weathered, unsecure, and leaking, Samsung knew that finding a quality locker manufacturer for an installation at its new headquarters was a necessity.
With the bicycle parking element in mind, along with footprint size and LEED certification requirements, Samsung’s San Francisco-based architectural firm, NBBJ, worked with the project’s landscape architectural firm, SWA, to identify the best bicycle locker solution. SWA later identified and recommended CycleSafe as the partner for a bicycle locker installation.
“Investing in incentives, such as bike lockers, reaffirms our dedication to our employee health and wellness and to the environment. Bike commuting is an important part of our employee wellness program. Reduced health insurance costs and improved productivity are some immediate tangible benefits, but the real payoff is in improved quality of life and in making Samsung a more attractive place to work.”
Not only was CycleSafe the answer to solely providing secure bicycle locker parking, but it fulfilled other needs of Samsung as well. The two-tier format design was created to maximize bicycle parking without creating too large a footprint on the property. The second tier level is off the ground, but designed with riders in mind, as it’s similar in height and experience to loading a bike onto a bicycle car rack. Additionally, each of the lockers houses two bikes. The lockers are also 100% weather resistant and made to last 30+ years, ensuring a long-term parking solution.
To match the iconic blue of Samsung’s logo, CycleSafe customized the exterior color of the lockers to the company’s brand standards, giving the parking station an eye-catching design aesthetic.
Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. employees officially moved into the organization’s new, LEED Silver pending headquarters, located near Levi Stadium and a network of bike paths, in September 2015. Currently, 27 bicycle locker keys are being utilized and reactions from employees have been extremely positive.
“If you want to encourage cycling to work, you can’t just provide bike parking. You have to make the experience as easy as possible. Our bike lockers are located right off the main reception area, near bike commuter locker shower facilities and close to the main elevators. That’s another advantage to employees who ride their bikes – they don’t have to deal with traffic jams or park in the garage,” said Steve Miersch, Quality Assurance Manager, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
Samsung’s next goal is to better educate employees about what bicycle routes are available, which are best to utilize, and to provide additional information that increases the ease of cycling. The company is also subsidizing onsite bike maintenance for anyone that cycles to work.
“One of the reasons I love riding is that it’s so simple. My bike today isn’t that different from the Schwinn I had as a kid. It’s so dependable and simple – it gets me out of the rat race. Biking is a huge thing for me and for my quality of life!”
Project in Brief
Location: San Jose, California
Product: Cycle-Safe® ProPark® Bike Lockers
Architect: nbbj: San Francisco / Los Angeles
Landscape Architect: SWA: San Francisco / Los Angeles
Reasons for Specification:
- More efficient use of space,
- Contribution to LEED certification and
- Encourage Bicycle Commuting