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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Jack on September 01, 2015, 10:25:36 AM

Title: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Jack on September 01, 2015, 10:25:36 AM
I started a new job a couple of months ago at a company that is expanding into my city and thus have been working at home up to this point. They're getting ready to open the office, and want me to sign an agreement to rent a parking space (which they will pay for). I fully intend to bike 99% of the time, but haven't actually done so yet so I'm not totally sure I'll be able to keep it up.

Should I just tell them not to bother renting a space for me (and maybe see if I can get some other benefit from that money instead)?

On one hand, it should be unnecessary and I hate wasting money as a matter of principle, and the removal of parking as a possibility would help keep me motivated. On the other hand, if I fail I'd have to eat crow and it might be a hassle for HR to have to go back and do the paperwork later.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Leanthree on September 01, 2015, 12:28:10 PM
If it is free, and actually no strings attached, then just take it and let it lay empty. If you ever get injured and need to drive for a short period of time, it will save the hassle when you are busy dealing with the injury.

Of course, if you can get some sort of other benefit take that.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: vhalros on September 01, 2015, 12:59:26 PM
See what you can get. Lots of companies even have some kind of bike-to-work incentive program, so it would be worth at least inquiring.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: lostamonkey on September 01, 2015, 02:03:33 PM
See if you will have to pay tax on it. In Canada, this would be considered a "taxable benefit" and I would have to pay tax on the market value of the spot.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: ketchup on September 01, 2015, 02:33:19 PM
Keep the parking space and permanently store large confusing non-vehicle objects in it.  Maybe a very large outdoor potted plant.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Eric on September 01, 2015, 02:35:53 PM
Keep the parking space and permanently store large confusing non-vehicle objects in it.  Maybe a very large outdoor potted plant.

Bonus points if you transport it to the parking space in your bike trailer.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: AZDude on September 01, 2015, 02:54:09 PM
I would let them pay for it. You never know when you might need to drive a co-worker to work or maybe you have somewhere to go after work or something. Worst case is that it sits empty most of the year. Heck, you could even let someone else use it 99% of the time and become more popular in the office.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Beaker on September 01, 2015, 03:08:07 PM
See if you can get something else in lieu. If not, consider if you would ever use it for non-work-related stuff. My old company gave us spots right next to the performing arts center. Never used it when going to work, but it was sure handy for taking the family to see a play.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Retire-Canada on September 01, 2015, 05:22:32 PM
I started a new job a couple of months ago at a company that is expanding into my city and thus have been working at home up to this point. They're getting ready to open the office, and want me to sign an agreement to rent a parking space (which they will pay for). I fully intend to bike 99% of the time, but haven't actually done so yet so I'm not totally sure I'll be able to keep it up.

Should I just tell them not to bother renting a space for me (and maybe see if I can get some other benefit from that money instead)?

On one hand, it should be unnecessary and I hate wasting money as a matter of principle, and the removal of parking as a possibility would help keep me motivated. On the other hand, if I fail I'd have to eat crow and it might be a hassle for HR to have to go back and do the paperwork later.

The rental agreement will be for a specific period of time - probably a year. Sign it and see what happens with the biking to work. If it turns out you don't need the spot you can cancel the agreement or not renew it when it expires.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: cchrissyy on September 01, 2015, 05:42:21 PM
any chance you can rent it out for $?
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: tanzee on September 02, 2015, 06:55:45 AM
That sounds like a great opportunity to really lock yourself into your motivation for biking.  By turning down the spot, you can make it way less convenient for you to drive because then you have to figure out where to park.  When I was in graduate school, parking was next to impossible on the campus, so I just biked and bussed (free with student ID) to class all the time.  It wasn't even an option to drive because I would likely get a ticket for parking where I wasn't supposed to. 
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Schaefer Light on September 02, 2015, 12:50:36 PM
I'd take it, and then rent the parking space out to someone else.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: GreenPen on September 02, 2015, 03:09:39 PM
Most cities mandate that all new buildings come with a certain number of (car) parking spots per square foot. My guess is that in your city, each office needs to either build a certain number of parking spots or rent out these spots just to meet government regulations. So your company might be pitching this as a benefit to you, but really, they probably need to rent the spot anyway just to meet regulations.

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/08/exposed-americas-totally-inconsistent-minimum-parking-requirements/6598/

http://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5849280/why-free-parking-is-bad-for-everyone

Of course, you might want to check if your employer will give you a public transportation or biking credit instead. But the laws in most cities don't allow employers to swap out these kinds of things to meet parking requirements. We can thank AAA and other pro-driving lobby groups for these kinds of ridiculous laws.
Title: Re: Biking to work -- should I let my job pay for a parking space?
Post by: Thegoblinchief on September 02, 2015, 05:42:44 PM
Really depends on how painless it would be to get alternate transportation (or parking) for an odd day here or there. If it's easy enough to do, then ask about some sort of in-kind credit for being a biker.