DC Could Mandate Bike Parking, Sort Of




While New York continues its on-again, off-again relationship with cyclists, Washington, DC is on the verge of requiring bike parking for commercial and residential development.

Examiner.com has the story:

The D.C. Council next week is expected to adopt legislation that could dramatically increase the number of parking spaces for bicyclists, a bill praised by the cycling community but criticized by property owners as oppressive overkill.

The measure mandates that all apartment buildings with more than eight units provide one bicycle parking space for every four residential units, demands that commercial landlords deliver enough bicycle parking to match at least 10 percent of the number of available automobile spaces, and requires the installation of bicycle racks at the Wilson Building for no less than 16 riders.

In response to protests from property owners, however, the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Tommy Wells, may make what seems like a major concession:

"If nobody in the building wants or needs bike parking, then we’re looking at an existing building not having to put in bike parking unless a resident requests it," Wells said of his possible amendment.

Addendum: As mentioned in the article, the bill would also bring about a report on bike parking at local government buildings, as well as one on bike parking plans for a new (presumably Major League) baseball stadium

And no, there haven’t been any developments (so far as we know) since, unbeknownst to yours truly, we blurbed this same article last week. That’s what I get for taking Friday afternoon off.

Photo of bikes outside DC’s Union Station: nocordsnowires/Flickr

  • Wols

    Why is that a “major concession” ? How would it help anyone if government is seen as imposing a kooky mandate irrespective of demand?

  • psycholist

    What’s kooky about mandating bike parking when car parking is already required? Developers whine about everything, have you seen a bike? They take a small fraction of a car’s space. 10-12 bikes fit in a parking spot. So for a small sized lot we’re talking about one parking space. ONE! Maybe if they provided bike parking on their own it wouldn’t have to be forced.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Am I to imply from the post that the legislation would apply to EXISTING buildings?

    That is a pretty radical step when it comes to land use regulations, although not unheard of (lots of tenement upper stories were boarded up in the Great Depression after the NYC building code required separate bathrooms and hot water).

  • Wols

    Creating a supply for which there isn’t demand runs into the white elephant problem, like building a light rail line in low density suburbs. Failure or perceived failure of a broad mandate about cycling doesn’t help us. Car parking is in greater demand, like it or not SB ideologues.

  • gelston

    The problem is that creating LESS than the expected eventual demand is also wasteful. Better to prepare for the expected demand. To avoid the image of waste in the meantime, the space could be awarded to “any transport device” – including kayaks, push carts, children’s prams, mobility scooters. The idea is to establish some principle of parity among tenants who have different needs for storage space.

  • d

    Also, the consequences of providing too much bike parking is easily fixable: turn it back into parking for cars. If a parking space in a garage was equipped with a bike rack that could fit ten bikes, it probably wouldn’t take up more than the space normally given to one car. If there was no demand, you could remove the bike rack quite easily. This certainly will not create an undue hardship for building owners.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (If a parking space in a garage was equipped with a bike rack that could fit ten bikes, it probably wouldn’t take up more than the space normally given to one car. If there was no demand, you could remove the bike rack quite easily.)

    Again, perhaps I’m too focused on NYC. Do most existing, older residential and commercial buildings in DC have indoor parking?

    Such a regulation is more likely to work here if applied to paid parking garages, with some kind of fair price relationship enforcement.

  • gelston

    Of course residents of buildings without parking take up available on-street parking (and may soon be given permits to do so.) In this case, there should be a forumula for allocating a portion of a neighborhood’s curb space for bikes as well as cars.

  • psycholist

    Wols – again, this represents a minor percentage to car parking. We’re not talking about vast fields of bicycle racks- it’s 10 percent or roughly one parking spot allocated to bikes for every 100 car spaces. Around my home there are bikes locked to every stationary object – new bike racks are constantly in use as soon as they’re installed. I imagine DC is seeing similar issues which they’re attempting to address. Regardless of your prejudices there is a demand for bike facilities. Also you can hardly compare the cost of installing a bike rack to the cost of building light rail. White elephant indeed.

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