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There may be two things going on with the badly installed IU bike racks.

One, when you let people who don't use something design it, you will probably get a disaster.

Two, these may be designed for failure, a very typical bureaucratic approach. Design it badly, and then when it fails they can say "Well, we tried, but there is no demand for this."

The worst experience I had with an IU rack in DC was in front of Ceiba Restaurant. My fiance and I arrived at the restaurant on bikes, for my dad's birthday, and we had reservations. The Valet staff had placed their valet sign literally on top of the IU, and they refused to let us lock our bikes to the IU because they would have to move their valet sign. We tried to reason with them, but it was no use. The valet staff told us that they "owned" the sidewalk where the IU was, so they get to decide if anyone is allowed to park their bikes there. Why would the valet people want to let people park their bikes?

DC actually has a PDF detailing their IU rack placement guidelines... however I agree that many of the IUs do not appear to be following the those guidelines. The guidelines clearly state that the IU has to be at least 3 feet from a sign pole. The minimum wall setback is 2 feet.

http://ddot.dc.gov/ddot/frames.asp?doc=/ddot/lib/ddot/information/bicycle/rack/bikerack_placementguidelines.pdf

I also noticed a while back that bicycle rack parking regulations provide a lot of requirements that aren't being followed by the parking lots in DC. For example I've never seen signs telling you where the bike parking rack is located. Ususally lots will have two IUs near the entrance, and a comb rack pushed up against the wall on the first parking level. Pushing the comb up against the wall eliminates half of the useful parking spots on the rack, and also appears to violate the regulation 2119.5 "An aisle five feet (5') in width shall be provided between rows of bicycle parking spaces and the perimeter of the area devoted to bicycle parking." The comb is clearaly intended to provide for a row of parked bikes, so then they are required to have a 5" perimeter for that row...

Hi, I have discovered a new sytem for parking and renting bicycles called bigloo. You can both park and rent bikes. You can see it in http://www.bacc.info/ciclotimes/contingut3.asp?cont=1387

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