A few weeks ago Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells introduced the Bicycle Commuter and Parking Expansion Act of 2007. The legislation would greatly improve bike parking through the city including residential buildings and new construction. The measure would also double the current bike parking requirement at commercial buildings with car parking, and require a detailed study of bike parking and bike access to DC government office buildings.
Sounds like a good, environmentally progressive things to do, right? Well, as Washington City Paper recently asked, why is the council's champion of environmental policy opposing it?
Mendelson has a particular soft spot for tree-hugger causes—the guy did, after all, push through the Urban Forest Preservation Act. So the Bicycle Commuter and Parking Expansion Act, one would think, would be right in Mendelson’s enviro-lefty sweet spot.
Mendelson cites personal experience when explaining his reservations. In his home in McLean Gardens, where he has long owned a condo, the 725-unit complex would require more than 180 bike spaces under Wells’ proposed one-bike-space-for-every-four-units formula. But the bike racks already in place, he says, are mostly empty.
City Paper goes on to ponder possible influence of Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA), who opposes the legislation, and who's chief DC lobbyist Nicola Whtieman is a former Mendelson staffer.
Based on Mendelson's previous track record on environmental and bike-related issues, I don't think there is a wider conspiracy here. His point about residential parking spaces is a valid one, but I'm a firm believer in the 'if you build it they will come' nature of bicycle facilities.