As mentioned here before the city's newest shopping center DCUSA opened up with great fanfare, but with no apparent bike parking. What seemed to be a gross oversight in creating parking instead was a gross oversight in following DC's design guide which prefers inverted-U racks that "support the bicycle frame in at least 2 places, allowing the frame and wheel to be locked using a U-lock or cable lock, prevent the wheel of the bicycle from tipping over and do not damage the bicycle." and the newly passed Bicycle Parking Act:
2119.3 Bicycle facilities shall have convenient access from the building or structure and street or other bicycle right-of-way, be clean, secure and well lit and shall be located within a building or structure, either on the ground floor, basement, or first cellar level.
These racks may have been installed with good intentions, it doesn't meet the needs of visitors. They are inconvenient, hard to lock to and are impossible to find. Despite over three months of waiting and a dozen emails with Ward 1 Council-member Jim Graham and his staff no additional bike parking has been installed beyond the DDOT/WABA bike rack raising that sits full most hours of the day. DDOT staff have stated that the next batch of bike racks will be installed in this area, but what about secure, covered bike parking in the garage?
David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington reports that according to Graham himself, the garage is not only underutilized, but the second level has yet to be used. Alpert also goes on to report on the annual costs at current usage rates will cost the city $2.8 million a year. While the losses don't translate directly into lack of funding for bike project, I can think of a project that money would be better suited for.
Whether this is due the shopping center still not at capacity or proof that shopping located next to Metro in a neighborhood with high levels of pedestrians and cyclists doesn't need large parking garages is still debatable. Regardless of the answer, the need for bike parking will only increase. As the first test of the Bicycle Parking Act, this does not bode well for cyclists in future developments throughout the District.