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Ironically, I am in an "argument" with some DC planners on this very issue.

The new proposed regs. are decent in terms of differentiating between long term and short term parking, are stronger than current regs., demand that both types be provided, and require shower and changing facilities.

(The LEED-ND regs. are a wee bit stronger for multiunit residential and shower requirements, and developers are motivated by the desire to achieve LEED designation. The LEED-ND number is one parking space/res. unit, while the parking regs I think are 0.9 spaces/unit).

Unfortunately, national "best practice" parking guidelines for bicycling are misguided in that they are based, for certain categories, on arbitrary criteria disconnected from "patron load" and so what they recommend is very much mismatched for need, for at least five categories:

retail; restaurants; entertainment; parks; and schools.

E.g., a 5,000 s.f. restaurant can support up to 250 patrons, yet according to the national guidelines, a restaurant of this size wouldn't even require a bike parking space because it is smaller than 10,000 s.f., where 1 space/10,000 s.f. is "mandated" each for short term and long term parking.

The DC proposed regs., in this instance, would require a mandatory minimum of 2 short term and 2 long term spaces, which clearly isn't enough for peak load.

Similarly, 10,000 s.f. (1/4 acre) of park space can support a few hundred people, as does 10,000 s.f. in a club, and 10,000 s.f. in a K-6 school is about 10 classrooms, and the national avg. class size is about 24 students. Etc.

The argument that I make wrt just accepting the arbitrary numbers because they are "best practice" is that if the numbers were so wildly out of kilter for providing parking spaces for motor vehicles, ITE and other accrediting transportation engineering organizations would never stand for it. Why should bicycling, especially in those communities where bicycling has the opportunity to capture a significant number of trips, be treated so cavalierly when accommodations for motor vehicle parking are taken so seriously?

Does the 5 percent apply to floor space or number of parking units? A parking garage that holds 300 cars could easily accommodate 15 bikes. Or would it need to eliminate 15 car parking spaces for bikes. That's an awful lot of bike parking for a government agency like mine.

The parking at my former government employer at L'Enfant Plaza was adequate for bike commuters and used only 2 or 3 car spaces. (The garage held at least 300 cars.) The racks, however, were typically stuffed with employees' bikes that were used exclusively for lunch time fitness rides.

The garage bike parking was located right next to the security guards too.

Visitors and contactors were prohibited from using the garage (for security reasons, I'm sure) and had to use a handful of bike parking spaces outside the building.

Also showers were available if you paid a nominal charge to use the building's fitness center.

Some of the need for bike parking at my old office would be eliminated if CaBi put a docking station there.

For a 300 car parking garage they just need bike parking for 15 bikes. Unless all 15 spaces are routinely used, then it needs 30.

The other point is that the 5% guideline isn't nuanced enough. In dense areas, where there is greater opportunity to capture trips by biking, the number should be higher.

Specifically in DC and Arlington and conurbations, guidelines of 10% with ability to grow to 20% (for DC at least) trips for biking aren't unreasonable, although a large segment of fed workers tend to live far from work, and many are using transit already.

In 3 parking spaces set up as a cage, using two level racks, you can fit at least 20 bikes, with a wide aisle.

In all fairness, Eric Gilliland's photo of bike parking doesn't represent the normal state of bike racks at the Reeves Center. It shows the parking situation after a Tweed Ride, after perhaps a thousand cyclists descended upon 14th and U, locking to extra racks provided by WABA.

It's a metaphor.

Count me among those who use the Wilson parking because the National Park Service has no racks at the south side of the White House, at the White House visitor center, or at Pershing Park. I've also seen visitors to the aquarium use the Wilson space. The Ronald Reagan racks fill up too.

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