According to a March 2010 study of bicycle parking at DC government properties, only 6% of DC government buildings would meet current bike parking requirements.
The study, which was mandated under the Bicycle Commuter and Parking Expansion Act of 2007 (the text of the act can be found in the report), found that the overwhelming majority of the District's 450 owned and leased properties would not meet current zoning regulations regarding bike parking - it they were required to meet them. While current zoning regulations require bike parking equal to 5% of automobile parking at commercial garages, no such requirement applies to office buildings owned and leased by the DC government. Not only would many of them not meet the 5% threshold, 81% of facilities have no bike parking at all. And many of the facilities that do have bike parking, have racks that don't meet current standards.
DC is currently updating its zoning, and under the proposed regulations bike parking will be a function of the type of facility and its size in square feet. Under that standard, DC would need to add a total of 11,326 bike parking spaces. Of those 2802 would be class A spaces, intended for long-term use and 8526 would be class B, intended for short-term use. To meet this standard, the study estimates that the District would need to spend $1,326,000.
Even where parking does meet the minimum standard there are locations where the minimum standard isn't meeting need. For example, I went to the Wilson Building earlier this spring and I had to lock my bike to a street sign that already had a bike locked to it - and I was lucky to find that space. The Wilson building might have a lot of bike parking - including indoor parking - but it still isn't enough.
The District should commit to providing enough bike parking to meet the new zoning regulations and current need. The DC government should be an example to other employers, not a laggard. It is much easier to sell policies that the District has instituted itself. The report makes this same point, and lists other policies that DC should institute to be a model for bike commuting. These policies include transportation subsidies for cyclists, secure indoor storage, shower and changing rooms, workplace bike clubs, parking cash out, bike commuting classes, and free or cheap bikesharing memberships. At the very minimum, DC should offer its employees the Federal bike commuting benefit.
The report also suggests that a follow-up study be performed on commercial buildings in the District. Such a study should probably wait until the zoning rewrite process is complete. In the meantime, the Bicycle Commuter and Parking Expansion Amendment Act of 2010 gave the 2007 act teeth. It requires that there be at least 1 bike parking spot for every 20 car parking spots (until the new zoning regulations come through) and it allows for enforcement of that standard. The fiscal impact statement that was issued with the 2010 law made it clear that there are adequate funds to enforce the law. If you should come across a commercial building in DC that doesn't provide the required amount of parking, you should contact the District's information line at 311 and report it. At this point the system relies almost exclusively on citizen reporting, so if you don't report it, it probably won't change.
Bike Parking at Reeves by Eric Gilliland