In a column in the Post, Harriet Tregoning and Terry Bellamy explained what the new proposed changes to the automobile parking minimums actually mean and how DC thinks it will help the city meet its goals. They briefly mention how bike sharing will make driving less necessary, but they didn't go into how the new zoning regulations will change bike parking. So, I will attempt to that.
- CR require 1 long-term bike parking space for every 3 residential units, NR requires 1 space for every unit.
- The CR requires 1 long-term space for every 10,000 square feet of gross floor area for every other use, but the NR requires long-term bike parking that is based on the type of use. That requirement can be as much as 4 times as large - for offices - or non existent for parks or parking lots. Long term bike parking requirements will go up for the following uses: chanceries, education, firearms usage, government and institutional. It will go down for the following uses: basic utilities; motor-vehicle related; production, distribution and repair; agriculture; antennas;parking; parks; and transportation infrastructure. Don't worry though, sexually-based business establishments will remain at 1 space for every 10,000 square feet of gross floor area.
- Short-term parking will also go up and is no longer called "Outdoor spaces" acknowledging that it can, in fact, be inside or covered. In most cases more short-term parking will be required. For education, short-term parking will increase by a factor of 5. In a few cases, like parking lots or transportation infrastructure, it will not be required at all. And in other cases it will remain the same.
2. Better parking - Under the NR, bike parking will have to allow a user to lock both the wheel and frame with one lock without removing a wheel. That means that bike racks like this won't cut it. The racks will have to be secured to the ground (not true now), give adequate space for access and allow for securing in two locations.
Short term parking has to be located either on the same lot as the use they are intended to serve or on public space within 20 feet of the lot and within 50 feet of the entrance (no more DCUSA-style set-ups). Parking has to be on an all weather surface and visible from the building. This type of parking will fail at least three requirements.
Long-term parking will have to be inside the building no more than one floor away from the ground level. They have to be available to residents, employees and other building occupants. There are new requirements for how bike rooms should be designed (with visibility from the door included) and that require long-term bike parking to be separated from auto parking by wheel stops.
3. Better maintained parking - under the NR, property owners are required to maintain their buildings parking and keep parking clear of snow, ice and debris.
4. Changing rooms - Unlike the CR, the NR has requirements for changing facilities. Non-residential buildings with over 25,000 square feet in gross floor area will provide 2 showers for every 25,000 square feet and 6 lockers for every 10 bike parking spaces.
The NR lays out when buildings have to meet code (at construction or modification) with exceptions for historic properties. And it lays our guidance and a process for getting a waiver from these requirements.
But wait, there's more....
In addition, the NR states that
- For a waterfront property with a setback, twenty five feet (25 ft.) of the required waterfront setback area, for the full width of the lot along the water, shall be reserved for a public pedestrian and bicycle trail along the waterfront. The property owner should align the trail reservation area with the reservation on adjacent properties
- Properties must allow for a continuous publicly-accessible pedestrian and bicycle trail along and adjacent to the waterfront as part of the Anacostia Waterfront Trail system
- The movement of pedestrians, bikes and transit shall be prioritized, and provide reasonable accommodation for automobiles. The location of parking and loading access shall not unduly impact the movement of pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Bike sharing stations are an acceptable PUD category
It's much improved over the current regulations. And it would be a shame to see it delayed or killed over parking minimums.