Tuesday, November 12 on car and bike parking, the most talked-about part of the update. This hearing is actually full, but there is an overflow night on Tuesday, November 19 where you can speak.
Even if you don't speak, I predict a high level of entertaining crazy. But from a policy standpoint, this is the once a generation change that will do a great deal to improve bike parking and commuting in DC. The most common excuse I hear for not bike commuting is lack of a shower, among other things this will require more showers and changing rooms for bike commuters.
The District first adopted bicycle parking requirements in the Zoning Regulations in 1984 (Title 11 DCMR,
§ 2119). The zoning requirements are fairly minimal, in that they:
Only apply to office, retail, and service uses, and do not apply to residential buildings;
Are directly linked to a percentage of required automobile parking spaces (and thus have little
to no effect where little or no automobile parking is required);
Even where automobile parking is required, set a low standard (5% of required car spaces);
Make no distinctions between bike parking for short-term vs. long-term visitors (by implication,
the standards are oriented toward long-term users such as employees);
Have minimal standards for security, accessibility, and usability; and
Have unclear provisions regarding relief or exemptions from the requirements
In response to these gaps/deficiencies, OP (assisted by its consultant, Nelson\Nygaard) proposed more
robust standards as part of the Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR). Initial recommendations were
published in OP reports developed through the ZRR Parking Working Group in 2008, and were
subsequently refined and published as draft regulations to be adopted as part of the new zoning code.
The Zoning Commission took “final action” on the proposed bike parking regulations (published as Title
11, Subtitle B, Chapter 16) on April 25, 2011, in ZC Order 08-06-C. However, since the new zoning code is
still a work in progress and many issues remain to be resolved, the order has not taken effect. In order
to be fully effective, the adopted bike parking chapter will need some minor revisions as the new zoning
code is completed. OP proposed one adjustment (to the requirement for residential uses) in an updated
chapter that was included in a complete draft of the new code, delivered to the Zoning Commission in
In addition, OP has proposed a new provision to require mitigation for vehicle parking that is provided
significantly in excess of the minimum parking requirement. If a project provides more than 150% of the
required number of parking spaces, the developer must mitigate the impacts of that over-parking
through Transportation Demand Management measures. Qualifying measures could include bike
parking spaces in excess of the minimum number required, and the provision of new Capital Bikeshare
stations on- or off-site.
Back in 2005, when the DDOT first published the City’s bike
masterplan, it included the following graphic on bike commuting mode
The fine print showed that the mode share estimate was provided by the
Census Journey to Work data, circa
2000, broken down by TAZ. Heavily shaded
areas, indicating 5-8.5% bike commuting mode share can be seen near 14th Street
by the U street Metro and in Adams Morgan, among several other locations. Since 2000, a couple of new Census commuting
surveys have been performed and a fair bit of bike infrastructure has been put
in place. But what if surveying isn’t
the right tool to determine mode share? Is there a different way of measuring
an area’s mode share that can be useful in guiding policy makers, planners and
road designers? One possible way would
be to look at the main corridor that runs through some given area and simply
count the roadway users – bikes and motorized vehicles – during the morning peak
hour (the PM peak hour tends to also capture retail trips, so it is less of a strictly commuting
timeframe). While counting vehicles and
bikes on a road can certainly be done by anyone, most of us are in some
traffic stream during peak commuting hours.
But fortunately there are other data sources: developers.
The two aforementioned bike-friendly areas recently had proposed
developments that have gone through the District’s zoning process – the Ontario
Theatre in Adams Morgan and the Rite Aid strip mall redevelopment near 14th
and U Streets. As part of the District’s
zoning process, these developers produced traffic impact studies for DDOT. Traffic impact studies, regardless of their
conclusions, often provide quality data on how public space is being used in
the immediate vicinity, because pedestrian and bike traffic is typically
counted along with vehicle traffic.
Comparing a roadway’s mode
split with a residential survey is not a direct comparison simply because, in
the District, cars are likely to originate from another neighborhood, if not
another state entirely. But the
availability of this “road based” data set can still provide value. Reviewing the traffic impact studies from the
two developments referenced above, and pulling out the existing count data at
select intersections, yields the following table:
Based on these numbers, the roads are being used at a higher rate than
the 2000 survey would imply, as expected – particularly if one makes the
logical assumption that the bikers are local (i.e. neighborhood-based), while
many of the vehicles are likely to be non-local.* While these aren’t Copenhagen numbers, they
are closer than the “5 to 8.5%” mode share from the 2000 commuting
survey. Given that biking infrastructure
has improved considerably at both these of these locations since the time of
the 2000 census, it appears that DDOT’s investments in areas that already had
higher-than-average bike mode share are yielding results.
But, is there value in measure existing bike mode share on a
roadway corridor basis, beyond validation of past investments? If you are
policy-maker, planner or roadway designer, is this type of data a more useful
input than a survey? If you have similar
corridors with similar land uses, Columbia
Road or 14th
Street could serve as a model for accommodating
bike traffic from both a planning and design perspective?
Or, is there more value to future developers of infill
properties? For example, if developers
had concrete evidence that such a large bike demand was already present, they would be more inclined to go heavy on the
indoor bike parking and lighter on car parking.
*Ignoring pedestrians here in modal split, but only for the purpose of this
DCBAC has information about bike parking and CaBi access to the Mall for the 4th of July. There will be a parking area near the corner of 15th and Independence Avenue NW; a bike valet; and CaBi will run a bike corral at 10th and Constitution from noon to 1 hour after the fireworks.
Maryland SHA presented alternatives for a redesign of Georgia Avenue between 16th Street and Forest Glen Road. Several alternatives include "a 14 to 16 foot curb lane that could accommodate a striped bicycle lane."
I didn't make it to the BicycleSpace ride on Friday because my wife surprised me with dinner reservations and baby sitters but I bet it was a good ride with good ice cream.
The DC area bicycle heat map, based on data from cycling GPS devices. With this and the existing bike counters in Arlington County, you could almost extrapolate counts elsewhere (though it would skew to places where those who have (read:can afford and care to buy) such devices ride).
The DowntownDC BID and DDOT plan to double the number of bike racks downtown over the next three years. "the BID is focused on providing short-term parking in public space for visitors to buildings, shoppers, and restaurant patrons, while continuing to work with buildings to provide secure, commuter bike parking inside for their tenants. The first installation phase will begin in mid-July and will target the blocks between 6th and 11th streets because of the high level of use in this area. About 200 racks are planned for installation during this first phase, and the majority of work will take place overnight, except where adjacent to residential buildings or hotels."
Montgomery County Councilmember Robert Berliner is concerned that the MCDOT design for Old Georgetown Road between the current Executive Boulevard alignment and Rockville Pike does not include bike lanes or a sidepath as called for in the Sector Plan. "In order to meet the Plan's mode share goals, we should implement multi-modal, complete streets on the front end, not at the end stages of the Plan"
There was a meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority on June 20th to get input on how to spend $190 million for transportation. "Perhaps the most scrutinized debate will be how many funds are devoted to transit projects, pedestrian or bicycle projects, and how much will simply be devoted to increasing capacity on the roads network....The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will hold another public hearing July 24 at the Fairfax City Hall before adopting the final fiscal 2014 funding list."
"A plurality of MT readers (33 percent) picked the road lobby as the most effective in the transportation world. Public transit snagged 17 percent and the railroads took 16 percent. Don’t tell Dorothy Rabinowitz, but only 2 percent said the bike/ped lobby was the best."
"People using New York City’s new bike-sharing program have logged more than a million miles in less than a month." At this rate, they'll have had more total miles than CaBi by the end of year 1.
AARP issues a report to help people advocate for bicycling and walking in the state legislature. "Local officials, community leaders, and planners should use this comprehensive and detailed report to gain an understanding of the current climate for bicyclists and pedestrians in America and to learn how state legislation is working to improve conditions for non-motorized transportation modes."