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Shhh—-don’t tell the war-on-cars truthers.
The District Department of Transportation is planning to convert one of the parking spots in front of Logan Circle bicycle shop the Bike Rack into a space for about dozen bikes, following a request from the store’s owner, Chuck Harney. His reasons: There are only two bike racks near the Q Street NW store, and, for obvious reasons, lots of cyclists stop there. It’s also nearly across the street from French restaurant Le Diplomate, which doesn’t have bike parking, so its bicycle-riding guests will often fill up the bike-parking spots near the Bike Rack. And then there’s all the other bike riders parking off of 14th Street to patronize the other bars and restaurants there.
Harney’s permit request was approved, and he hopes the new racks are installed by the end of the month. “There’s a lot of need in our community,” he says. “I was trying to think forward, outside the box.”
DDOT says that over the past five years it has converted about a dozen parking spots to bike spots throughout the city. Either DDOT, a business, or a Business Improvement District initiates the process, says Jim Sebastian, manager of the Active Transportation Branch of the agency. He says he expects requests for these bike parking spots to only increase in the future. Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights has one, as does the Washington Area Bike Association office in Adams Morgan.
Although these transformations typically mean the loss of a car parking spot in hard-to-park-in neighborhoods, Sebastian says DDOT is all for them. A spot that fits one car translates to a dozen biking spots. And cyclists, like pedestrians, are more likely to stop in neighborhood shops.
“It’s efficient use of public space and it’s good for small business development,” says Sebastian.
In order to obtain the permit, an applicant must have the support of its neighborhood and prove that there is need for the bike parking, though Sebastian says this is a relatively informal process. Harney says he spoke with his advisory neighborhood commission, and that it supported the bike parking.
Sebastian says DDOT likely will foot the bill to install the new racks. But if Bike Rack wants anything beyond the standard city bike racks, it would have to pay for them.
“Hopefully others will follow suit,” says Harney.
Screenshot via Google Maps