Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bike parking at Halstead Square in Merrifield

It was a beautiful day to be out riding. We needed to run some errands so we rode from Reston to Merrifield to the Home Depot and to have lunch at Lost Dog Cafe. Lost Dog is located at Halstead Square, a new mixed-use development near Dunn Loring Metro station.

As you can see from the photo on the right, there's good bike parking conveniently located near the restaurant. U-type racks are well-spaced and installed properly.

After lunch we wanted to check out the Halstead apartments. We asked about tenant bike parking and were told that there are racks in the parking garage. What we found was disappointing. There were about 6 U-racks installed just a few inches from the wall. There should be a minimum of 24 inches between the rack and the wall.

There were a couple of bikes parked to plumbing fixture. Several bikes were double-parked. There are not enough racks and they are installed incorrectly. We were told there are racks on each level of the garage. One positive is that the garage requires key access.

According to the draft Fairfax County Guidelines for Bicycle Parking, there should be 1 long term parking space for every 5 units and 1 visitor space for every 25 units. There are 436 units so there should be 18 visitor spaces (9 U-racks) and 88 long term spaces (44 U-racks).  These requirements seem inadequate in practice. Most households have at least one bicycle, many have 2 or 3 bikes. Arlington requires 3 spaces for every 10 units (p. 33). Seattle requires 1 space for every 2 units.

On an earlier trip to Halstead Square we discussed giving them a bike-friendly award. They are making some good efforts at being bike-friendly. They have the right type of parking and provide more spaces than most similar developments. The details matter when it comes to bike parking. Racks need to be installed correctly and unfortunately in Fairfax that's rarely the case.

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A good quick reference on bike parking is 12 Bike Parking Essentials for Retailers. We have printed copies that we hand out when discussing retail bike parking. We need another document on bike parking essentials for residential developers.

Arlington County's Bicycle Parking All in One document contains lots of good information.

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