Rack Attack Adds Bicycle Parking in SE D.C.

Posted October 11, 2011 at 6:32pm

A “rack attack” descended on the streets near Southeast Washington, D.C., recently. Those are bicycle racks, to be exact — and they were installed by the District Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner David Garber.

Normally the department installs roughly 300 bicycle racks a year, meaning five or six new racks go up each week.

It decided to try something new, though, and launched a rack attack, installing 13 bike racks at seven different locations in the Southeast neighborhood near Nationals Park on Sept. 27.  The plan was to install 36 racks total.

This is the first time the department hit multiple sites of installation in one day, said Chris Holben, DDOT bicycle program specialist.

Garber contacted DDOT and thought the plan would be a way to get the word out and make a splash at the same time. He is credited with the name and the idea.

“I saw an opportunity to do something on a larger scale than is typically done and enlisted the help of DDOT and WABA,” Garber said. “I wanted to make sure that we were visibly supportive of bicycles and bicycle infrastructure.”

Of the 36 bike racks, 13 were installed in late September and the remaining 23 were installed at 12 different locations throughout the Southeast area this month. The final installation began Thursday, but a few may take longer because of the need to lay concrete in order to place the racks.

Four of the first 13 bike racks were placed around Diamond Teague Park. The other nine were in placed in pairs at various locations.

The 23 remaining racks were installed throughout the general vicinity of the numbered streets where they intersect with M Street Southeast. They are all located relatively close to businesses where bike traffic is expected.

The Southeast area was chosen for this attack because it was the first one suggested to DDOT, Holben said.

The WABA joined the plan to serve as contractors for DDOT and install the racks. The group’s participation is reflective of its goal to establish a fully integrated transportation system in the District.

There are no plans to launch another rack attack in another part of the city, but Holben said DDOT may do another if it makes sense.

Garber is working with  the WABA to put together a guide so that other neighborhoods can follow the Southeast’s example and can have a rack attack of their own.

DDOT has installed 2,000 bike racks in public space across the District. The locations for these racks are determined by analysis and requests from members of the business community.