Neighbors Protest New Bikeshare Rack at 11th and C Streets, SE

DDOT installed this 19 bike Bikeshare station last week at 11th and C Streets, SE.

Another view.

Neighbors Protest New Bikeshare Rack at 11th and C Streets, SE

by Larry Janezich

Residents near the intersection of 11th and C SE say that despite 160 signatures (many from customers of the adjacent dry cleaner) opposing the installation pictured above, DDOT brushed aside their concerns and installed the Bikeshare rack anyway.

The issue came before the ANC6B Transportation Committee in November where several neighbors and the owner of the dry cleaning establishment protested the proposed installation, citing the loss of parking, the impact on the dry cleaner who has been using the non-designated space in front of his business as a loading zone, and the aesthetics of having a station in front of a residence.  After hearing the concerns, the committee bucked the issue up to the full ANC6B meeting a few days later which heard protests from other neighbors who added objections based on safety and lack of notification.  In addition, concern about the loss of property value seemed to have figured into the opposition.  The Commission subsequently voted 7 -3 to support the bike station.

DDOT and two ANC commissioners from the affected single member districts had surveyed eight potential sites for a new Bikeshare rack to fill a gap in stations centered near 11th and C Streets.  DDOT determined that this location was the best alternative based on safety, proximity to bike infrastructure, distance from other stations, and “its minor impact on resident parking.”

On December 13, one resident, saying she was writing on behalf of some 30 concerned neighbors, wrote to Jeff Marootian, Director of DDOT, formally contesting the effort to place the Bikeshare based on lack of due process and safety.  DDOT, replied that an appropriate response would be forthcoming to “everyone who has inquired or raised concerns about this bike share station installation.”

ANC6B Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, whose single member district is near the Capitol Building, weighed in, emailing DDOT that neither she nor the neighbors had been given adequate notice and said “it is very disheartening that DDOT is rushing to get this bike share installed without adequate debate.  Honestly – I was shocked at the ANC meeting by the presentation by DDOT.  It was almost like if you don’t say “yes” right now- we will put the bike share in another ANC.  It was a take it or leave it ultimatum.”  Commissioner Denise Krepp from Hill East wrote Marootian chastising DDOT for a dismissive attitude about residents’ concerns.

The Bike Share rack was installed on January 10.

Newly elected ANC6B Corey Holman, who often opines on transportation and parking issues, posted a couple of tweets supporting the installation, one showing a graphic which he said demonstrated the need for the Bikeshare rack.  One of his Holman’s Twitter followers asked:

“Did the owner that owns the cleaners have a problem with it?”

Holman replied, “Yes, the dry cleaner and the property owner both had issues, because parking of course. This took away two non-legal parking spaces that were being used for both loading and all-day parking. 19 bikes or 1 car was an easy choice for me in committee and full ANC supported 7-3.”

To which the Twitter follower replied, “Interesting.”

Holman told CHC, “Filling in the gaps in the bike share network is a huge win for residents and visitors of 6B and I hope DDOT continues to find appropriate sites to continue expanding the network.”

The issue is the latest of the transportation and parking issues which promise to dominate the public space discussion in coming months.  Last Wednesday night, ANC6B’s Transportation Committee approved a plan to solicit recommendations from 6B’s commissioners locating dockless bike racks in their SMDs to accommodate city requirements that dockless bikes must be locked between trips.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Neighbors Protest New Bikeshare Rack at 11th and C Streets, SE

  1. Rick

    Pretty dismissive attitude from Holman towards a local business. If he were my ABC rep, I wouldn’t tolerate it.

    • Non-casual observer

      The space in front of the business was never legal to begin with. (The RPP sign hasn’t moved.) Parking too close to an intersection, especially by taller vehicles like delivery vans, poses a serious hazard to everyone—especially pedestrians attempting to enter the crosswalk—because it obstructs sight lines.

      The objections here are baseless and short-sighted.

      • muskellunge

        So instead of parking illegally, off the main travel lane, to run in & drop off one’s laundry, folks will now double park in the traffic, and also obstruct access to the bikes. Parking will be enforced about the same as it always has been, i.e., not at all.

        I appreciate the bikes, but realism is called for here. If you’ve got an armload of laundry, you are driving, most especially when you are picking it up — and you’ll risk a ticket. It would have been better if the bike dock was across the street.

      • Non-casual observer

        Muskellunge, your argument is indistinguishable from “drivers are going to break the law all the time, so it’s foolish to do something that a) bars them doing it in an especially dangerous way and b) enhances transportation alternatives, especially a non-polluting one, for everybody.” This is not a good argument.

        Prediction: if drivers insist on double-parking, they’ll do it on C St., which carries less traffic, because God forbid they inconvenience other drivers.

      • muskellunge

        Observer, not sure what your point is. Drivers will double park (in the bike lane here) unless a cop is there to stop them. Pedestrians will jaywalk, and bicyclists will blow through red lights, all out if convenience. It is human nature, and I don’t think we want a cop on every corner to enforce letter-perfect law abidence.
        Point us, a better place for the dock is across the street. There is room there for it.

  2. Evanstonian in DC

    There was also support for this. One cannot complain about losing a parking spot that wasn’t legal to begin with. And improving the transportation infrastructure for more people trumps the convenience of 1-2. More commuters on bike means less cars and less pollution. Safety? There is a bike lane right by the docking station.

  3. jay

    I live at this intersection. My first knowledge of this was when I came home from work and it was there. I am against it. Is there not a rule that requires written notice to neighbors for input? I was never notified in any way.

  4. John

    The dry cleaner is short sighted. Many residents now have another reason to visit that corner. It’s not hard to imagine that many might start dropping off their dry cleaning there before getting on their bike share.

  5. Long-time resident

    “who has been using the non-designated space in front of his business as a loading zone” — aka “parking illegally”

  6. ParkingHypocrites

    I think it is strange how little support this retail location is getting, especially for a location that doesn’t get a lot of help. If a single spot on 7th St or 8th St we’re imperiled in this same way, there would be a tremendous outcry. A laundry is one type of business that is not generally helped by bikeshare. I think they are just drawing the short straw because they don’t have the political juice to fight it

    The idea that a bikeshare could suddenly be stuck in front of your house or apartment without meaningful notice or a process to resist the placement should also be disturbing. The nature of the use is much different than a parking spot. At least dockless options would share the burden more widely and randomly.

    • grinchworm

      “The idea that a bikeshare could suddenly be stuck in front of your house or apartment without meaningful notice or a process to resist the placement should also be disturbing.”

      The recipe for perfect socialist urbanism does not include giving damn about the opinion of residents, data or facts. Now get back to work. Your annual 10% increase in property taxes ain’t gonna pay itself.

  7. HillBiker

    What this comes down to is that the cleaners wants to have a private parking place or two that benefits his business alone, but the bike rack will serve many people in the neighborhood. It is whether the street should be used for private profit or public benefit; for one business’s purpose or for local resident’s advantage,
    Plenty of notice was given, since several people showed up at the two ANC meetings where this was discussed. Certainly, the 160 people who signed the cleaner’s petition knew about it but apparently they didn’t tell their neighbors or they don’t care enough to tell others or they are not from the neighborhood. This is why you need to read the many local email lists, newsletters, and this blog. A bike rack is just one of the many changes that could happen without notice if you don’t pay attention, such as building additions, new garages in the alley, PEPCO and Verizon digging up streets throughout the Hill, street closures for marathons, and redesigning local parks (all these have happened in the last year).
    Of course people will break the law and park next to the bike rack, in the bike lane, even thought the fine just went up to $150 for that. People broke the law by parking in the illegal spots where the bike rack is now. That doesn’t mean that the neighborhood doesn’t deserve a bike rack. If lawbreaking becomes a problem, get a picture and call the cops.
    It is unfortunate that people are inconvenienced (or at least annoyed) by the bike rack, but sometimes change and progress can be hard to get used to. At least this change helps a lot of people in the neighborhood. If you want to know how many, wait a few months and check the Capital Bikeshare site for the number of bikes checked in and out each day (not counting the Winter, when usage is down).

    • muskellunge

      Hillbiker, as long as you mentioned this marathons — what should I do to keep them from happening? There are too many, some organized by for-profit companies, and they don’t ever have them in the suburbs. Thanks.

      • HillBiker

        muskellunge, yeah the marathons are getting a little out of hand. Now, with the anti-terrorist “clean streets” requirement to tow away ALL cars on the route it is a real PITA. The Cap Hill Classic is locally run (pun intended) and sensitive to the neighborhood since it is local people, but the Rock and Roll Marathon is a profit-making company that hosts these all over the country and is in a better position to “make friends” with the local politicians.

        It is probably too late to do anything about the marathons this year, since they have all been approved and permitted. For next summer, watch for this blog or other hyperlocal news sources to mention that the ANC will review the application. Then GO TO the ANC meeting, and also contact Charles Allen’s office. Make sure the elected politicians know you care, and someday that may have an effect. It’s basically our only option.

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