Dallas Wants to Mandate Bike Parking

CroquetMalletBikeRack.jpg
City of Dallas
Bike parking could soon be a requirement in Dallas. The misguided croquet theme, we hope, will not.
Last year, as part of its ever-so-hesitant embrace of things that aren't cars, the city of Dallas eased its parking requirements a bit. The idea was that, by shrinking the sea of asphalt the city requires shops and restaurants to surround themselves with, the measure would help foster the denser, more walkable development the city hopes to encourage.

But that was the beginning, not the end, of the city's parking revisions. Currently on the City Council's plate are three more parking tweaks: One does away entirely with the requirement that downtown shops and small restaurants provide parking; another would allow robotic parking warehouses; the third would require every new development in the city to offer parking for bicycles.

The latter provision is probably the most far-reaching, since it will touch every corner of the city, from a new Walmart in far North Dallas to mixed-use developments downtown. Business have long been encouraged to add bike parking, says David Cossum, the assistant director of the city's planning department. "We felt like if we're serious about this we probably need to start requiring bike parking as part of new development," as has been done in Austin, New York, and elsewhere.

So, assuming the council approves the measure, tentatively slated to be on the agenda in August, every new store, restaurant, apartment complex, et cetera will be required to offer one bike parking space for every 25 car spaces.

MechanizedParking.jpg
"At the same time you do get a reduction in automobile parking," Cossum says. For ever six bike-parking spaces -- which take up about the same amount of space as a car -- a business' requirement for automobile parking drops by one. "We saw it as kind of a zero-sum game if you will."

Similarly, city staff decided that there was no need to require most stores and restaurants downtown to offer parking since they are overwhelmingly frequented by people who live or work within walking distance.

As for the robotic parking warehouses -- "You park your car in a bay, and a platform whisks it away away," in Cossum's words -- they just seemed like a good idea to allow. No one's tried to build one in Dallas, save for a simple, two-tiered lift system installed at a multifamily development near Bryan Place, but the city will now be ready if they do.


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58 comments
Barack
Barack

Yo install parking meters fo' dem’ bikes; we's be needing da money ta pay fo' Obummerdon’tcare.

kduble
kduble

Eliminating parking requirements for downtown is long overdue. I like the notion of allowing businesses to offer bike lockups to offset parking spaces. By reducing their parking requirements, we'd be saving them costly real estate and making these businesses more viable.

In other words, rather than mandating bike lockups, allow businesses more ways to comply with a mix that's right for them.

Marvin Remmers
Marvin Remmers

Why can't they just park their bikes on the sidewalk or bring them inside. Dallas is too big and spread out for bikes. They're great in small towns.

Barack
Barack

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

John Booth
John Booth

Is that what you tell the guys down at the gym ?

John Booth
John Booth

How about we let people with bikes put their bike in the back seat of someone from their office who drove to work. Wouldn't that work ??? Hmmm...

Raine Devries
Raine Devries

For almost 4 years Pauline Medrano has said she would support designated MOTORCYCLE / SCOOTER parking -- these are "bikes" to some of us; the issue has languished with some unknown committee ever since. Here's hoping her nephew / heir apparent Adam will push this measure through.

Matt Doden
Matt Doden

Where ya gonna park that bike? Bend over an I'll show ya!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I live in Deep Ellum.  Best small town in Dallas. Anvil Pub let's me bring it on in an park inside.  I got a chain.  I can strap it down most anywhere.  It's not a problem even at Deep Sushi.  the electric meter has a great pipe.

When I ride my Yamaha, I park on the sidewalk with the cops.  In front of the All Good or at the tree near Baker's Ribs.  

There's a great scooter shop in Deep Ellum and they are proliferating on the streets of the neighborhood.  It's great.  Just slide up over the rolled curb, drop the kick stand and walk in.

Wanna improve the quality of life in Deep Ellum?  Lose the $35 parking ticket.

Bottom line:  By the time these clods regulate the parking of alternative means of transportation, two other alternatives will pop up.

Is there a problem right now?  Have I missed the outcry and onslaught of civil disobedience against city hall?

leave it alone.  

Otherwise, the cops come off the broad sidewalks with their motorcycles, and so do the rest of us.

then we're back to square one.


Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Well, I actually do not have a problem with this.

I admit that there are trips that I would take by bicycle, if there was secure parking for my bike available. Today, many people spend ore than $500 for a bicycle (including me).  If there is someplace I can secure my bicycle too, I will take my bike. Otherwise, I end up driving or walking.

ptmoore2012
ptmoore2012

Another reason people will be leaving Dallas to  shop and eat somewhere else. Less parking for cars isn't the answer. If people want to park bikes businesses will provide that amenity as needed. I avoid downtown Dallas and the Hilton Anatole because of the overpriced parking. You want to make it easy to do business in Dallas not harder and more expensive.   

atat8080
atat8080

How about the bikers pay for it? 

Or, if it's not used for a year, the store can remove it for five years?

How about bikers have to sign up for it, only being able to sign up if they buy something four or five times?


kduble
kduble

@Marvin Remmers The whole point is to reduce parking requirements to promote businesses. This is a good thing.

sugarlanskee8
sugarlanskee8

The diff-rahn-say is that Dallas is 68% Spanish; this was "a must to avoid" but you people thought you had all the answers. You have yielded  LBJ and the Boooshes, which you forced on us. Hell will be your home.

s/l aka

 Johnny "The Mensa" D'Sensa

kduble
kduble

@Brian Chestnut If people start using them, why not? They'd take up less space.

kduble
kduble

@Sarah King Lynch It's a chicken-or-the-egg question. Lanes increase the need for bike parking, and bike parking encourages lanes.

UrbanEpicurious
UrbanEpicurious

@Sarah King Lynch Bike lanes were installed all throughout Downtown Dallas and Deep Ellum months ago. So far I have not seen one bike use them.


kduble
kduble

@holmantx The problem right now, holmantx, is the city currently has parking requirements based on the square footage of the business. It's a costly mandate. Depending on they type of establishment, some of this parking isn't even needed. If city hall reduces some of this regulation and allows businesses to decide for themselves how much parking they need, wouldn't this be a good thing?

kduble
kduble

@ptmoore2012If people want to park cars, won't businesses provide that amenity as needed?

I like the notion of greater flexibility for business. For those outside the center, their parking requirements would go down as their cycling accommodations go up.

If truth be told, I don't think the city should have parking mandates at all. If businesses were allowed to decide themselves, they would naturally accommodate more cycling, as bicycle parking takes up less space.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

@ptmoore2012 LOL.  Downtown Dallas has the cheapest parking of any major city in the US. Stay out in the sticks, dude.  Enjoy the mall. 

downtownworker
downtownworker

@ptmoore2012 Another reason why people in the suburbs will continue to be fat and lethargic. When walking one or two blocks becomes unthinkable, why even use your brain at all?

BushwoodSmithie
BushwoodSmithie

@UrbanEpicurious There are (thankfully) no bike lanes in downtown Dallas or Deep Ellum. There are only "sharrows", useless painted icons that indicate that indicate that bikes can use the lane -- which is no different than if the icons weren't there. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @holmantx PD 269 (Deep Ellum) already has exceptions.  The lack of parking is part of the charm.  The period buildings are zeroed up on their lot lines, most of which do not have any land area at all not covered by the building hence, parking has been a huge issue as uses change.  As a result, PD 269 has always had an option where by satellite lots could be used to satisfy onsite required parking.  What's new is that a property use can make a one-time cash payment in lieu of required parking on a formula calculated by taking three-fourths of the cost of constructing a parking garage space and multiplying that cost by the number of parking spaces that will not be required by reason of the cash payment. There are other relaxations of citywide off-street parking requirements.  Less required near DART stations (DE has 3 stations), on-street and contract pkng can be used in the count, etc.)

But I don't know about allowing businesses to set their own parking requirements.  They can already apply for a variance, where the neighbors get to weigh in on the approval.  

Other warehouse districts have had a huge parking problem when property owners began converting large and large percentages of their whse -to-office ratios to straight office, without enough parking for the additional employees.  

I am not ready to be a proponent of "build it and they will come".  Let's see if we get enough bikers first before we go to the expense (and unintended consequences of) blocking up big chunks of valuable real estate (both privately and publicly-owned) for bike parking.

ptmoore2012
ptmoore2012

@MikeDunlap @ptmoore2012 I ride my bike everyday along wide streets in my suburban community where it is safe. I am not in competition with city buses or trying to navigate Dallas' terrible traffic clogged streets. I can walk two blocks to local stores in my neighborhood and do so all the time. While I agree Dallas is cheaper than parking in New York I still see no reason to pay for expensive downtown parking when I can park for free most places.  

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@downtownworker @ptmoore2012 There are multiple studies drawing different conclusions regarding whether urban or suburban obesity rates are greater. There are plenty of jogging paths and soccer fields in the suburbs.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @holmantx

Deep Ellum is already the largest Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in Dallas Fort Worth.  It's two hundred acres is ringed with three light rail stations.

It is positioned correctly to take the greatest advantage of a social pattern change.  The ordinance already bends toward bikes and mass transit.  

And businesses and building owners are already jamming in illegal living units and uses without obtaining building permits to bypass parking requirements, as well as a hoist of other restrictions (ADA, Fire code, plumbing, sewer, you name it.).

And I don't say anything because it adds to the charm and it is a natural reaction to too much regulation AND . . . it is so Deep Ellum.

But all that will change since I too work the period buildings in Albuquerque and, more intensely, The Railyard and the Plaza area of Santa Fe.

Eventually, the monied interests move in, buy up the properties because of the charm, then price out the locals and mom's and pops who can't pay the rents.  They are replaced by a different tribe who can.  

I'm not bitching about it.  It is just the relentless evolution of these New Urbanist live/work/play TODs.

The Arts District skipped the 1st half and went straight to the high rent.  Now they are trying to pull in a version of the starving artist crowd.  But they missed the gensis of why they were there in the first place.

Santa Fe's Canyon Road and Plaza - the entire town - is so restrictive the real McCoys left for Taos years ago, leaving a set piece.  It is a well-heeled tourist trap Disneyland for the art world.  A place populated by over three thousand "artists" consisting of Trustafarians and faux artists who they support. 

Alice doesn't live there anymore.

Taos still has the loose dogs and junked cars.  And the contrarians.

Santa Fe has to pay their Indians and bums to hang out as props for the tourists.

I just would like Deep Ellum to evolve at its own pace, and miss at least one more Boom Cycle before it  irrevocably  slips into the Stepford Wife of how Dallas views what it OUGHT to look like.

kduble
kduble

@holmantx @kduble  My concern is small businesses. I'd rather they didn't have parking requirements. The city council seems to be moving in this direction as well. When you travel around the world, and even elsewhere in the United States, you see that, not only is it possible to have thriving historic districts without parking requirements, but that they actually thrive more, as the greater density encourages people to get out of their cars, and even to leave their cars at home.

Most recently, my wife and I spent a night in Albuquerque, where we visited the Knob Hill district. It's near New Mexico State University. Imagine a Deep Ellum kind of thing going on for miles with no surface parking whatsoever on the main drag, not even a single lot! It's walkable, and people choose to walk. There are attractive bus stops all along the route, and they are well-used. There is some surface parking behind the buildings and on the sides streets, but it isn't visible from the main drag. You see such thriving development most everywhere in the country outside Texas. We're behind the curve!

The more you require parking, the more you reinforce driving, as it spreads venues out, and it makes walking less attractive and less practical.

Once again, I'm talking about less government. You ought to be happy.


robbysalz
robbysalz

@ptmoore2012 @MikeDunlap are you riding your bike for fun, or is it a serious part of your daily commute? (groceries, miscellaneous errands, etc)

Mark Wootton
Mark Wootton

@marks @downtownworker @ptmoore2012 Fortunately, most of Dallas lives within walkable distance to a DART station. Even seemingly closer if you ride your bike. Also, all DART buses and trains have bike racks to help with that. 

Mark Wootton
Mark Wootton

@StupidHippies If you disagree I'd be happy to here why. You have, so far, provided nothing except laid the groundwork for Godwin's Law.

kduble
kduble

@ScottsMerkin @downtownworker @atat8080 I like the notion of reducing the parking requirement for businesses outside of the center in exchange for them accommodating cyclists. In other words, they wouldn't be required to provide bike accommodations, but they get a break on parking regs to the extent they do. This would take up less land and would save the businesses money. It's win-win.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Mark Wootton @ScottsMerkin Actuall Arlington has up until this past tuesday.  They are going on a pilot plan sponsored by DART where a bus will pick you up at UTA and connect you to the TRE station at Centerpoint at a cost of $5 per day with your TRE/DART pass included

Mark Wootton
Mark Wootton

@ScottsMerkin @Mark Wootton Cheers. It would be quite costly and very hard to implement something like that to serve all equally, agreed. I'm not familiar with Mansfield, but hasn't the local government in Arlington repeatedly blocked public transportation initiatives? I understand your compromise re: work and your wife. I'm sure there are many others in similar situations, and I don't speak for you or them. It would work in my life, and I wish the idea would work for everyone.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Mark Wootton whats this?  A well thought out and reasonable response on the subject!  Bravo!  While your idea in the second paragraph makes sense, its impossible to implement with people commuting from outside the city into it.  Not everyone is on DART or has that access and biking from Arlington or or Mansfield and such isnt feasible.  And no I really cant afford to live downtown close to my work because then it just takes my wife farther from hers.  Compromises rule in my family

Mark Wootton
Mark Wootton

@ScottsMerkin @downtownworker @atat8080 We pay to provide their parking spaces for our restaurant. I'm very excited about the idea of the city giving us an allowance on car parking for more bicycle spots. (Assuming I read that correctly.)


On a personal level, I'd love to see stronger government initiatives make driving harder and more expensive. I'd prefer to see driving a car take the place of luxury that I think it ought to be. So long as that is in combination with 24hr easily accessible public transportation, an extensive public design focus on bicycling and walking, and greater publically paid budgets/subsidies for both.

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