We Need More Bikeshare Stations, But Where?

Photo by DDOT.

Capital Bikeshare has been a hit since it started September 20th. There are 4,480 members and a total of 52,000 trips have been taken. In October alone, there were 36,762 trips using over a million minutes of bikeshare time (that’s an average of about 27 minutes a ride). Those are really great numbers.

They’re so great that DDOT is already announcing that it’s going ahead with its first expansion. Twenty additional stations will be added next spring. Certainly DDOT is going to be hearing from a lot of sides where to put those stations, but GM believes that at least one of them should go to east Georgetown. Right now there’s a bit of a hole in coverage for east Georgetown, and putting a station there would benefit residents and neighbors greatly.

But where exactly? GM’s got a couple of ideas:

Rose Park:

Rose Park has a bunch of strengths. It sits between M and P, which are the two primary routes that people take from central DC to Georgetown. It has nice paths which connect down to Rock Creek Park. It’s a popular destination for people visiting the neighborhood either to sunbathe or play tennis, etc. And finally, while most of it is federally owned (which makes it tough if not impossible right now to put a station there) a small section near the tennis courts is city-owned.

M and Pennsylvania:

At the intersection of M and Pennsylvania is a pocket park with plenty of space for a station. This would be a great location since it sits at one of the main “entrances” to Georgetown. Moreover, the city is planning to paint bike lanes on M St. up to about this point. The downside? The pocket park is owned by the federal government. While the city has obtained ownership of a lot of pocket parks like this from the federal government, it takes time. (Sidenote: Remember when they used to erect a fake Christmas tree there? What happened to that? GM remembers the last year it was up, maybe 2007 or so. It went up one day, then about 3 days later it was gone and there hasn’t been one there since.)

Montrose Park:

Full disclosure: GM lives right next to Montrose Park, so he’s obviously biased in favor of putting a station there. But come on! It would be a great location! Over the last five years or so, Montrose Park has gone from Georgetown’s best kept secret to Georgetown worst kept secret. The word is out and people love coming to Montrose Park. And that’s great (except for the dude who brings his guitar and loudly sings these really awful songs. Man, shut up.) The problem is that too many of them drive. Putting a station here would encourage people to bike instead.

Montrose Park is entirely owned by the federal Government. So placing a station there means going through NPS, which DDOT has said it is working towards. Unfortunately, NPS is encumbered with a lot of vendor contracts that restrict the ability of other entities providing similar services on NPS land. We’ll see how that plays out.

The sidewalks near Montrose Park are probably too small to host a station and GM can assure you that the neighbors would be hysterical about removing a parking space or two for the station (even if it meant fewer cars during peak hours). But there is a solution: the city could insist the Argos Group allow a station at the front of the Hurt Home. If that doesn’t work, it could instead install a station in the courtyard of the Jackson School. While it is currently rented out to artists for studios, it is still a city property. GM would think artists would love the idea.

So what do you think (yes GM would take stations at all three locations, but we need to prioritize, if you could have one, where would it be?):

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19 Comments

Filed under Bikes

19 responses to “We Need More Bikeshare Stations, But Where?

  1. I’d go for Rose Park, out of the options.

    In the future expansion (probably after the 20-station spring expansion), I’d also pull for something in the mid-Wisconsin Ave stretch, maybe by Marvelous Market.

    Another option near Montrose Park that could be easier to get through the neighborhood is putting a station at the Georgetown Public Library. (I realize this is somewhat less convenient than Hurt/Jackson for East Georgetown folks, but it should be much easier to get installed).

  2. Ken Archer

    Volta Park parking lot.

    The parking lot is never full with Rec Center employees, and is often illegally by non-DCPR employees. Place a CaBi station in the 2 parking spots closest to the basketball courts.

    Ken Archer

  3. The dude who brings his guitar and loudly sings these really awful songs

    >: -(

  4. sophia

    North old town & old town Alexandria. The Mt Vernon trail is a popular bike path.

  5. Ed

    Does anyone know what happened to the 11 bikes in their stand @ 25th & PA Ave.? The stand remains but no bikes for days. My guess is that they were stolen by “teenagers” using stolen credit cards.

  6. @Ed:
    It’s possible they’re always empty when you are in that area because they’re being used by Trader Joes shoppers to bring home their groceries.

    The bikes are not “attached” to a permanent station, so even if 11 bikes were stolen, it wouldn’t show up in one station. Instead, if a station is often empty, it means that more people ride bikes from that station than to it.

    According to this realtime map, there are currently 9 bikes at that station, and there’s been a decent amount of activity in the last 24 hours. (Click on the station and it will bring up an activity graph).

    http://oobrien.com/vis/bikes/?city=washingtondc

  7. jim

    I voted no to more bikes. These things are simply a hand-out to people who are too lazy or can’t afford their own bike. And the last thing we need in Georgetown are more things clogging the roads, which are already impossible to navigate as it is.

  8. Ken Archer

    @jim

    The government “hand-out” per driver in the form of road construction and maintenance, not to mention police, EMT and so on, dwarfs the CaBi “hand-out” per biker.

    And these bikers would often otherwise drive, which would clog the road far more than bikes. Drivers should be the main advocates for CaBi because it takes cars off the road!

  9. Old Georgetowner

    Bicyclists are a nuisance.

    GU bicyclists are a menace.

    Georgetown needs fewer cars, but bicycles won’t accomplish that. They won’t make a dent. Instead, they take our already over-crowded streets and, by adding careless young people, make traffic much, much worse.

    (BTW, when were the traffic laws — such as stopping at intersections — repealed for bicyclists? Next time I see a GU student blasting through an intersection while checking his text messages …)

  10. Judy

    How about a new Bikeshare rack on the grounds or near the redeveloped Georgetown branch library? That is city property and folks who do not want to go all the way down the hill to K but need to go up Wisconsin to Tenleytown, etc could grab one there?

  11. Phil

    Judy, for reference, there is a bike station in front of the British School building, a few blocks up Wisconsin from the Library.

  12. Anonymous

    If street overcrowding is a concern, then close streets to vehicular traffic and only allow bikes and buses, or at least take away vehicle lanes to widen sidewalks and add dedicated bus and bike lanes to reduce the chances of vehicular conflict. Cars just take up too much space for one person to make sense in an urban environment.

    In the meantime, I’ll just laugh at the cars I pass riding on a bike I didn’t have to pay for and maintain. I’ll stop at red lights too, and I’ll still beat them to my destination.

  13. asuka

    @Ken Archer

    Roads facilitate the great majority of commerce, which in turn is taxed by the government at many different stages (gas tax, business tax, sales tax, etc.). I don’t know if the taxes on all that commercial activity pays for all the services that go into road construction and maintenance, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t. Do you have some data that suggests otherwise?

    As for CaBi, it seems more of a fashion statement than a real transportation solution. “Paris has it, and so do we! We’re so European!” The only way to make a real dent in Georgetown congestion is a Metro station.

  14. dynaryder

    @Old Georgetowner: when was the law banning driving with handheld cell phones repealed? Or the law for giving peds the right of way in crosswalks? Or the law preventing the blocking of intersections?

    Sit at the intersection of M & Wisc some rush hour. Having a couple of cops there for just one week would result in enough citations to cover the Districts annual budget. Oh and BTW, last time I checked it was the cars who were killing peds and cyclists, not the other way around.

  15. dynaryder

    @asuka: yes, part of CaBi is a fashion statement. People use them to tool around G’town(and the city). But it is very useful for in-town Metro riders. I’m two blocks from a CaBi station, and there are stations near both closest Metro stations. Instead of a 15min walk, I grab a bike and take a 5min ride. I could do this with my own bike, but then I’d have to worry about it getting stolen/damaged while it was locked up at the Metro. I don’t have to worry about the CaBi bikes. They’re also good for going out with friends. I can ride one down town, get drunk, and cab home without having to retrieve my bike the next day, or worry about something happening to it.

  16. Ben

    @Old Georgetowner:

    Right, because motorists always obey the traffic laws. Drivers never text/talk on their cell phones, always use their turn signal, and never run red lights nor speed.

    Bicycling reduces congestion. Look at this photo at the amount of space required for the same number of people biking vs driving vs taking the bus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nblloyd/3399179623/ . In the space required for one vehicle, you can accomodate 3-4 bicyclists. Biking doesn’t require any on-street parking and bikers don’t create even more local congestion by cruising the streets looking for parking. Much traffic is created by vehicles breaking down or getting in minor accidents, which can greatly reduce the capacity of a road. This is not an issue at all with biking.

  17. asuka

    I don’t deny that for some people, CaBi is useful in certain situations (like the ones you listed). But to claim that its making a significant dent in city congestion is silly. The people who are using CaBi are people who would be walking or riding anyway, not car converts who suddenly chose to alter their lifestyle because they can rent a bicycle. I’m not advocating CaBi’s end; its not doing any harm (particularly if they can find some sponsors to pick up the cost of its subsidy), and its certainly making a small segment of DC’s population feel great about themselves. But to reduce traffic, you’re going to have to change behavior on a large scale and in a meaningful way, and CaBi isn’t going to do that. The only way to end DC’s congestion is to expand Metro ubiquity to New York-like levels.

  18. dynaryder

    But CaBi could reduce Metro congestion, as well as serve as a ‘gateway drug’ into cycling. About a year and a half ago I did a fair amount of Metro commuting, and there are a fair number of people who commute from say, Cleve Park to downtown. With CaBi you could just hop on a bike near the Metro station and ride it downtown and drop it off. You wouldn’t be waiting on a train, and as long as it doesn’t take you more than 30min, the only cost would be $75 a year. That’s a huge bargain compaired to what you’d spend on Metro. And if you didn’t want to ride in the rain and snow, then you can still default back to Metro.

    Same deal for the people commuting by car in the city. $75 a year, no doing maintenance or paying for replacement parts, no worries about where to lock up, can default to the car in bad weather, and if you decide it’s not for you, then you’re not out much money. The only real issue is getting people out of the cars and trains and trying the bikes.

  19. asuka

    Why would you want to get people out of trains?
    The average 50-year-old office worker who has to wear a suit to work is not going to ride a bike 5 miles down Connecticut avenue in February. Its just not practical. That same person, however, will have no qualms about taking the Metro, as long as its conveniently located. The expansion of Metro is the answer to DC’s congestion problem. Bikes, for the most part, are simply not practical for most people under most conditions, and I say that as an avid cyclist who does most of his commuting on a bike, but who also understands the great limitations bike commuting poses for average Washingtonians.

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