SmartBike Set to Expand to Georgetown, But by How Much?

As reported by WTOP, SmartBike DC, the bike-sharing program started last year by the District Department of Transportation, is planning to spend $3 million from the stimulus package to dramatically expand the number of stations and bikes they offer. According to the WTOP report, the city is set to quintuple the number of stations from 10 to 50 and the number of bikes from 100 to 500. Georgetown is set to benefit from this expansion, but by how much and could it be more?

GM’s been a SmartBike member for a while now, and it’s been a convenient way to get from Dupont to U St. or 14th St. But up till now there hasn’t been a Georgetown station, so the utility to our neighborhood is somewhat limited. Luckily, Georgetown has long been scheduled to receive a station in the second phase of SmartBike expansion. By spring we’re supposed to have our own station somewhere on Wisconsin between M and K (DDOT never got back to GM to confirm exactly where it’s going. As of a recent walk through that area, there is still no evidence of construction). Hopefully with the infusion of Obamabucks, our station will meet its springtime appointment.

So far DDOT has been driven by the idea that the stations shouldn’t be too far away from another station. This encourages more circulation between the stations and increases the utility. Check out how the stations are laid out right now:

SmartBike Stations

With the exception of the stations up on U St. and Shaw, the stations are relatively densely located. Thus, when DDOT sits down to put 40 more pins on this map, the inclination will be to keep them close to other pins. What that means is that if you live near a station, you’re probably about to live near a few more.

So given that, why should Georgetown be limited to just one station? Frankly, a station way down on K st. doesn’t do a whole lot of good for GM and others who live in upper Georgetown. Wouldn’t putting a station up by Montrose Park or Social Safeway make a lot of sense?

OK, that’s a self-serving recommendation. Alternatively wouldn’t it be a no-brainer to put a station at the entrance to the Georgetown campus? This would probably be very popular with G.U. students as they would be able to hop on a bike and quickly ride over to the shops at the center of Georgetown or get to and from the Metro without waiting for the GUTS bus.

In addition to the planned Georgetown station on Wisconsin, stations at Union Station, Columbia Heights, and Capitol Hill are likely to be rolled out during this expansion. That leaves about 35 stations still up in the air. So DDOT, can you throw us a few more? We promise we’ll finally build that Apple Store!



Filed under Transit

8 responses to “SmartBike Set to Expand to Georgetown, But by How Much?

  1. Ben

    Would it still be possible for the ANC to request a SmartBike station at the Social Safeway as a condition of its approval. I read in the Georgetown Current that one of the ANC Commissioners was able to get Safeway to agree to grocery deliver during the construction period for certain residents in Georgetown and Burleigh. I asked one of the ANC Commissioners in ANC 3C about the possibility of getting a SmartBike station on the property of the new Giant further up Wisconsin Avenue but the proposal was ultimately dropped. Perhaps DDOT can work with developers as part of a larger Transportation Demand Management program to reduce parking requirements if a developer agrees to put a SmartBike station on their property. Such incentives already exist for ZipCar.

  2. GM

    I think that’s a good idea, but that ship has already sailed. Plus, it’s not really up to Safeway whether to install a station or not. DDOT is not a model of transparency (see: the Circulator expansion, which still has not been officially detailed even though it’s set to launch in a matter of weeks) so it’s tough to know what they’re thinking about wrt to the SmartBike stations. I couldn’t even get an explanation where exactly the first Georgetown station is even going to be.

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