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?
Is 2 > 40?
CycleLife is a bikeshop-cum-gym-cum-smoothie bar that recently opened up on Water St. in lower Georgetown. The owners of the new two floor complex hope to “forever rearrange the landscape of how recreational cycling and physical fitness is viewed.” The company’s press release goes on to explain:
CycleLife is a 2-story, 12,000 square foot facility on the shore of the Potomac River in the historic Georgetown area of Washington D.C. which brings under one roof the most complete array of services, equipment and amenities ever put together, and delivers them to cyclists with a level of customer service that is closer to a luxury European resort than a Main Street bike store.
In all honesty, GM is a little confused exactly what niche CycleLife fits into. It appears not to compete directly with the traditional bike stores like Big Wheel Bikes or Revolution Cycles, nor is it a traditional gym. Regardless, the addition of a new bike store lifestyle center is a good thing.
But there’s more.
The owners of CycleLife have requested from the District that the two parking spots directly in front of their store be removed so that they can install bike racks instead. They plan to provide up to forty spots for bikes. Additionally, they plan to provide video surveillance of the bike racks and to provide basic bike maintenance services. DDOT is currently reviewing their application. On December 2, the owners presented their application to the ANC and a measure supporting their application was approved unanimously.
The Georgetown Metropolitan strongly supports this application. Firstly, it’s a simple matter of mathematics. Forty is greater than two. Granted, there are places throughout Georgetown to which a bike can be locked; however, this is merely an adequate situation. For too long bike riders and pedestrians have had to settle for merely adequate if it means a slight marginal gain to car drivers. Secondly, there are plenty of parking garages in that vicinity. There are no less than five garages on K/Water St. alone. There is no parking shortage in Georgetown, there is only a cheap parking shortage. Substituting excellent bike parking that can serve up to forty people for two cheap parking spots is a no brainer.
Finally, this shop is located pretty much on the south terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail. If its facilities can encourage more people who live along the CCT to ride a bike to Georgetown instead of driving, that’ll make up for two paring spots in no time.