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Transportation Nation

DC's Capital Bikeshare Expanding by 30 Percent

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

(photo by Kevin Kovaleski/DDOTDC via flickr)

Washington, D.C. will add 513 bikes to Capital Bikeshare this winter, expanding the nation's largest operating bike share program by more than 30 percent.

The move was planned for the fall, but the Capital Bikeshare's operator, Alta, faced a shortage of equipment.
District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle told Transportation Nation the 54 new stations will add docking spaces for 1,026 bikes. "You want about 50 percent of your docks on the street filled with bikes. That's kind of the ratio that we aim for," he said.

Lisle said there are 1,645 bikes on the streets now at in 2,524 docks, at 191 stations. Some stations have as many as 30 docks, and during special events, far more.

Balance is crucial to a well-functioning bike share program. So central, in fact, that employees of CaBi who shift bikes from location to location to meet demand are called rebalancers.

The proposed locations for the new stations, which you can view on this map (or see the below list) come in a mix of new neighborhoods and existing bike share neighborhoods. “We need to balance the desire to expand into new areas with the need for more docks and bikes in existing areas, particularly downtown, where demand is heaviest,” said Chris Holben, DDOT Project Manager for Capital Bikeshare, in an emailed statement. “Basically, for every ‘expansion’ station we also need more spaces downtown to keep up with demand.”

Capital Bikeshare has been been struggling to keep up with demand. It's expanded to the Virginia suburbs, and one Maryland county just voted to join. All 54 of the new docks will go inside the District.

Despite the popularity, CaBi loses money, although the program operates close to profitability. DDOT foots the bill, and pays Alta to operate the program. The additions mean DDOT will increase what it pays Alta as operator but could potentially earn more if it means more members sign up. DDOT spokesman John Lisle did not share projections for how the expansion might impact potential profitability.

"We are in the process of selling advertising on the stations, which should help on the revenue side," he said. "Installations most likely will be after the inauguration" on January 21st, Lisle said.

Alta is the same company that operates bike share programs in Chicago, and is contracted to launch programs in New York and Portland. Those programs have also suffered from delays.
 
First Round
 
1
18th Street and Wyoming Avenue NW
2
11th Street and M Street NW
3
14th Street and Clifton Street/ Boys and Girls Club NW
4
15th Street and Euclid Street NW
5
20th Street and Virginia Avenue NW
6
Ellington Bridge, SE corner NW
7
Elm Street and 2nd Street (LeDroit Park) NW
8
New Jersey Avenue and R Street NW
9
Hiatt Place between Park and Irving NW
10
13th Street and U Street NW
11
17th Street and Massachusetts Avenue/JHU NW
12
5th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW
13
8th Street and D Street NW
14
11th Street and Florida Avenue NW
15
11th Street and K Street NW
16
L'Enfant Plaza at Independence Ave SW
17
11th Street and F Street NW
18
23rd Street and W.H.O. NW
19
Constitution Ave and 21st Street NW
20
34th Street and Water Street NW
21
Connecticut and Nebraska Avenues NW
22
Connecticut Ave and Albemarle St NW
23
O Street and Wisconsin Ave (east) NW
24
Wisconsin Ave and Fessenden St NW
25
Wisconsin Ave and Veazy Street NW
26
14th Street and Upshur Street NW
27
14th Street and Colorado Avenue NW
28
5th Street and Kennedy Street NW
29
Georgia Ave and Decatur Street NW
30
V Street and Rhode Island Ave at Summit Place NE
31
2nd Street and M Street NE
32
Hamlin Street and 7th Street NE
33
12th Street and Irving Street NE
34
Neal Street and Trinidad Avenue NE
35
Rhode Island Ave Metro entrance NE
36
18th Street and Rhode Island Ave NE
37
8th Street and F Street NE
38
Pennsylvania Ave and 3rd Street SE
39
8th Street and East Capitol Street NE
40
15th Street and East Capitol Street NE
41
Independence and Washington/HHS SW
42
Constitution Ave and 2nd St/DOL NW
43
6th Street and Indiana Avenue NW
44
New Jersey Avenue and D Street SE
45
15th St, F St and Tennessee Ave NE
46
9th Street and M Street SE
47
Tingey Street and 3rd Street SE
48
Deanwood Rec Center and Library NE
49
Burroughs Avenue and 49th Street NE
50
Burroughs Ave and Minnesota Ave NE
51
Minnesota/34th Street and Ely Place SE
52
Alabama Avenue and Stanton Road SE
53
MLK, Jr. Ave and Alabama Ave SE
54
MLK, Jr. Ave and Pleasant Street SE
 
Next Round
 
55
MLK, Jr. Ave and St. E's Gate 5 SE
56
14th Street and Fairmont Street NW
57
18th Street and C Street NW
58
L'Enfant Plaza at Banneker Circle SW
59
G Street at MLK Library NW
60
Wisconsin Ave and Ingomar Street NW
61
Brandywine St and Wisconsin Ave NW
62
Connecticut Ave and Porter Street NW
63
O Street and Wisconsin Ave (west) NW
64
Massachusetts Ave and 48th Street NW
65
Van Buren Street and Rec Center NW
66
Ft Totten Metro Station NW
67
Cedar Street underpass (Takoma) NW
68
Piney Branch Rd and Georgia Ave NW
69
1st Street and K Street NE
70
Rhode Island Ave and Franklin St NE
71
18th Street and Monroe Street NE
72
New Jersey Avenue and L Street NW
73
Haines Point Rec Center SW
74
2nd Street and V Street SW
75
Burroughs and Division Avenues NE
76
Ely Place and Ft. Dupont Ice Rink SE
77
16th Street and Minnesota Ave SE
78
MLK, Jr. Ave and St E's Gate 1 SE

 

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Transportation Nation

Bike Advocates Wonder Where the Completed Met Branch Trail Is

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

More than two years after its southern segment opened, bicycling advocates are asking District and Maryland transportation officials why there has been no progress extending the 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) that is supposed to run between Union Station and Silver Spring, Md.

The southern segment is a completed, off-road bicycle path running straight north from Union Station through Northeast Washington to the Brookland neighborhood, but the remaining three segments are a combination of off-road and “interim routes” that force cyclists to leave the path and crowd onto city streets.

“In a couple of places it actually goes up relatively steep hills. In one place it goes against traffic,” says Shane Farthing, the executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. The group is urging the District Department of Transportation to begin work on the northernmost segment inside the district, from Riggs Road to the Montgomery County line.

“We’d like to see DDOT pushing harder on that,” Farthing says.

But starting work on the MBT’s center segment in D.C. is more complicated: there are outstanding land-use issues that have to be resolved by the National Park Service, DC's transit agency (WMATA), and the DDOT concerning federal property around Fort Totten, where the proposed trail makes a sharp left turn in the vicinity of a trash transfer station.  That is where bicyclists face the thorniest part of their ride as two-way bicycling traffic has to squeeze into one of the “interim trails,” a one-way street for cars.

“For kids and novice cyclists who might want to try this connection, I do think where you are sent into oncoming traffic it is intimidating,” says Farthing, who gave an interview at the noisy intersection of Fort Totten Drive NE and Gallatin Street NE.

“All of the area around Fort Totten is National Park Service land, and there are certain agreements that WMATA has with rights of use to get the Red Line through. So they have to make sure (that) all those different legal agreements on land use work together to allow for the trail access,” he added.

The partial completion of the MBT is not stopping bicyclists from using it as part of their daily commutes or for recreation. There were 11,503 trips on the MBT last year, a nearly three-fold increase from 2010, according to DDOT figures.

Sam Zimbabwe, DDOT’s associate director for policy, planning, and sustainability, said funding and land use issues have delayed progress.

“Some of what we face is a challenge of resources and dealing with multiple trail projects moving forward at the same time,” he says, adding that the Fort Totten area “is probably one of the most challenging sections of the trail in terms of dealing with competing needs of the right of way.”

Zinbabwe countered criticism that the DDOT isn't prioritizing the project.

“We don’t feel that we are [idle]. I think that we continue to try to move it forward,” he says.  Although Farthing says he believes the entire bike trail could be finished in two to three years, Zimbabwe called that goal “optimistic.”

In Montgomery County, where the proposed trail would end at Silver Spring, there are also outstanding conflicts concerning land use.

The group Montgomery Preservation Inc. is unhappy with a plan to run the trail between its building that houses a B&O Railroad museum and Metro’s Red Line tracks.  The plan also calls for building a bicycling bridge over Georgia Avenue that would block views of the historic railroad bridge.  The MBT is part of the county’s master plan and the Montgomery County Council has approved funding.

“The county council, county executive, and bicycling community are all interested in completing the design and construction and opening up this important part of this heavily used trail,” says Bruce Johnston, the chief of MCDOT’s division of transportation engineering.

Although frustrated by the slow progress, Farthing looks forward to a day when commuters can ride their bicycles all the way from Silver Spring to Union Station without squeezing past moving vehicle traffic.

“The ability to take your bike on and off Metro, the ability to mix it with bike share, we’ve got a lot of different ways that you can integrate biking into daily life, but it is important to have the trail so the people can do it safely and easily,” Farthing says.

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