Capital Bikeshare

Transportation Nation

For Businesses, Capital Bikeshare Good For The Bottom Line

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Stores near bike share stations in D.C. are seeing a quantifiable bump in business, says one planner.

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Transportation Nation

Capital Bikeshare Turns Three, Expands Into Maryland

Friday, September 20, 2013


It's been three years since Capital Bikeshare's iconic—if bulky and somewhat slow-rolling—red bikes started appearing in the region, and the bike-sharing system is continuing its expansion in D.C. and the surrounding areas.

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Transportation Nation

Maryland Getting Ready for Capital Bikeshare Expansion

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

With Capital Bikeshare a month away from expanding into Maryland, county leaders are still trying to ready roads for an expected increase in bicyclists.

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Transportation Nation

Maryland Officials Pitch Capital Bikeshare Expansion To Residents

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All this week Montgomery County officials are speaking with residents about the upcoming expansion of the D.C.'s bike share program into the county later this summer.

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Transportation Nation

Feds Investigating Alta Bicycle Share Over DC Pay Dispute

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


After Capital Bikeshare employees complained about unfair wage practices, the Department of Labor opened an investigation into Alta Bicycle Share -- the company operating bike share systems in New York, D.C., and Boston.

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Transportation Nation

Maryland Gets In On Capital Bikeshare

Monday, June 10, 2013

Capital Bikeshare has been a huge hit for commuters and cyclists in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, but up until now, the Maryland suburbs have largely been left out of the popular bike-sharing program.

By this summer, that will change.

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Transportation Nation

Within First Week, NY's Bike Share Memberships Top Washington's

Friday, May 31, 2013


Four days into its operation, New York City's Citi Bike has more members than Capital Bikeshare, which has been in operation for two years, and until this week, was the largest bike sharing program in the country. That distinction now belongs to NYC. Despite software problems, protests, and glitches -- some of them well-publicized, Citi Bike's membership has been rising at a clip of about 2,000 members a day.

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Transportation Nation

Capital Bikeshare's Data Dive: Users Drive Less, Save Money, and Don't Mirror D.C.'s Demographics

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A new report on D.C.'s bike share system -- currently the largest in the country (at least until Memorial Day) -- teases out some user statistics in a some just-released data. Users patronize businesses near bike share stations, they save $16 a week in travel costs, and they are, on average, "considerably younger, more likely to be male, Caucasian, and highly educated, and slightly less affluent" compared to all commuters in the D.C. region.

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Transportation Nation

Your Guide to Biking to the Inauguration

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

(photo by Martin DiCaro)

No matter your mode of transportation to the second inauguration of President Barack Obama you will have to do a lot of walking, as D.C.'s police force will establish a large “hard perimeter” around the parade route closed to vehicular travel and bicycles. (A map of the restricted area is here.)

Before you begin to hoof it, however, the easiest way to get close to the National Mall may be on a bicycle.  Bicycling advocates expect thousands of people to pedal into downtown D.C. on Monday morning, and DDOT is taking steps to accommodate them.

For starters, there will be a large bicycle parking area established at 16th Street and I Street NW starting at 7 a.m.

“That’s going to hold about 700 bikes but you are going to want to bring your own lock.  It’s not valet parking but it will be supervised all day,” said DDOT planner Jim Sebastian.

As for Capital Bikeshare, there will be two special docking areas – corrals – that will accept an unlimited number of bikes: at Farragut Square in Northwest and at the USDA building at 12th Street and Independence Avenue Southwest.

“It’s essentially a bottomless station where you can come down and not have to worry about there being an empty space,” Sebastian said.

Starting today six bike share stations along the inaugural parade route will be temporarily dismantled. To make up for the closed stations, CaBi will open a temporary corral to accept bikes. You can see the list here.

For bicycling advocates, Monday presents an opportunity to show how much progress D.C. has made in becoming a bike-friendly city.

"This is going to be the first year that we have bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue during an inauguration, so President Obama is going to be riding down Pennsylvania Ave. and those bike lanes are going to be in all those photos,” said Greg Billing at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “This is a great time for us to show off to the nation that D.C. is a bike city and that we are setting an example that other cities around the country can follow.”

Remember the kerfuffle over bike share stations on the National Mall? Take a trip to March 2012 here.

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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
18th Street and Wyoming Avenue NW
11th Street and M Street NW
14th Street and Clifton Street/ Boys and Girls Club NW
15th Street and Euclid Street NW
20th Street and Virginia Avenue NW
Ellington Bridge, SE corner NW
Elm Street and 2nd Street (LeDroit Park) NW
New Jersey Avenue and R Street NW
Hiatt Place between Park and Irving NW
13th Street and U Street NW
17th Street and Massachusetts Avenue/JHU NW
5th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW
8th Street and D Street NW
11th Street and Florida Avenue NW
11th Street and K Street NW
L'Enfant Plaza at Independence Ave SW
11th Street and F Street NW
23rd Street and W.H.O. NW
Constitution Ave and 21st Street NW
34th Street and Water Street NW
Connecticut and Nebraska Avenues NW
Connecticut Ave and Albemarle St NW
O Street and Wisconsin Ave (east) NW
Wisconsin Ave and Fessenden St NW
Wisconsin Ave and Veazy Street NW
14th Street and Upshur Street NW
14th Street and Colorado Avenue NW
5th Street and Kennedy Street NW
Georgia Ave and Decatur Street NW
V Street and Rhode Island Ave at Summit Place NE
2nd Street and M Street NE
Hamlin Street and 7th Street NE
12th Street and Irving Street NE
Neal Street and Trinidad Avenue NE
Rhode Island Ave Metro entrance NE
18th Street and Rhode Island Ave NE
8th Street and F Street NE
Pennsylvania Ave and 3rd Street SE
8th Street and East Capitol Street NE
15th Street and East Capitol Street NE
Independence and Washington/HHS SW
Constitution Ave and 2nd St/DOL NW
6th Street and Indiana Avenue NW
New Jersey Avenue and D Street SE
15th St, F St and Tennessee Ave NE
9th Street and M Street SE
Tingey Street and 3rd Street SE
Deanwood Rec Center and Library NE
Burroughs Avenue and 49th Street NE
Burroughs Ave and Minnesota Ave NE
Minnesota/34th Street and Ely Place SE
Alabama Avenue and Stanton Road SE
MLK, Jr. Ave and Alabama Ave SE
MLK, Jr. Ave and Pleasant Street SE
Next Round
MLK, Jr. Ave and St. E's Gate 5 SE
14th Street and Fairmont Street NW
18th Street and C Street NW
L'Enfant Plaza at Banneker Circle SW
G Street at MLK Library NW
Wisconsin Ave and Ingomar Street NW
Brandywine St and Wisconsin Ave NW
Connecticut Ave and Porter Street NW
O Street and Wisconsin Ave (west) NW
Massachusetts Ave and 48th Street NW
Van Buren Street and Rec Center NW
Ft Totten Metro Station NW
Cedar Street underpass (Takoma) NW
Piney Branch Rd and Georgia Ave NW
1st Street and K Street NE
Rhode Island Ave and Franklin St NE
18th Street and Monroe Street NE
New Jersey Avenue and L Street NW
Haines Point Rec Center SW
2nd Street and V Street SW
Burroughs and Division Avenues NE
Ely Place and Ft. Dupont Ice Rink SE
16th Street and Minnesota Ave SE
MLK, Jr. Ave and St E's Gate 1 SE


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Transportation Nation

Capital Bikeshare Expansion Halted By Parts Problems

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

(photo by James Schwartz via flickr)

(Armando Trull - Washington, D.C., WAMU) A lack of parts is putting the brakes on the expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program in the District, according to a District Department of Transportation official.

Existing plans to add 54 bike share stations this fall will likely come up short, department spokesman John Lisle told The Washington Post, because they have not been able to get all the needed equipment from a supplier.

The system, launched in 2010 in the District, Arlington and Alexandria, has about 175 stations. It has struggled to keep up with demand at times.

The expansion delay has also raised questions about whether supplier Alta Bicycle Share can keep up with growing demand from cities for bike share programs. New York City's bike share program, which will also be operated by Alta, has been delayed due to software problems, as has Chicago's program.  Meanwhile, Alta picked up another big contract earlier this year: it will be the vendor for Portland's bike share. And in the D.C. region, Maryland's Montgomery County unanimously approved measures to expand bike share, most of which is expected to integrate with Capital Bikeshare.

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Transportation Nation

Nine Percent of All D.C. Bike Share Bikes at Washington Nationals Stadium For Playoff Game

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Capitol Bikeshare "corral" at Nationals Stadium earlier today.

Playoff baseball pulls in the fans. In Washington, D.C., it's also pulling in the Capital Bikeshare bikes.

According to a rough count from the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation, about nine percent of the city's bike share bikes are Nationals Park for game three of the National League East division series, according to John Lisle, a DDOT spokesman.

"We have about 1,600 bikes in the system, and best I can count, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 that are docked there [at the stadium]. Or were docked there," Lisle said. "That's a pretty good showing."

Capital Bikeshare, which is run by DDOT, has set up a staffed bike corral at the stadium for the overflow. "So if someone brings a bike there, even if the station is full, they put can put it in the corral," Lisle said. "It's a way to add capacity and it's relatively easy to do. " So there is no limit to the number of people who can come by bike share, Lisle said.

During the regular season, Capital Bikeshare clears out the docking stations before games and monitors them closely. If the docks fill up, then Capital Bikeshare "rebalances" them -- the technical term for 'takes the bikes to by van to another dock somewhere else.'

After today's game ends, staffers will keep the docks full with those corralled bikes so fans can check out a bike as usual.

But, Lisle cautions, "after the game there is no guarantee you will have a bike share bike to go home, but we are not removing any of the bikes."

So: Nats fans who chose bike to cheer on their team may want to consider checking out in the top of the ninth to ensure a two-wheeled ride home.

The bike corral will be in place at all Nationals home games during the playoffs.

The bike share corral at Nationals Park, pictured earlier with just 102 bikes. Photo: DDOT

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Transportation Nation

Maryland County Debates Joining DC's Bike Share Program

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

(photo by Kevin Kovaleski/DDOTDC via flickr)

(Armando Trull and Matt Bush -- Washington DC, WAMU) Maryland's Montgomery County is considering a $2.1 million plan to expand Capital Bikeshare to more than 48 locations, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Friendship Heights and the NIH/Medical Center Metro station. Funding for the 350 bikes and their respective stations will be a combination of money from state grants, the county and the private sector.

Two bills were introduced in the County Council today to encourage bikesharing. One would eliminate a zoning requirement needed to set up a bikesharing station, while another would allow county transportation money to be spent on such stations.

"Twenty-nine stations in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Medical Center — all the places where you would most want to provide the kind of biking community integrated with the District of Columbia," said Council President Roger Berliner. He said both moves would encourage bikesharing with businesses and their workers.

While passage of both bills wouldn't necessarily mean that D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare would be coming to Montgomery County, Berliner says whatever bikesharing program there is in Montgomery County would have to be integrated with the city's.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen warned though that Montgomery County has a long way to go in updating its roads to ensure bikers are safe.

"There are many, many accidents that are occurring on a regular basis," said Floreen. "Whether or not they reported. I'm going to a lot of hospitals to visit folks."

Floreen added the county can take its cues from D.C. on this issue as well, pointing to how the city increased the number of bike lanes and bike markings on major roads by turning some of them into one-way streets for vehicle traffic. Public hearings on both bills will take place late next month before the council.

The county has already received federal money to purchase 200 additional bikeshare bikes in the Rockville and Shady Grove Life Sciences Center. The bike rental program -- the most popular in the country -- already operates in the District and Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in Virginia.


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Transportation Nation

DC Bike Shop Owners See Big Returns From Bike Share

Friday, June 29, 2012

(photo by Martin Di Caro)

Listen to the audio version of this story here.

When the District of Columbia and Arlington County partnered to establish a bike sharing system in 2010, offering more than 1,500 bikes at 165 stations, local bike shops got a little nervous. Why would someone buy a new bike for hundreds of dollars when they could hop on a bike any time they wished for just $50 per year?

It turns out their fears were for naught. Bike store owners say bike sharing is actually helping their businesses by fueling an explosion in bicycling enthusiasm. Moreover, bike shops say they are witnessing a culture change in their neighborhoods as more people leave their cars at home and hop on two-wheelers.

"We've seen all kinds of people out on the streets," says Erik Kugler, the owner of Bicycle Space, a new shop on 7th Street NW. "Streets are becoming safer. Drivers are becoming more courteous. The city is becoming a much more fun place."

Kugler says customers are buying bikes because of Capital Bikeshare.

"We've had plenty of those people," he says. "In fact, when you contacted me about the story I put it out on Facebook and Twitter, and we were just inundated with responses from people who said, 'I was a Bikeshare member, and it encouraged me to get a bike.'"

Kugler's and other bicycle users' Twitter posts about this story produced a flood of responses in just a few minutes. Jon Renaut tweeted that he hadn't ridden a bike more than a half dozen times since high school, tried Capital Bikeshare, and then bought his own bike. He says he's ridden about 1,500 miles already, just this year.

Laurance Alvarado tweeted, "bought a #Brompton after a great experience with @Bikeshare." Daniel Colbert tweeted, "I did exactly that. Loved Bikeshare. Bought a bike as a direct result."

Bikeshare proved to be a gateway drug that fueled an addiction. After bike sharing first, Kristin Frontiera, 25, bought her own bike online for $40.

"Bikeshare has gotten really, really popular," says Frontiera, a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer. "I'm so happy for it, but if I need to leave my house at 8:30 in the morning with the rest of America and go to downtown with the rest of America, there's no way. There aren't bikes."

Bike share program leads to more bike owners

Indeed, Bikeshare's shortcomings have led its users to buy bikes of their own. The cycles are a bit heavy and slow. On busy days there may be no bikes available at a nearby dock, or no open slots to return a bike, forcing a user to find another dock.

"When I started riding Bikeshare, there was a phase when I'd see another person and we'd say hey, Bikeshare! This is awesome!" says Frontiera. "Now I see them and I feel like I need to pedal faster to get to the dock before them."

Kugler is seeing more customers, and more significant changes, in his neighborhood that he credits to the rising popularity of bicycling.

"AAA estimates that people spend on the average [$9,000 per year] related to their car," he says. "So if you can build an area where people don't need to spend that money every year, that money becomes available for the local economy. You see new restaurants open up, cafes, niche shops, and small businesses like ours. We employ 18 people here."

The story is the same at City Bikes in Adams Morgan, which has been in business for 25 years.

"You are getting more and more people that loved using Bikeshare and now are saying wait, I want something that's my own," says marketing manager Ben West. "[They] want something that is custom designed for the kind of riding [they are] doing."

West says bicycling is achieving "critical mass" in Washington. There are enough bicyclists on the streets that motorists have to be courteous and accommodate them, even where there are no bike lanes.

"In some areas of the city, there is almost a traffic jam of cyclists," says West.

Bicycle community grows in D.C.

Any worries that Capital Bikeshare would ruin business for neighborhood bike shops are long gone. There were similar concerns in Paris when the Vélib rental system started. However, a 2008 report in Bike Europe, a website for bike professionals, cited a 39 percent growth in sales of city bikes possibly attributed to the huge popularity of the Vélib system.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association endorses Bikeshare's program for that reason.

"We often hear that once Capital Bikeshare members find the joys of bicycling in the D.C., they go on to purchase a personal bike," says Gregory Billing, the association's outreach and advocacy coordinator. "Local bike shops have seen both an increase in sales of bikes and also repairs of old bikes. Owners and managers report seeing an increase of old bikes being pulled out of the basements or garages, brought to the shop for a tune-up and to be outfitted with a cargo rack for commuting."

Russell Martin, 25, enjoyed bike sharing so much that he bought three bikes of his own at local bike shops. "I ended up selling my car and buying a couple more bicycles, and I haven't looked back," says Martin, a sales manager at a boutique hotel who commutes on a bicycle daily.

He fell in love with bicycling again, but the limitations of Bikeshare also persuaded him to get his own cycle.

"I actually had a problem last night where every station within a mile of where I want to go was full, and there was nowhere to dock the bike," he says.

Annah Walters, 25, says she wanted her own bicycle only after trying Bikeshare first.

"One of the great things about Bikeshare is it's sort of a gateway drug to biking. You don't have to make a several hundred dollar investment," says Walters, who works at Habitat for Humanity. But Walters didn't have to make the big purchase when it came time to get her own two-wheeler. Her boyfriend bought her one for her birthday.

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Transportation Nation

Washington Hits Top-Ten Bicycling Ranking -- Big Cities Climb on List

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bikeshare users in Washington, DC (Photo: Tara Bahrampour)

A report in Bicycling Magazine ranking the top 50 most bike-friendly cities places Washington fourth. In the magazine's last ranking, in 2010, Washington didn't break the top ten.

See the entire list 2012 here.

Then, as now, the list was dominated with more predictable cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Boulder, Madison, and Eugene. Seattle and San Francisco also made both lists.

But the big story of  this year's  list is the prominence of big cities --like Chicago and New York, which, like Washington,  both climbed in ranking.

Most of the changes that the magazine credits in Washington, DC -- including bike share and more bike lanes -- began under DC's former transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, who now has that job in Chicago (up to #5 from #10 on the last Bicycling Magazine list.)

The magazine examined cities with populations of at least 95,000 for "a robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture."

The magazine reports that bicycle ridership increased in Washington "80 percent from 2007 to 2010."  The capital city's bike share program is growing in popularity and recently clocked its two millionth ride.


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Transportation Nation

DC's Transportation Network -- How Does it Compare to the rest of the World?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Montgomery County officials are considering building a bike center that can accommodate a large number of cycling commuters. (Photo by Marin Di Caro)

(Washington, DC -- WAMU) Compared to major U.S. metropolitan areas, Washington D.C. is one of the best when it comes to the choices available to commuters who want to avoid the congestion of the Beltway. We have the Metro, buses, and a new, popular bike share program. Compared to other cities across the globe, however, Washington is somewhat lacking in transportation innovation, but advocates and government officials say that is slowly changing.

Benefits of bus rapid transit systems

From the Silver Spring Metro station, Michael Replogle and a WAMU reporter traveled downtown via Georgia Avenue, one of the most congested north/south roadways in the city, one that Replogle would like to see transformed into a more efficient facility.

Replogle is global policy director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy,  an organization that promotes sustainable transportation programs around the world.

"This could be a bus rapid transit corridor," he says. "You might have buses running down the center of the street and basically getting rid of the parked cars on the sides."

George Avenue has three lanes running in each direction. The outside lane both ways is often taken by parked cars. Buses regularly get stuck behind turning vehicles. A bus rapid transit, or BRT, system, would free buses to travel down exclusive bus lanes in the center of the road with the traffic lights programmed to hit green block after block.

"Bus rapid transit in Guangzhou, China is carrying 850,000 passengers a day on a single 20-mile corridor moving 28,000 passengers per hour per direction, which is more than any of the Metro lines here in Washington, D.C.," says Replogle. "They were able to build that system at a cost of less than $10 million a mile, which compares to several hundred million dollars a mile for building Metro."

BRT is being considered in Montgomery County, where County Councilman Marc Elrich has given several presentations on its benefits.

"Ideally, we would like to add more rail lines but at $300 to $400 million per mile for heavy rail like Metro and $50 to $100 million per mile of light rail, we cannot afford to build much of a next generation public transportation system," says Councilman Elrich in a statement posted to his website. "At $10 to $25 million per mile, bus rapid transit (BRT) is less expensive and allows for more interconnecting routes."

Bus rapid transit systems exist in some American cities, including Eugene, Ore. and Cleveland, Ohio. "People could have a one-seat ride from the mid- or upper Montgomery County all the way into the city," says Replogle. "There is now a growing realization that we can't afford to build Metro to everywhere in the region. We're struggling to come up with money to finance things like the Purple Line."

The benefits of BRT would extend beyond faster commutes. The improvements brought with better transportation systems extend to the design of neighborhoods (more mixed-used development closer to transportation hubs; fewer large car parking lots) to the local economy.

"For every dollar Americans spend to buy gasoline to drive their car to work something like 85 cents of that dollar leaves the local and regional economy and goes to other countries," he says. "For that same dollar to be spent on bus fare, 80 percent of that goes into paying the wages for the driver."

Metro has opened a new bicycle parking area at the College Park station with plans to open two more bike-and-ride facilities next summer. Construction is expected to be completed later this year at a new transit center in Silver Spring where there will be three bus services, shuttles, Kiss and Ride access, and a new transit store where commuters can buy fare cards and maps.

Replogle says Silver Spring's new transit center will be lacking in one area: it won't have a bike center.

"Unfortunately that is a plan that has long been thwarted," says Replogle.

Montgomery County officials say they are considering building a bike center that can accommodate a large number of cycling commuters at a nearby park, but that plan is in the early stages.

"I think this is something that may yet turn around. There are certainly some in the agencies who are fighting to get the project back on track," says Replogle, who says other cities have extensive bicycling facilities and road infrastructure to make bicycling safe.

"In a number of places in Europe like Münster and Bonn, in Amsterdam, in Switzerland, in Scandinavia, you find bicycle parking halls that store thousands of bicycles at the station entrances," says Replogle. "Hangzhou, China has 50,000 public bikes available throughout the city so that people can take a bicycle from one place and leave it at another place."

Union Station has the only large bicycle parking area in the city--a glass building that can hold about 100 bikes per day with around-the-clock security. Washington's Capital Bikeshare program has about 1,500 bicycles.

"In the Netherlands there are several towns where there are bike stations that hold over 6,000 bicycles," says Replogle.

Bus Rapid Transit in Guangzhou, China

A model of a sustainable transportation system

You don't have to look across the ocean for examples of sustainable transportation systems on a large scale. Look across the Potomac River at Arlington County, considered a regional leader in transit innovation.

"The most important things that Arlington has done right start with land use and the decisions that were made by my predecessors beginning in the '60s and '70s to invest in the Metro system in the way that no one outside of D.C. did," says Chris Zimmerman, a member of the Arlington County Board with 20 years of expertise in sustainable transit.

The county is a partner in the Capital Bikeshare program and has worked to design the areas around the Rosslyn Metro Station, to name one, to be more bike-friendly.

"We were the first to put bike lanes on the street and we have about 30 miles of bike lanes. We also have bike trails that connect to them," said Zimmerman in an interview outside the Rosslyn station. "We created bike parking. A lot of the work this shop does is to make sure people have provisions in their buildings. I can bike to work because there is a place to put my bike in the building."

Arlington provides an array of resources online, from websites to help commuters who choose to walk or bicycle, to its Mobility Lab (  The county also runs several one-stop shops for commuters called Commuter Stores, where people can access transit schedules, bike/walk maps, and car and van pool information, as well as purchase fares.

Zimmerman says the county's efforts to get people moving more efficiently have garnered a lot of attention with the United States, but he looks to other continents, too.

"I went to Copenhagen about 11 years ago on a study tour," he says. "I saw what rush hour looked like in a place in which a third of the people were moving on bicycle in a place that's farther north than we are, tough winters and all that, a third of the people were moving on bicycle. They had become more car-oriented and they had to re-orient themselves to walking and bicycling."

In order to facilitate more walking and biking in Arlington, officials needed data. Commuter-counters were employed at key junctures. The results were eye opening--6,000 people were crossing the Key Bridge daily, to name one major roadway, on foot or on bike.

"No one was counting for years," says Zimmerman. "In many places in this country we are already moving large numbers of people without cars. We ultimately save money, we even build tax base."

In a few weeks Zimmerman will depart for France to visit three cities roughly the size of Arlington to study how they are becoming less car-dependent. The goal, he says, is to create a seamless transportation system in which commuters know they can travel around the region without wasting time. They would be aware of plentiful bus routes, bike lanes, and train schedules.

"In European cities they've been doing this for many more decades," says Zimmerman. "They've built up more of it, and so you can get all over the place in a combination of transit and bicycle; you can pretty much travel anywhere. It is hardly ever an option in the United States."

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: White House Threatens Transpo Bill Veto, NY Seeks Tappan Zee Loan

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NY City Council Summons Police on Traffic Crime Investigations (Link)
Transpo Bills Set Off on A Long, Bumpy Road (Link)
NY MTA Chief Apologizes for Rat Comments (Link)
DOT Head Ray LaHood Takes Another Whack At House Transpo Bill: It “Takes Us Back to the Horse and Buggy Era” (Link)
Brooklyn Bike Lane Lawsuit Rolls into 2012 (Link)
New York Senate Votes to Restore a Tax Break for Transit Riders (Link)
USDOT: On Time Airline Arrival Highest in 17 Years (Link)
Regulators Soon To Release Reports On Yellowstone River Pipeline Break And Oil Spill (Link)

An aerial view of the George Washington Bridge (photo courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

New York has asked the federal government for a $2 billion loan to help finance the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. (Bloomberg)

The White House is threatening to veto the House transportation bill. (Politico, The Hill)

And now transportation sits firmly atop the political agenda. (AP via Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

The Port Authority will spend half a billion dollars to renovate the George Washington Bridge. (

Nine New York city cyclist deaths that raise questions. (MetroFocus)

A New York law cracking down on distracted driving has generated nearly 119,000 tickets statewide to motorists using their cell phones or texting while driving since July. (New York Daily News)

The green paint used in Los Angeles' bike lanes is not digitally erasable -- causing some film crews to have to relocate to bike lane-free streets. (Los Angeles Times)

Chicago's transit agency wants customers to know that its survey about "hypothetical fare scenarios" doesn't mean that it's hiking fares. (Chicago Tribune)

A group of bus companies is suing New York after the city's Department of Transportation gave Megabus a free spot outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (DNA Info)

Australia pours money into its car industry while slapping huge tariffs on used cars...but some are arguing for the New Zealand model, where second-hand cars are much cheaper.  (The Global Mail)

DC's Capital Bikeshare has hit 1.5 million trips -- in less than a year and a half of operation. (TBD)

New York is phasing in new benches in its subway system. Goodbye, wood; hello stainless! (New York Daily News)


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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: GM Once Again World's Largest Automaker, LA Reaches Out to China to Fund Transit, NY Area Airport Terminals Among World's Worst

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Union Suspends Talks with NY MTA Over Contract (Link)
Children in Low-Income Manhattan Neighborhoods More Likely To Be Hit By Cars (Link)
MTA: Subway Blasting Not Creating Pollution (Link)
D.C. Metro Workers Charged in Coin-Stealing Scheme (Link)
Rural College Campuses Solve Student Transportation Challenges With Shuttles — And Bikes (Link)

photo by sciascia via Flickr

General Motors reclaims the title of world's largest automaker. (Detroit Free Press)

Federal safety regulators lack the expertise to monitor vehicles with increasingly sophisticated electronics, says one agency. (New York Times)

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke with a Chinese investment group about funding for a dozen transportation projects. (Los Angeles Times)

But what happened to the opossum after he rode the D train? (New York Times)

More information emerges from Capital Bikeshare data. Most common trips? Bike lane usage? It's in there. (Greater Greater Washington)

Opinion: Obama Throws SOPA and Keystone Red Meat to Liberals (It's a Free Country)

Watch a bicycle get stripped down on NYC's mean streets over the course of a year. (Video)

What's the best way to get users to embrace mass transit? (Slate)

New Jersey is preparing to use facial-recognition technology to scan 18 million photographs for signs of driver's license fraud. (AP via

Airport terminals at three New York-area airports are among the world’s 10 worst, according to travel group Frommer’s. (WNYC)

Road rage bleeds over to the bipeds in Canada: pedestrian bites driver. (CBC)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Beijing Bike Scheme, Florida Traffic Deaths Drop, Airlines Sue DOT Over Advertising Rules

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Trying Out Staten Island's Bus Time (Link)
Montana To Parents, Kids: We Know It’s Winter — But You Can Still Walk & Bike To School (Link)
As Presidential Race Moves to South Carolina, Pothole Ads Do, Too (Link)
Amtrak: In 2012, We Want eTickets, Electric Locomotives, and Speedier Trains (Link)

Bicyclists in Beijing (photo by Superflow via Flickr)

Beijing will put 20,000 rental bikes on the street this year to ease congestion -- and open four new subway lines. (Xinhua)

Parts of Nigeria are under a curfew after protests against the ending of fuel subsidies grew violent. "Overnight, prices at the pump more than doubled...The costs of food and transportation also doubled."  (NPR)

Adding mass transit to the Tappan Zee Bridge would delay the project at least two years, says the head of the New York State DOT. (Journal News)

New MTA head Joe Lhota says he'll continue to pursue a smartcard system for NYC transit. (New York Times)

Traffic deaths in Florida dropped to a 33-year low in 2011, although the state's population doubled in that span. (AP via Miami Herald)

Some airlines are suing the DOT over its requirement that advertisements include all taxes and fees in ticket prices for flights. (The Hill)

Sales of diesel-powered cars in the U.S. rose  27.4 percent in 2011 while hybrid sales dropped 2.2 percent. (AutoBlogGreen)

Capital Bikeshare has posted data files with individual (but anonymous) trip data. (Greater Greater Washington)

DC's Metro would have to condemn many more properties than originally thought in order to build the Purple Line. (Washington Post)

Volkswagen unveils the E-Bugster -- an electric Beetle concept car -- in Detroit. (Gizmag)

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Transportation Nation

Maryland Moves Closer to Joining D.C. and Virginia in Capital Bikeshare Program

Friday, December 23, 2011

Capital Bikeshare station (photo by Priya George)

(Washington, D.C. - WAMU)  Montgomery County, Maryland ,which borders the nation's capital, is hoping for some financial help from the state to get its portion of Capital Bikeshare up and rolling.

The County's Department of Transportation has applied for a $1 million grant to fund bikesharing in the southern part of the county.
The proposal would fund 29 docking stations and more than 200 bikes between the Beltway highway and the county's border with D.C. -- that includes Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Takoma Park and Silver Spring, all communities filled with residents who work in the District.
The new stations would become a part of the Capital Bikeshare system already in operation in D.C. and in Arlington County in Virginia.
Montgomery has already been awarded a federal grant of more than $1 million for bikesharing in the Rockville area. County leaders say the aim is to eventually connect Rockville's system with Capital Bikeshare as well.
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