Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Replacing street parking with bike sharing is good policy

The Arlington County Republican Party recently chose to make a stink over the fact that as many as eight metered parking spaces have been replaced with Capital Bikeshare stations.

However, this is really a non-issue. Prior to this, 100% of street parking in Arlington was for cars; now it's maybe 98-99%. That is still remarkably unbalanced.

TBD interviewed me for a story about the issue:

The contention that replacing these parking spots with bikeshare parking costs the county money and is a bad idea is wrong in so many ways.

First, the only way it costs the county money is if every single spot within blocks is completely full. That's because someone seeking street parking (like the woman in the video) will likely find another spot and pay there, although it may be less conveniently located.

Second, these spaces will get utilized much more than a car parking spot. If even 2-3 people use the bikeshare station over a two-hour period, that's likely more people than would have used the metered spot it replaced anyway.

Third, it's good for business. As this recent economic article clarifies, the use of public space for bike parking is far more cost effective than for car parking.

Fourth, it actually can make it more convenient, even for car drivers. As I point out in the video, I parked my car near a CaBi station with plenty of adjacent street parking and then took the CaBi bike the 5-6 blocks to where I needed to meet my friend.

This was quicker and easier than trying to find a spot (whether or not any had been given to bikes) near the intersection of Moore and Wilson in Rosslyn. I would have almost certainly circled the block at least once and, if I had found a spot, it would have been not that close to where I was trying to go--forcing me to walk several blocks anyway. What I did was much faster and more convenient.

Thus, having plenty of Bikeshare stations sprinkled throughout a dense area can make it more convenient for drivers, because it greatly expands the area where they can find parking and still easily access their destination.

Occasional GGW contributor and Arlington resident Erik Bootsma wrote:

As a Republican (gasp!) and an Arlington resident, and I can tell you that using the CaBi is something I would use extensively. ... I can't tell you how frustrating the GOP here can be, with their 100% dashboard mentality. Freedom of choice also means freedom from HAVING to own a car, so having options is great.

I have a car myself and like having it, but also like having the option to use transit, to have a bike and to walk. If the GOP here doesn't wake up to the reality of Arlington/Washington urban life they will remain at 20%.

They need to be more responsive to the real desires of their constituency and realize that if I wanted to live in a sea of asphalt and parking lots, and wanted to avoid walking at all costs, I'd live in Manassas, not in Arlington ... Just because I'm in favor of living in a city, doesn't mean I'm a central planning statist bent on taking away freedom.

Arlington also removed a few parking spaces in Pentagon City to plant more trees, but the local GOP either didn't know about it or didn't object.

Improving flexibility of travel options and making parking more equitable and convenient for everyone increases access and foot traffic to local businesses, and that's something any political party ought to support.

Steve Offutt has been working at the confluence of business and environment for almost 20 years, with experience in climate change solutions, green building, business-government partnerships, transportation demand management, and more. He lives in Arlington with his wife and two children and is a cyclist, pedestrian, transit rider and driver. 

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You guys are missing the real story here: On his blog, "jmillerva" also chides Democrats for their "failure to require adequate parking at new developments" – in other words, they say that we should institute stricter parking minimums, which seems to be at odds with the pretense of the GOP as the party of free markets.

by Stephen Smith on Apr 28, 2011 2:52 pm • linkreport

I think they're missing the big story ... Yeah, it probably would have made more sense to use county-owned land a block away for the stations, but the real issue isn't the sharing of curbside parking ('cause like Steve notes, 99% of it is still used by cars), but rather the impact increased bike usage on the streets will have on the transportation network in Arlington.

As we're learing in DC (and in NYC) you can't just dump hundreds of bikes on the street and expect the transportation network to run as smoothly and efficiently as when you have people behind the wheel of vehicles with similar capabilities. The differing needs and capabilities of the disparate users eventually make the system breakdown entirely.

by Lance on Apr 28, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

regarding the tree planting, the trees replaced parking primarily because of neighborhood demands for traffic calming (and it was part of the proffer for the original development of Pentagon City). The GOP isn't in the business of picking fights with the neighborhood associations, just bicyclists. Loved your Rosslyn parking story, by the way.

@Stephen Smith, i submitted the exact same comment on the Arlington GOP blog, but they aren't publishing comments, apparently.

by darren on Apr 28, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

@Lance

How are you defining "smoothly and efficiently" and "breakdown entirely"?

Everything I've ever seen or read seems to indicate that there are only benefits to dedicating transportation facilities to bicycles. As one example take a look at these facts: http://www.xoxosoma.com/ppw/

Whether you believe them is a different discussion, but it's hardly evidence of an utter failure when biking is encouraged.

by sam on Apr 28, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport

@Lance

Do you have any sort of evidence that the transportation network isn't running as smoothly as it used to and that it has anything to do with bikes? Or are you just doing your usual thing - repeating something over and over in the hopes that it will eventually sound like the truth?

by MLD on Apr 28, 2011 3:28 pm • linkreport

(edited version)
"you can't just dump hundreds of cars on the street and expect the transportation network to run as smoothly and efficiently as when you have people on the seats of bicycles. . ."

(Think China, and how their system is completely breaking down as more and more citizens switch from bikes to cars.)

by Steve O on Apr 28, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

In fact, as I'm zipping past dozens of (and sometimes over 100) stopped cars in the R Street bikelane on my occasional CaBi ride home from work, I wonder how many of the drivers (stuck behind other cars at red lights) are wishing they--or at least, the drivers in front of them--were on bikes instead, as then everyone would get home more smoothly!

by Jacques on Apr 28, 2011 3:48 pm • linkreport

I agree that in DC bikes slow auto traffic down and makes drivers pay attention.

And that is a very good thing.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 28, 2011 4:00 pm • linkreport

I sometimes think I should make a T-Shirt that says:

"If you were riding you'd be home by now!"

I posted on the GOP blog too, and am serious that their reaction is irritating, especially when there are serious conservatives out there like the late Paul Weyrich and Paul Lind who support transit and alternatives. I think however there is a tendency to want to bend entirely away from all government which is disturbing, as local programs, and regional ideas can work quite well and enhance rather than inhibit freedom and choice.

Thanks for the bump and the reminder that I need to write more!

by Boots on Apr 28, 2011 4:17 pm • linkreport

A couple of details that add texture to the debate about replacing car spots with bike parking:

1 - Did the woman in the video think that the two spots where the station was would have been empty had the CaBi station not been there? And then she would have just pulled right in? Nice universe she lives in!

2 - With that in mind, think it through. The effect on any particular parker is de minimus. If two or three spots are replaced with bike parking, that means a driver will find a spot at most two or three spots farther away than otherwise would be found--maybe 50 feet. Probably not even that, because other parkers would not necessarily have gone in the same direction to find a spot. So in reality, the Bike Station would likely cause a street parker to park about ONE SPOT farther away than she would have without the station.

That is what the GOP is all exercised about, evidently: 20 feet farther away for the average street parker.

by Steve Offutt on Apr 28, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

It was literally just reported last week that cabi, with its thousands and thousands of rides has had an incredibly small number of crashes. And in the morning the delays stem from construction or other cars. I'll spit my coffee out when they say traffic into DC is slow because of all the cyclists on the radio So I don't think this "dumping" has had any negative affects on traffic.

by Canaan on Apr 28, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

Where are all the real conservatives? The crime is not to replace socialist automobile parking with socialist bicycle parking. The crime is the entire socialist, command-driven transportation system. We should eliminate all public spending on transportation and use the savings to reduce taxes. The invisible hand of the free market will provide whatever transportation infrastructure is needed. Market failure is a liberal fallacy. /sarchasm

by RC Bates on Apr 28, 2011 5:33 pm • linkreport

I am amazed that you and others aren't pointing to the goals and policies of the Arlington County Transportation Plan for further and stronger justification.

I guess it really does illustrate the point that once plans are finished, nobody--even transportation geeks--read and refer to them.

(Except me. http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2011/04/arlington-county-republicans-penny-wise.html )

by Richard Layman on Apr 28, 2011 5:57 pm • linkreport

Lance -- wrt your statement about the transportation network in DC, I have to admit that I don't travel in areas where I see a high degree of Cabi users, but I would argue that the impact of bikeshare, even significant increases in bicycling would only increase the efficiency of the network.

Cars are the least efficient mode. And the dense network of streets from the grid and block plan mean that there is a great deal of capacity for sustainable modes. Especially since the subway is underground in the core.

I am constantly amazed at how little traffic there is on DC streets at all times of day.

I rode to/from Target between 10:30 and 11:30am today to get a microphone for my computer, and I was amazed at how little traffic there was on 14th St. I mean it was minimal. A couple vehicles per block in both directions...

And this is my experience throughout the city (well, Downtown, Capitol Hill, H Street, Ward 4, etc.) at all times of day.

As long as I can ride through a red light on my bike (a/k/a the Idaho Stop) during peak periods without oncoming traffic, well, to me, it says that "transit works" (as does walking and biking).

by Richard Layman on Apr 28, 2011 6:35 pm • linkreport

Am I the only one who noticed the captions in the news report contained 2 misspellings? First "Arllington" then "communter". Nitpicking, yet amusing.

by Mark P. on Apr 28, 2011 6:47 pm • linkreport

Is a communter someone who's a commenter on GGW and also a commuter?

by David Alpert on Apr 28, 2011 6:59 pm • linkreport

Capitol Bike Share/alta bicycles denies health insurance to only the employees who ride bikes for the job because 6 million dollars of taxpayers money used to fund Capitol Bikeshare was squandered away!!!!!!!

THIS ONLY HAPPENED TO EMPLOYEES WHO RIDE BIKES FOR THE JOB!!!.

i quit my job recently and i am so happy not to be working for Capitol Bike Share anymore. when i was hired in november i was a full time employee with benefits and an option to have health insurance after a set amount of time. starting feb. Alta bikes, who is the mother company of Capitol Bike Share, changed thier policy and made me and all of the people in my position a part time employee with out benefits. Then Alison Choen (president of Alta) took a vacation to the bahamas. I/we was also denied any buy in on the health plan they ues for full time employees. then a week or so later, they gave back everything TO ONLY THREE of the 8 people effected and called them managers. the rest were paid the amount of PTO they were alotted for the year (i had around 27 hours) and no longer allowed to work a 40 hour week capping out at 32hrs.
THIS ONLY HAPPENED TO EMPLOYEES WHO RIDE BIKES FOR THE JOB!!!. the employees who drive vans (rebalancing the system), and station technitions were NOT affected by this change in policy(about 13 to 15 employees not affected). they all still have a full timer with insurance and benefits.

Every time you rent a Bikeshare bike, just know theat your 6 million dollars of taxpayers money used to fund Capitol Bikeshare was squandered away. As it was stated by Alta "a mistake was made in thier budget" and therefore the bikecheckers will pay for this mistake with thier wellbeing. When you rent a Bikeshare bike, know that it functions properly because it was checked by a bikechecker. Know that said bikechecker traveled by bike to do thier job, and had his/her wellbeing stripped of them by thier employer Capitol Bikeshare/Alta! Know that i am only able to say something because i do not work there anymore. Everyone in my position (even the 3 who were made managers) have strong feelings about this change and cannot speak up out of fear of losing thier job!!!

THIS ONLY HAPPENED TO EMPLOYEES WHO RIDE BIKES FOR THE JOB!!!.

by brad on Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm • linkreport

Love the bike shares, but can fences be built around them so that users must exit to the street? As a pedestrian, I am tired of dodging bikes on the sidewalk, where they have no place. Must a pedestrian be seriously injured before this is addressed?

by Robert on Apr 28, 2011 7:02 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman:

As long as I can ride through a red light on my bike (a/k/a the Idaho Stop) during peak periods without oncoming traffic, well, to me, it says that "transit works" (as does walking and biking).

You've just slapped Lance across the face with the gauntlet, then thrown it at his feet. Don't you know that the Idaho Stop killed the Kennedys?

by oboe on Apr 28, 2011 9:10 pm • linkreport

It was literally just reported last week that cabi, with its thousands and thousands of rides has had an incredibly small number of crashes.

But you just know that if a 90 year old man happens to have a massive lethal stroke while astride a CaBi bike, we'll hear Fox News 5 calling for an end to the whole system. TOO DANGEROUS!

by oboe on Apr 28, 2011 9:12 pm • linkreport

oboe -- I should have qualified my statement slightly. Obviously, certain roads that are main arteries into and out of the city like NY Ave. are always traffic engorged... But still, most of the time, there isn't that much traffic. It's quite amazing actually.

by Richard Layman on Apr 28, 2011 10:25 pm • linkreport

@Richard,

I've noticed that as well. When I travel around the country, I always run into expatriate "Washingtonians", and often the first thing they mention is how glad they are that they don't have to deal with the traffic. "Traffic in DC is terrible!" But the *really* bad traffic is a suburban phenomenon. Washington, DC doesn't have bad traffic. It's traffic *around* Washington, DC that makes you want to kill yourself.

One thing I think a lot, but rarely say to folks who commute and really, really hate Washington area traffic: Take a good look around. Seriously, take the time to make a mental snapshot. Got it? Okay, now savor it. Because this is the Golden Age. Your car commute tomorrow is quite literally as good as it's ever going to be. It's all downhill from here.

Population is only growing, and the suburbs have no plan. It's the reason why bicycles will continue to gain in mode share, and why DC residential real estate will continue to increase in value.

by oboe on Apr 28, 2011 10:42 pm • linkreport

+1 Richard Layman

This is true not just in DC.

Traffic congestion tends to be very concentrated on a very small number of select streets and highways. As a long time bike commuter and bike traveler, I (as most cyclists) know all the secret side streets and shortcuts. They have no cars on them (well, not "no cars," but not many). 80-90% of the streets have no cars. Any time of the day.

I can ride from my house to Tysons Corner 2/3rds on the WOD and 1/3 on streets with no cars. During rush hour.

I used to commute from Arlington to Silver Spring (during rush hours). The half that wasn't on the CCT was mostly without cars. From the time I got off the CCT to my office 2 blocks from the SS Metro I might be on streets with 3-4 cars total (plus one crossing of a busy road; at a traffic light). Sometimes zero cars.

So almost all of the time almost all of the streets have barely any traffic.

Interestingly, I used to go to Houston twice a month. During the middle of the day you could almost walk down the middle of the streets in the downtown area. There were no cars. Jammed in the morning and evening, though.

by Steve O on Apr 28, 2011 11:35 pm • linkreport

Steve O brings up an interesting side issue, which is why people in DC are stupid and only use the main roads. And of course, why bike lanes are on the main roads. I'm glad DC thinks it is a good idea to use volunteer cyclists as road barriers. Not sure how I feel about that.

In terms of the Arlington GOP, nobody cares what they think. And people responding to that are just jumping on bangwagons. I think they brought up a useful point, which is why are parking space being converted to bikeshare. In both cases (19th and Pierce) it would have been easy to move them to a sidewalk.

But yes, cabi users riding up to docks on sidewalks is rude, and perhaps a little education is necessary. I do it, sometimes, when nobody is around. But for instance on 17th and corc, I always dismount before jumping on the sidewalk.

@Lance; I don't think the problem is cabi members flooding the lanes. It is people who don't know how to use bike lanes, and float all over the place. Bikes are freedom, I know. But in a city, you need to follow some sort of order and understand most drivers are terrified of hitting you.

by charlie on Apr 28, 2011 11:46 pm • linkreport

@Brad - sorry buddy but "bikechecker" sounds like something that should be a part time job for college students not a career for an adult.

by Jason on Apr 29, 2011 12:43 am • linkreport

There is not an honest Republican who cares about overall society. I mean really.... 8 spaces? Oh. My. God.

Self-serving idiots extend to bike sharing. They stop at nothing, nothing at all. GOP'ers are wired for hate.

by Michael Rogers on Apr 29, 2011 7:59 am • linkreport

@Bikes on the sidewalk
When I park at the beloved (and still too small with no options for growth) 17th and Corcoran Place dock I'm often riding up from the Q St bikelane. I do ride on the sidewalk but at a very pedestrian pace. What annoys me more--much much more--is cyclists (cabi and others) riding the wrong way in a bikelane; I'm not looking for them as a ped or cyclist.
Moral: ride on the sidewalk very very slowly (for minimal distance) and not the wrong way in a bikelane.

@Back Road Bicycling
My commute takes me from dupont to cathedral heights/AU. Only one option over rock creek that makes sense. I ride Mass Ave the whole way and when I'm in shape I ride in the center of the right lane. "I'm glad DC thinks it is a good idea to use volunteer cyclists as road barriers." Hey, DC doesn't need to volunteer me; I do it myself because if I can do it safely, maybe tomorrow someone else will join me... eventually we'll hit a (wait for it) critical mass and we won't be maligned as unequal commuters (or communters).

by David F-H on Apr 29, 2011 8:15 am • linkreport

Every time you rent a Bikeshare bike, just know theat your 6 million dollars of taxpayers money used to fund Capitol Bikeshare was squandered away.

Please don't tell me our tax dollars are being used to subsidize this system ...

Why is it every mode of transit advocated on here involves taxpayer subsidies ... Usually coming out of the hides of the people driving cars.

by Lance on Apr 29, 2011 9:26 am • linkreport

@charlie
And of course, why bike lanes are on the main roads.

Really? The bike lanes are all on the main roads?

I guess that's why there's a bike lane on 16th, U Street, Mass Ave, Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut, etc etc etc.

Oh wait. But if you say it enough times I guess you can convince yourself that that's the case!

by MLD on Apr 29, 2011 9:27 am • linkreport

Self-serving idiots extend to bike sharing. They stop at nothing, nothing at all. GOP'ers are wired for hate.

You're misunderstanding the problem: if you were to put on a Che Guevara T-Shirt, grow some dreadlocks, and march back and forth in front of a bikeshare rack with a sign reading "Down With Two-Wheeled Corporate Colonialism!" Every Republican in the region would have a CaBi membership within three days.

Republicans smell a faint whiff of patchouli about this whole endeavor, and that's enough to earn their eternal enmity. At least until traffic gets *really* bad.

Northern Virginia traffic is enough to turn even the most reactionary conservative into a far-left socialist Euro-symp. Don't believe me? Explain "slugging" then.

by oboe on Apr 29, 2011 9:33 am • linkreport

@charlie It is people who don't know how to use bike lanes, and float all over the place. Bikes are freedom, I know. But in a city, you need to follow some sort of order and understand most drivers are terrified of hitting you.

Well said. And of course Richard's (and others') point about not having to stop ... or generally obey any rules of the road ... shows the problem that is quickly developing. Bikes in small numbers got 'exempted' from the rules of the road by the vast majority of drivers because 'bikes are fun' and no one is going to deny someone having fun like that. Especially when we're usually talking about teenagers and other children. What's going on now though is a whole different story. It's people ... more specifically adults ... wanting to use bikes for serious purposes. But by and large they haven't realized that with serious purposes come serious responsibility. When I see bikers start stopping at all stop signs and traffic light AND waiting their turn at stops and traffic lights (i.e., timing their crossing from their lane to NOT interfere with the sequence in progress at the intersection), then I'll be ready to say that I don't see a problem with adding lots of bikes into the mix of traffic.

by Lance on Apr 29, 2011 9:36 am • linkreport

@ Lance: Why is it every mode of transit advocated on here involves taxpayer subsidies ... Usually coming out of the hides of the people driving cars.

Change that to "every mode of transit on here including cars," and I'm with you on the subsidies.

And unless bikeshare funds are coming out of gas taxes (which I don't think they are), then it's not coming out of the hides of peole driving cars, or any other specific group.

Unless you're saying that any taxpaying (non-freeloading) member of society is obviously a car driver. Which I suppose would conform to the gist of some of your other posts.

by Jacques on Apr 29, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

@ Lance: When I see bikers start stopping at all stop signs and traffic light AND waiting their turn at stops and traffic lights (i.e., timing their crossing from their lane to NOT interfere with the sequence in progress at the intersection), then I'll be ready to say that I don't see a problem with adding lots of bikes into the mix of traffic.

When I see bikers car drivers start stopping at all stop signs and traffic light AND waiting their turn at stops and traffic lights (i.e., timing their crossing from their lane to NOT interfere with the sequence in progress at the intersection), then I'll be ready to say that I don't see a problem with adding lots of bikes into the mix of traffic.

And I am not even talking about speeding, cutting of pedestrians in a cross walk or blocking is crosswalk. I see all of it every single morning walking from the metro to work.

by Jasper on Apr 29, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

Just a reminder (from the interview with CaBi in the fall): "The capital cost is about $5 million for 100 stations and the operations for 100 stations is about $2.3 million a year." and "Right now, the city covers all the costs"

It looks then like the 10,000+ annual members and the thousands of one day members are paying something like 1/3 the cost.

City taxes, then, would be paying for the rest. That would be property taxes (wow-my property is slightly more valuable because of the two bikeshare stations nearby) and sales taxes (oh, I just bought something at a store that I used CaBi to get to). That is, in many ways appropriate.

But, of course, it isn't clear that it is right.

It irks me, too, that my CaBi rides are subsidized. But what do you do? We are saddled with the free-for-a-half-hour model inherited from Paris. And there is ire to be had for suggesting an alternative. (As it is, no matter how much users use the system, CaBi is stuck with a fixed revenue base, because revenue is membership not usage.)

by egk on Apr 29, 2011 10:35 am • linkreport

@Lance:

...timing their crossing from their lane to NOT interfere with the sequence in progress at the intersection...

I know I shouldn't, but...what does this even mean?

by oboe on Apr 29, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

It irks me, too, that my CaBi rides are subsidized.

Doesn't irk me in the least, given that every trip where a car is replaced by a bike is a net positive. The only question is whether CaBi should be subsidized even more--say matching the extent to which each car trip is subsidized.

by oboe on Apr 29, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

@egk

Are you irked when walking on the sidewalk, knowing that the sidewalk has been subsidized? What about riding in a bus? Or on the Metro? Or driving on a road?

by Alex B. on Apr 29, 2011 10:51 am • linkreport

which is why people in DC are stupid and only use the main roads.

To be fair, much of this has to do with our traffic patterns that heavily encourage this model in certain parts of town.

There are many places where it's virtually impossible *not* to be funneled onto Florida Ave, New York Ave, North Captiol Street, or that inexplicable tangle of freeway-esque roads around Washington Hospital Center. We can blame this on the interstate plan that was never fully constructed (with particular blame lying on the Center Leg freeway stub). Mount Vernon Square is also a bit of a cluster%*#$ that funnels more traffic onto NY Ave than it should.

Veering back on topic, these traffic patterns also occasionally suck for cyclists too, since they get funneled onto the same main roads. Crossing NY or FLA Ave remains one of the biggest obstacles to cyclists along those two corridors, given that there are no good options for cycling parallel to these two roads. If you're further north, the aforementioned roads around the hospital also make the bicycle ride from NE to NW very treacherous.

by andrew on Apr 29, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

Brad,

You have been cut and pasting that little tirade all over the internet, any time an article mentions CaBi. I'm not sure what your goal is, but frankly no one really seems to care.

But lets address some of your claims anyway.

1. They squandared $6M - Seeing as how the system is installed and running that claim seems off.

2. Alison Choen went to the Bahamas on vacation - who cares?

3. You were told you would get health care, but didn't - That sucks. You were one of six people in this situation and you were the only one who decided to quit. You had a contract with Alta that I assumed allowed them to change the terms of your employment. If not, sue them. If so, stop whining. You were on notice that the terms could change. It happens to people all the time. Since the recession started there have been people who've had it far worse. You were allowed to keep your job if you wanted it. You didn't. That's cool. But it's time to grow up and realize that without a contractual obligation, they weren't really obligated. If you wanted them to be obligated, you blew it. So, in the end, isn't this really your fault?

by David C on Apr 29, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

@ brad. That sucks, man. Does the city's contract with Alta specify anything other than the standard living wage laws? Any chance you can link up with one of the various organizations that advocate for workers? I don't know what you can do other than publicize the action, but you should definitely be writing to all the councilpeople, their list of partners (http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/partners), etc.

@ Jason. Mean, man. I don't know how marketable your skills are and what leverage you have over your employer, but there's a good chance that your contract (if you're lucky enough to have one) allows your boss to do something similar. Besides, really? You're going to be knocking anyone for *which* job they have in this economy? D.C.'s at 9.5. And we all know those numbers don't count a substantial portion.

Further: since it's not like there's a better forum for discussion of how to monitor organizations like Alta, I'd say Brad's point is one to be taken seriously.

I'm really disappointed no one's replied to it.

by Bill on Apr 29, 2011 11:29 am • linkreport

It sucks that health benefits aren't provided to all US residents. But should CaBi be required to bankrupt itself in order to provide benefits that no comparable business is required to provide? Look, I can understand the argument that a business that's racking up massive profits should be morally obligated to provide better benefits, but as the detractors like to say CaBi is already a subsidized entity. If you're going to argue that they be forced to provide full benefits for part-time employees, why not just cut out the middle-man and have the city provide them?

by oboe on Apr 29, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

@Lance; plenty of bicyclists do. I don't think it is a majority, but even in the last year i've had more join me waiting at red lights. Where we really need a crackdown is salmoning down bike lanes and sidewalk riding.

And if anything bike-sharing has the potential to encourage better riding. Other positive effects: it is slow, really teaching me to ride at a slower pace, and it is breaking the helmet thing. I hate helmets.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried it yet?

@oboe; it isn't cabi -- it is alta that is not providing health insurance. I think it is possible for a government to provide those services, rather than a contractor, although pensions, budgeting, and labor laws seem to make the government outsource all that work.self. The private company then "maintains" that space.

by charlie on Apr 29, 2011 11:59 am • linkreport

Some perspective, please: the $8,000/year of lost revenue amounts to 0.1 percent of the county's capital transportation budget at most. With 1500 spaces in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, 8 spaces comes in at just over half a percent of capacity. The cost and net impact on parking availability is close to zero. There are few cheaper, low-impact transit investments you could make.

So much hubbub over eight spaces. You'd think the world were coming to an end.

Why is it every mode of transit advocated on here involves taxpayer subsidies ... Usually coming out of the hides of the people driving cars.

Lance, you act as if cars aren't already heavily subsidized as it is.

Whatever complaints there are about impact on traffic should be considered next to the fact that the fewer people who take cars in a heavily urban environment, the less traffic there will be in the first place. In addition to the environmental benefits of fewer cars on the road, bikes simply take up less space than cars.

Whatever gets in the way of your driving as quickly and carelessly as you want is not a long-term solution for traffic delays.

by Omar on Apr 29, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

Lance -- by definition, you only do the Idaho Stop when there is no oncoming traffic. Since there is no oncoming traffic (or the gaps are significant), no safety hazard is created.

WRT traffic and alternate routes as discussed by Steve O et al further in the thread, wrt DC I think the problem is that so many people are suburbanites and they don't know the street network, they don't understand how the grid works, that it's completely foreign to them that there are alternatives.

One time, when we had use of a car, Suzanne forced me to drive her in (long story). There was a traffic accident on N. Capitol and so those relatively worthless DDOT traffic control people were standing around, but not really directing people to alternate routes (this kind of result from traffic accidents has made me interested in ITS, intelligent traffic systems, but rueful about significant improvements because obvious analog type improvements, like traffic control officers directing traffic to move off the street because it is closed up ahead doesn't happen).

Most people were stuck. I used the grid making my way over to LeDroit Park and Rhode Island Ave. relatively quickly.

From that I surmise that they just don't know how to get around, other than the specific routes they are used to susing.

by Richard Layman on Apr 29, 2011 12:12 pm • linkreport

I guess Cabi is the new Walmart. Go figure.

by snowpeas on Apr 29, 2011 12:33 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman; no need to pick up suburbanites there. Plenty of DC residents are stupid as well.

But yes, suburbanites, new residents, tourists and immigrants are all part of the problem. And don't get me started on GPS users....

by charlie on Apr 29, 2011 1:03 pm • linkreport

Per Arlington County's website, the County has "over 4500 metered spaces"; thus, a loss of eight spaces amounts to no more than 0.18% of the metered parking in the county.

Moreover, the County has over 53,000 on-street spaces, of which eight spaces would amount to 0.015%.

by Craig on May 1, 2011 7:48 am • linkreport

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