Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: NoVA small cities, MD universities think big


Photo by pvera on Flickr.
Alexandria flirts with CaBi: The city manager wants Alexandria to join Capital Bikeshare with 54 bikes at 6 stations. (WAMU) ... Alexandrians, contact your leaders to express your support.

Falls Church flirts with density: The city's new planning director told the Falls Church City Council, "You must make density your friend." Its commercial corridors must densify to strengthen the city's tax base. (FC News-Press)

UMD won't fight campus Purple Line: UMD will stop opposing the Purple Line running on Campus Drive. The previous president, Dan Mote, fought it fiercely, but new president Wallace Loh signaled his administration was more open to making it work. Students have repeatedly lobbied for the campus alignment. (Post)

LaHood mediates in Silver Line: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood met with officials from Loudoun and Fairfax counties and MWAA to try to to settle the the Dulles Airport Metro station conflict. (WAMU) ... Not much was settled yet, however. (TBD)

Struck in Loudoun, crushed in DC: A pedestrian was struck near NVCC's Loudoun Campus, close to an intersection that doesn't have crosswalks anyway. (WTOP) ... A delivery truck and its driver "crushed" a person in a wheelchair near McPherson Square. (DCist) ... Also, cyclists were hit in Southwest and near Freedom Plaza and a pedestrian hit at 16th and Florida. (Post)

Stop breaking fake ground: How about not allowing a project to hold a high-profile "groundbreaking" until it actually has financing and permits? (Housing Complex)

MTA clears up photography spat: The MTA will apologize to two photographers who were harassed by transit police, will reiterate its photography policies to employees, and may discipline the responsible officers. The ACLU was pleased. (Baltimore Sun)

Population shift necessitates housing shift: More adult children are living with their parents in Montgomery County and more adults are nearing retirement. This makes the county's lack of affordable housing even more dire. (WAMU)

And...: Watch your toes this summer on the Metro escalators. (DCist) ... TBD On Foot will be back in full force with a new writer later this month. (TBD) ... See what Capitol Hill and DC's monumental core probably looked like two centuries ago. (DCist)

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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Way to go, UMD. Glad the change in administration provided the hoped-for change in position. I guess President Loh knows what an opportunity UMD missed decades ago when they kept Metro off campus. This'll be a good thing for UMD and for College Park.

by Distantantennas on Jun 2, 2011 9:00 am • linkreport

@UMD

This is good, and the campus NEEDS the purple line. RT 1 is a disaster zone and people want to avoid it.

Now we just have to convice the other NIMBY's in Bethesda.

by Matt R on Jun 2, 2011 9:07 am • linkreport

Nothing really new on the Alexandria CaBi bit. I broke that news over 2 weeks ago. There's also been articles and counter-articles (the latter by Jonathan Krall) in the Alexandria Times since then.

Good to hear about the Purple Line through UMD.

by Froggie on Jun 2, 2011 9:36 am • linkreport

I'm glad Alexandria is looking into CaBi, but I'm a little concerned that they're thinking too small with only six stations. I realize that's primarily a funding constraint, but I'd worry about those six stations being the only six stations. It's one thing to put in those six if you know that, say, 20 more are coming rather soon on the heels of those six (like Arlington is doing in R-B).

by Alex B. on Jun 2, 2011 9:53 am • linkreport

Glad to see that Falls Church is going to (hopefully) take density seriously, but they are going to have to put a lot of thought into how to manage that density with their current transportation infrastructure.

Maybe a shuttle to/from EFC and WFC would help? The little city is too reliant on cars.

by ckstevenson on Jun 2, 2011 10:06 am • linkreport

@Alex B.: Hopefully they'll see the success of the handful of stations and expand things into other corners of the city. Six isn't a bad starting number, though. Especially to get a sense of how they'll work in Alexandria.

(Caveat: I'm not a biker, but.) I'd still like to see some effort at getting a couple of stations to link up to the Mount Vernon Trail, especially as I understand the latter to be increasingly in use as a commuting route. I know the NPS won't currently allow stations on their property, but I can think of at least two or three spots across the GW Parkway where they could be profitably put in.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Jun 2, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

The solution to the balking of the higher price tag for the station in subway at Dulles Airport by the Commenwelth of Virginia, Loudoun and Fairfax county is to have the Airports Authority pay the difference out of revenue derived directly form the operation of the Airports. They paid nothing for the station at National but reaped all benefit. They should now pay at least the additional cost at Dulles.

by Sand Box John on Jun 2, 2011 10:14 am • linkreport

@Sand Box John; just to be clear; MWAA is paying, but that money is coming from road fees. I agree -- a .50 cent or $1 surcharge on airline tickets would raise the money quickly.

But all of this evidence is MWAA is a very broken institution, and need to be abolished. kick out DC and MD, Break it up, and then break it into the toll road, Dulles and National.

by charlie on Jun 2, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

@Ser Amantio

Choosing the locations will be very important. With only six stations, you'll want one at Metro, one at the waterfront (with a relatively easy given the distance connection to the Crystal City stations via the MVT), and you'll need to locate the other 4 with both sufficient density and coverage.

Given those two constraints, I guess that only leaves going up and down King Street as the main use. And that's not bad at all, but it's not going to take advantage of the broader network effects that are possible with bikeshare.

by Alex B. on Jun 2, 2011 10:22 am • linkreport

I'm an alexandria resident, why would i support 400,000 dollars for 54 bikes?????????

by SA on Jun 2, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

Re: Alexandria CaBi

What a great way to get from the King Street Metro and Old Town.

Re: UMD Purple Line

Thank goodness. Maryland would've made a huge mistake locating a new transit service so far away from the center of campus. The placement of the Metro so far from campus was a mistake, and this is a chance to correct it.

by Adam L on Jun 2, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

Re: Alexandria CaBi

I think it could work--it would be a great way for visitors to get around town. I think one station at the Metro and another at the waterfront is obvious (that waterfront station will get full almost immediately on weekend days, though), another on or near the southern end of Washington street, maybe one at or near the "halfway" point between Metro and waterfront (will be very difficult to find the space for a station, though), another up by the cluster of high rise apartment buildings by Whole Foods, and a sixth...somewhere.

I personally have my own bike (and live in Old Town) and will probably not use CaBi to get around town on a regular basis, but I *would* most certainly use it to commute to/from Crystal City on days when I've taken transit one way due to weather (or laziness) but would like to ride home, or days like last week when my own bike breaks down and spends quality time in the shop. Is this the vision of CaBi? Maybe not, but it would get me to subscribe to the service (which I don't do now).

by Catherine on Jun 2, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

With six stations, Alexandria could place these near their existing trails. Looking at the Alexandria map a WABA.org, here are my seven recommended sites:

1. In Arlandria/Del Ray, near the Four Mile Run trail
2. NVCC and W Braddock Road, near the W&OD pickup
3. By the Ramsay Rec Center and N Beauregard St, near Holmes Run Trail.
4. At the Beatley Central Library, near Holmes Run and Cameron Run
5. A central location near the King Street metro
6. At the Waterfront near the start for the northern portion of the Mount Vernon Trail
7. In the Potomac Yard development, now under construction.

by smoke_jaguar4 on Jun 2, 2011 11:19 am • linkreport

If there is demand for shared bicycles, wouldn't one expect a number of companies to start offering the service in likely locations? If no companies come to the forefront, doesn't that suggest the market demand might be insufficient to support a service or service in particular locations? In that event, taxpayers dollars should be spent on other projects, just like the so-called "Outer Beltway" craved by developers and land speculators should be built privately as a toll road. Tax dollars should not be used to subsidize real estate development or money-losing businesses.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 2, 2011 11:35 am • linkreport

SA,
the 400k isn't just the bikes its also the permits, installation, and labor. Also the money for the first phase is coming from a federal grant (ostensibly still your tax dollars) but to say its just for bikes is a little disingenuos.

by Canaan on Jun 2, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

@smoke_jaguar4

I was under the impression that CaBi worked best if it was concentrated in a small area. The parts of Alexandria you mention are rather spread out. It might work best to keep them in Old Town.

by Ghost_Bear on Jun 2, 2011 12:02 pm • linkreport

@Alex, et al,

This first Alexandria CaBi phase is coming from a grant, but not a Federal grant as I understand it. This grant is separate from the $400K in FY2013 CMAQ money that Alexandria has designated for Bikeshare. So what you'll get is these initial 6 stations (which will be located in Old Town and possibly 1 or 2 in Carlyle), and an additional 8 stations as early as autumn of next year.

by Froggie on Jun 2, 2011 12:22 pm • linkreport

For a 6-station pilot, it makes sense to keep them in a small footprint.

On King Street, I'd think King Street Metro, the Waterfront, and two stations in between -- maybe one around Fayette or Henry, and one in between Washington and Market Square.

For the additional two stations, maybe putting two on Duke Street to slightly stretch the axis.

The question is: can you demonstrate a successful pilot when it is just those six Metro passenger/tourist-oriented stations, without having the next phase already in development. If

Alexandria can have their next phase mapped out (5-20 more stations stretching up Washington to Slaters Lane, or to Braddock Road Metro/Potomac Yards, or out on Mt. Vernon to Del Ray, or to Eisenhower Ave, etc.), the likelihood of locals buying Bikeshare memberships would likely be much higher than if they just do the pilot as an Old Town standalone with a wait-and-see approach.

A proposed second phase (whether following the GW Parkway or Rte 1 corridors) would also show the potential for connection with the existing Crystal City stations, increasing the options for people in both jurisdictions.

by Jacques on Jun 2, 2011 12:31 pm • linkreport

As a local, I think I'd prefer the CaBi stations to run up Mount Vernon Avenue through Del Ray as well as along King Street to the Waterfront. Those would orient well with the existing Metro stations.

by Craig on Jun 2, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

My personal theory on bike sharing is that the fewer stations you have the farther apart you need to put them. For example it Maryland had only two, I might put them at the Bethesda and Silver Spring Metro stations to allow people to use Capital Crescent Trail to get between both. [If you think about a train line, a train that stopped only in DC and Baltimore might do well, but one that stopped only at Union Station and L'Enfant Plaza might not].

I think putting 6 stations so that each is 0.25 miles away (too far to walk for most people) makes sense. This drives up the cost of dockblocking, but it makes the system more useful when it works.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 1:01 pm • linkreport

@SA, why would i support 400,000 dollars for 54 bikes?

I don't know you or why you would or would not support anything, so this is really an impossible question for me to answer. Why don't you tell me why you don't support it and we'll go from there. Also, perhaps you could tell me where $400,000 of CMAQ money would better be spent.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 1:03 pm • linkreport

If there is demand for shared bicycles, wouldn't one expect a number of companies to start offering the service in likely locations?

No. This is only true if the revenue is high enough to be very profitable. No one starts a business to make $10 a year. And no one starts a business to turn a profit in year 21. That's why sometime governments have to jump in and support programs that are ligthly profitable.

If no companies come to the forefront, doesn't that suggest the market demand might be insufficient to support a service or service in particular locations?

Again, no. It means companies are too risk averse or lack vision. Or it means there are barriers, namely acquiring the land needed, that make this significantly more difficult for a business to do. The government owns the land already, but a business would need to buy/lease/rent it, which carries significant transaction costs. Lawyers always want to be paid for that kind of work.

In that event, taxpayers dollars should be spent on other projects, just like the so-called "Outer Beltway" craved by developers and land speculators should be built privately as a toll road.

I disagree. Not only for the reasons listed above, but because the government has interests that differ from a business. A business wants to make money. A government wants to serve the interests of the citizens. That's why the government does a lot of things that don't make money - like run parks, build roads, run school, fight fires and enforce the law. To paraphrase you "If there is demand for libraries, wouldn't one expect a number of companies to start offering the service in likely locations?" As it turns out, no. Which is why the government does it. The government can capture positive externalities like cleaner air, healthier citizenry, happier citizenry, less congestion, more parking etc... Try putting those benefits into a company plan and see how the bank laughs at you. "We won't make any money, but the air will be cleaner" doesn't exactly excite investors, but it does excite governments - as well it should.

Tax dollars should not be used to subsidize real estate development or money-losing businesses.

This is not a business per se. It is a transit system, run by a business. The business is not subsidized but the transit system is.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 1:15 pm • linkreport

@Jacques: CaBi for Route 1 would not work - at least not without significant redesigning of the route (which I'm not in favor of at the moment, as it happens...it's nowhere near ideal, but it serves its purpose well enough that I don't think it's time yet to pour money into an entire redesign.) There are neighborhoods along the highway where it might work...if there were a station at Huntington, say. (Some places in Groveton come to mind...beyond that I don't know how bike-friendly some of the other places are.) The Parkway's a different kettle of fish entirely.

@Alex B.: Yeah, right now I think King St.'s the best option for sites. Hopefully people will be encouraged, though, because I'd love to see this sort of thing spread throughout the city. Link it up to the Mount Vernon Trail and you could potentially open up commuting options for a lot of people.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Jun 2, 2011 1:24 pm • linkreport

@SA:
The short answer is consider CaBi as transportation infrastructure, not as a business. In that sense it's another option to include with roads, busses, rail, etc...
What may be possible, is after CaBi becomes an established option, is to let private entities provide the bicycles and rent CaBi space. I'd like to see WMATA do this with bus lines, but that's another topic...

That said, I'm somewhat perplexed by CaBi's popularity since an effective solution already exists: bicycle shops. For the cost of the CaBi signup and a year's worth of use, you can buy a decent commuter bike. No need to go to a central location nor deal with a potential outage. The infrastructure that's needed is trails, secure storage, and showers. Munincipalities develop trails, businesses provide showers, and both provide storage solutions. Isn't the easiest solution usually the best?

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on Jun 2, 2011 2:12 pm • linkreport

6 stations in Alexandria:

* King St Metro
* Waterfront/Founders Park
* Braddock Metro
* Eisenhower Metro
* Van Dorn Metro
* Landmark Mall

by Jasper on Jun 2, 2011 2:17 pm • linkreport

@ Smoke_Jaguar4: I'm somewhat perplexed by CaBi's popularity

It's a brilliant and quick way to get around DC (and Arlington) where the transit (metro) system fails. During rush hour, biking is by far the fastest way to get around. I now do in 6 minutes what used to cost me 25 minutes on foot or bus.

For the cost of the CaBi signup and a year's worth of use, you can buy a decent commuter bike.

A year's worth of use? Let's extrapolate my cost for the last 4 weeks. $37 to sign up (Living Social), 36 trips of which one cost me $1.50. Please let me know where I can get a commuter bike for $37+(12*$1.50)=$55.

by Jasper on Jun 2, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

I thought the $400K was not just for the bikes, but for the infrastructure. Am I wrong?

If the $400K includes infrastructure, then an apples-apples comparison would be to include the cost of your parking space in the price of a car.

by SJE on Jun 2, 2011 2:26 pm • linkreport

@SJE, yes the $400K includes the infrastructure. And as I understand it, the grant money for the initial phase of 6 stations also includes paying for the first year of operation.

by Froggie on Jun 2, 2011 2:56 pm • linkreport

@Sand Box John; just to be clear; MWAA is paying, but that money is coming from road fees. I agree -- a .50 cent or $1 surcharge on airline tickets would raise the money quickly.

Dulles has 11.3 million boardings annually (or about 30,000 a day). Double that number to include landings, and you've got about 22.6 million passengers.

With a $1 surcharge per boarding/landing, that's 110 years to pay for the $2.5bn rail line.

by andrew on Jun 2, 2011 3:16 pm • linkreport

The operating budget for one bus for a year is about $500,000. Purchase cost is about another $500,000 to a million.

How many trips can you provide for a million using bikeshare compared to bus?

by Michael Perkins on Jun 2, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

@ Smoke_Jaguar4, there's a post for that.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 3:36 pm • linkreport

It's almost like 6 bikeshare stations isn't even close to being enough to cover Old Town. It's about 2 square miles, more or less? And you want to have them about every 1/4 mile, so that the walk is about 200 yards to a station.

So we need more like 40 stations to cover Old Town, maybe? 380 bikes and a cost of about $2.5M?

How do the costs break down between capital and operating?

by Michael Perkins on Jun 2, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

@Michael Perkins -
If you were requiring Montreal/Paris-style density, then yes, you would need a ton of stations, but the one place that has happened so far with CaBi (Pentagon City/Crystal City) is nowhere near the most-used part of the CaBi network, showing that there's some significant potential for growth without hitting the 1/4-mile standard.

If you look at Old Town as a "T" -- with a 1.1 mile stretch of King Street forming a Y-axis and the Waterfront (or Washington Street, or Henry Street) forming the X-axis, you could easily put stations every 1/4 mile on each of the two axes, and cover the area with 8 stations, and everyone within an easy 5 minute (up to .3 mile) walk of a station.

If 35 stations can cover the bulk of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, (and pretty well, IMO), then it's not far-fetched to think that 8-10 stations could effectively handle Old Town. And if that's true, then the next 20 hypothetical Alexandria stations would be put to better use by stretching them in the Del Ray/Braddock Road/Slaters Lane/Potomac Yards direction.

by Jacques on Jun 2, 2011 3:57 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper:
As far as the bike goes, I'm thinking $89 Walmart special, not a Trek hybrid. The car analogy would be a base model Hyundai Accent vs a mildly optioned Honda Accord.

@David C:
Thanks for the link. As long as CaBi fills a transportation need, then I'm all for it. As CaBi expands, I'd like to see the following options added to the system:
- Unicycles
- Tricycles
- Big Wheels with PowerSlide Technology (tm)
- Huffy Green Machine :)

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on Jun 2, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

yeah, I want to change my answer. 0.25 miles is too close together here. Alexandria may not be dense enough for that.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

@Smoke_Jaguar4, If you can buy an $89 bike at Walmart and put 2000 miles on it without it falling apart on you, I'd be stunned. As for other options, I'm with you on adult tricycles. Those are awesome.

by David C on Jun 2, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport

@andrew

Sandbox was proposing an air ticket surcharge to cover only the extra cost of an underground station. Not pay for the entire silver line.

But I would contend that better than a ticket surcharge, toll the dulles access road which is currently free.

@jaguar

Cabi is better than buying a bike for people who dont have space to store a bike, fear their bike getting stolen, only want to ride their bike one way, or want to transfer from a metro station like, mac square, and use a bike to get somewhere else, like u st.

by Falls Church on Jun 2, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

Big thumbs-up to Loh for progressive thinking. Sadly I won't ever get to enjoy the fruits of this decision as an undergrad, but who knows, maybe I'll go visit some day and ride in on a shiny new light rail train.

by Martin on Jun 2, 2011 4:57 pm • linkreport

David C

More of the OPM syndrome that permeates the Capital Region. Why should taxpayers fund a money-losing proposition? It makes sense to add bike lanes to area roads when practicable and safe. It would also make sense for government to offer sites on its property for bikes in a bike-sharing program. But if the demand is insufficient to support a business or a nonprofit, taxpayers should not be required to subsidize a fantasy.

Where is the cost study that shows the return to taxpayer from a bike-sharing program? The justification reminds me of the lack of data from the Smart Growthers on Tysons Corner. Words, not data. Emotions, not analysis.

We are barraged by empty words, while data is ignored. Our friends at the Smart Growth Coalition talked traffic reduction, but cannot and will not address the traffic studies that show more traffic congestion from the added density. For example, the Georgelas demonstration project, which appears to be quite good and includes paid parking and all housing within the TOD zone, is still forecast to create an additional 46,000 vehicle trips on Route 7 alone.

Empty words; no analysis, but a constant drumbeat to get control of other people's money.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 3, 2011 8:19 am • linkreport

@ andrew; the extra money would pay the 300M extra for an underground station; by your math a little over 10 years.

A 100 year financing deal is not out of the question. If Transurban or JP morgan can get that (for the chicago parking) why not MWAA?

I have a bad feeling about Alexandria's efforts. Smaller and more isolated than CC. I don't think it will work well.

by charlie on Jun 3, 2011 8:49 am • linkreport

@tmt, TOD increases congestion largely within the TOD area, whereas the more typical suburban-style development increases congestion far beyond the development's borders.

by Froggie on Jun 3, 2011 8:50 am • linkreport

Froggie Smart Growth Syndrome - words, not data and analysis. The traffic study being done to support the Georgelas project shows that their will be 46,000 more vehicle trips on Route 7 going to, from and through Tysons Corner with the Georgelas project. These trips assume the availability of Dulles Rail, the mixed use development (with all housing located within the TOD), the grid of streets to take traffic off Route 7, a significant reduction in parking spaces for the housing, an internal circulator system within Tysons, paid parking for the offices. In sum, the Georgelas Company is doing everything right in terms of so-called Smart Growth, but the development will generate huge amounts of additional vehicle traffic in an around Tysons. Moreover, this project is only one of thirteen rezoning applications filed with Fairfax County. Smart Growth at Tysons Corner will increase congestion far beyond the development's border. The traffic studies prove it.

If TOD increases congestion largely within the TOD, why do Fairfax County and VDOT believe that the Dulles Toll Road and the Beltway need to be widened (the Beltway one additional lane beyond the HOT lanes expansion between Route 7 and I-66) in order to handle the additional traffic generated by Tysons Corner? This is a fair question, why not try to answer it?

by tmtfairfax on Jun 3, 2011 9:17 am • linkreport

@tmtfairax

Where is the cost study that shows the return to taxpayer from a bike-sharing program?

It's here. Analysis, not words. Here's the money line "At a 7% discount rate, the benefit-cost ratio of the project is 1.72, with a 79% rate of return." (page 21)

We are barraged by empty words, while data is ignored.

Perhaps you ignored this data, which was reported on this very blog.

Why should taxpayers fund a money-losing proposition?

Because, frankly, that's what taxpayers do. Wars lose money. Foreign diplomacy loses money. State parks lose money. Libraries lose money. That's what government does. It makes the investments that lose money, but have societal paybacks that exceed the revenue loss. What do you think we have government for?

by David C on Jun 3, 2011 10:13 am • linkreport

David C

Looks as if you have made a business case for bike sharing. With that return prospect, private industry or a nonprofit should provide the service.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 3, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@tmtfairfax,

Reading is fundamental. Did you read the report? It gets the return from things like "congestion reduction", "user cost savings", "total time savings", "emission reduction", "healthcare cost savings" and "accident reduction". Some of these items can be built into the cost to the user, but some cannot. Who's going to pay to "reduce emissions"? And others will be undervalued by customers. So no, private industry won't provide the service. You know how I know that? Because they haven't.

As for a nonprofit, that's what we have right? A government-run NPO.

Can't you just admit that you're terribly wrong and you don't know what you're talking about? That's all I want.

by David C on Jun 3, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

@ tmtfairfax, David C:Why should taxpayers fund a money-losing proposition?

They should not. They are not. The difference between government and private investments is that private investments have easy to calculate returns, while for government investments they are harder, or non-monetary.

[Well chosen] Wars don't loose money. They provide safety. So that citizens can go about their lives. Foreign diplomacy does not loose money. It provides international stability. So that private enterprises such as GE, Microsoft and Apple can sell their products worldwide. State Parks do not loose money. They protect habitat and recreational opportunities. Libraries don't loose money. they provide educational opportunities and access to art for citizens. These are non-monetary results that people, through the democratic process, are willing to pay for.

David C is right that this is what the government does. It invests in things that people want, but private industry does not provide.

Finally, CaBi is part of DC and Arlington's transportation package, together with roads, bridges, railroads, metro, bus, (water)taxis, Zipcar and airports. The point of CaBi is to get people around town. Not to make a profit. Just as it isn't the purpose of Key Bridge, Galen St SE, or Ray Rd to make money. In stead of complaining that CaBi "looses" money, I could wonder why I have to pay personally to use CaBi while Redwood Terrace NW, MI Ave and Buckeye Dr are provide for "free".

by Jasper on Jun 3, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

@Jasper; out of that list, zipcar, taxis and airports all try to make money. zipcar in particular is failing to do so. although investors don't seem to mind. Cabi is also in the position to make money. Most of the European scheme probably make money as well -- they are run by private companies.

I am for a full throated defense of government offering services. However, bikeshare is one of those services which may end of being profitable. The bikeshare in Miami, for instance, is completely private and profit based.

I'd say the real question is the benefits that are returned to the public. Much like zipcar-- what are the benefits?

by charlie on Jun 3, 2011 12:18 pm • linkreport

Jasper, it all depends on how you define "losing money". But we can agree that these items, if done well - not all wars are, for example - add value that exceeds their cost.

by David C on Jun 3, 2011 12:26 pm • linkreport

@ charlie:zipcar, taxis and airports all try to make money.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

I'd say the real question is the benefits that are returned to the public.

Well, that is the question for all the government does. Presumably, in a proper democracy, the government does nicely what the people want it to do...

@ David C: But we can agree that these items, if done well - not all wars are, for example - add value that exceeds their cost.

There is an underlying assumption that if the government does something, it does it well. Clearly, the government fails part of the time, and then it's up to the voters to throw the government out and put competent people in place.

by Jasper on Jun 3, 2011 12:32 pm • linkreport

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