Greater Greater Washington

Alexandria joins Capital Bikeshare

After a process spanning several months, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously last night to join the Capital Bikeshare system. The first stations are expected to come online between spring and summer 2012.

This graphic, from the City Council meeting docket, shows the draft list of proposed stations. The white circles on the map identify the initial round of 6 stations, and black circles potential additional expansion locations. Green circles show stations that will likely come from developer funding, Alexandria's Transportation Management Program fund, or other grants.

Capital Bikeshare belongs in Alexandria

Alexandria is particularly well-suited for CaBi expansion. It has the second highest bicycle commuting share in the region, a dense core area with several destinations and nearby Metrorail stations, and a major bicycle route with several other nearby bicycle improvements. The city is also no stranger to bike sharing: Capital Bikeshare bicycles have been spotted as far south as the Fairfax County portion of the Mt. Vernon Trail.

Over 30 individuals and groups contacted the City Council or sent letters in support of Capital Bikeshare, including the city's Environmental Policy Commission, the Transportation Commission, and the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

In addition, Mayor Euille and other councilmembers said they were flooded with emails supporting CaBi in the hours leading up to the Council meeting; Euille said he's never gotten so many emails in one hour on any other topic.

$400,000 of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding, was already approved last year for the initial round of 6 stations, to be located generally in Old Town. An additional $400,000 in FY 2013 CMAQ funding, approved by the council on September 27, will add another 6 stations for a total of 12 CMAQ-funded stations.

These funds will cover station purchase and installation, 108 bikes for the stations, and operating costs for the first year. Additional operating costs are proposed to be covered by existing Transportation Management Plan (TMP) funds that Alexandria has collected. The city currently has $400,000 in unused TMP funds available. This ensures that no general city funds will be needed for the program.

City staff estimate that Capital Bikeshare will generate 40,000 to 50,000 bike trips in the first year of operation. Experience in DC and elsewhere suggests this will drive additional general demand for bicycles and bicycle trips. They also estimate that the program will fully cover operating expenses via program revenue by the third year, a conservative estimate considering that DC fully met operating expenses in the first year and Arlington met 65% of their expenses in the first yer.

Joining Capital Bikeshare also opens the door for developers and the TMP to fund stations in addition to the CMAQ-funded ones. Several employers and developers have already approached the city with interested in adding bike sharing stations, and the upcoming Harris Teeter development in North Old Town had a station approved as part of the development and site layout.

Most councilmembers enthusiastic

When it came time for discussion, many councilmembers were clearly very eager. Rob Krupicka asked just how soon the city could construct stations. Vice-Mayor Kerry Donley went so far as to argue the pilot program "was meager," and advocated for a much larger expansion. Both went on record as supporting the use of city funds to support operating expenses as well if necessary. Councilmember Redella "Del" Pepper was enthusiastic in her comments in support.

Not all of the discussion was positive. Councilmember Frank Fannon wanted the program be entirely fiscally self-sustaining. Councilmember Alicia Hughes wanted to see the city plan out future phases and their potential impact on the city budget, and also argued that the council should be sure to understand the potential fiscal ramifications of joining Capital Bikeshare.

Several citizens, including two councilmembers, questioned why Del Ray was not included in the proposed station list, especially since there's a large level of support for bike sharing in that neighborhood. Staff explained three reasons for Old Town and Carlyle:

  1. Bike sharing stations should be relatively close together (about ¼-mile apart) to work effectively.
  2. The "Potential Bicycle Activity" map from the city's Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility Plan clearly shows western Old Town as the area with the greatest potential for bicycle activity and, conversely, the areas with potentially the highest CaBi usage.
  3. Old Town is the densest and most connected part of the city, with several bicycle routes, destinations, and 2 Metro stations to support Capital Bikeshare usage. While other areas of the city have higher population density, they don't have nearly the multimodal connections, destinations, and bicycle-supportive infrastructure that Old Town has.
That does not mean the city will stop at just Old Town and Carlyle, though. City staff have expressed interest in future expansion into Rosemont, Del Ray, Arlandria, and possibly even into the West End as the transit infrastructure (with the Beauregard/Van Dorn St corridor) is further developed.

Stations could come by spring

Now that City Council has given their blessing, city staff and the City Manager will work with Alta, DDOT, and Arlington County to finalize the agreement, select station locations, and begin ordering and installing stations. The city hopes to have the first six stations in by spring, though it may not happen until summer. This will be followed up by a second wave of six stations funded from the FY 2013 CMAQ money.

City staff have a draft list of proposed station locations, but will conduct site surveys and preliminary enginnering to finalize those locations. In the meantime, they plan to consult with citizen groups and roll out an interactive website to gather public input on station locations.

Building a successful Capital Bikeshare core in Old Town should easily build support for the program and enable the city to further expand CaBi into adjacent neighborhoods, eventually tying into Arlington's Bikeshare stations. Alexandria and its residents will see additional travel choices, fewer vehicle trips, and better health as a result.

Adam Froehlig, aka "Froggie," is a former US Navy GIS analyst and weather forecaster. He was stationed in the DC area and lived in Huntington from 2008-2012. He can now be seen roaming the hilly dirt roads of Vermont when he's not blogging at Just Up The Hill

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Great news! Now Mrs. T can bike down to Fibre Space...

by MrTinDC on Oct 12, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

This could solve the problem of the walk between Metro and Old Town being slightly too long on foot, but too short to bother with a bus.

Having well-located stations within Old Town is the key to making it work.

by Matt C on Oct 12, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

I have doubts as to whether this can work with the initial allotment of only 6 stations. Lack of a critical mass of stations is one of the reasons Smartbike never took off. That said, it might work in old town because the bikes could easily be used to ride to stations in crystal city or SW DC.

by Falls Church on Oct 12, 2011 10:22 am • linkreport

I also think the "pod" model isn't working well.

I can download data off the Dashboard right now, but eyeballing it:

Crystal City stations seem to be generating about 200 trips a month. Dock is used 400 times. Obviously there is some traffic between CC and the rest of the system. So let's say 250 trips a month. That is 3000 trips per year, per station.

6 stations, at that rate, is about 18,000. Again, let's go hi. 20K a year -- or half of what Alexandria is projecting.

Is a usage level 2x Crystal city a reasonable assumption? For only six stations?

I said this on Washcycle, but tourists going long to Mt. Vernon will be a real asset to Alexandria-- if they use the Alexndria stations as their drop off point. That is tourist revenue Arlington, for instance, probably will never see.

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 10:43 am • linkreport

Old Town is the densest and most connected part of the city, with several bicycle routes, destinations, and 2 Metro stations to support Capital Bikeshare usage. While other areas of the city have higher population density, they don't have nearly the multimodal connections, destinations, and bicycle-supportive infrastructure that Old Town has.

This is a circle argument. "Old town already has excellent multimodal features. Let's install some more!" Or, upside-down "North and West Alexandria are more car dependent. Let's not put transit there". It makes no sense.

In fact, the fact that Old Town already has such excellent features is only a reason to move CaBi first to other parts of the city.

I wonder if you can get from Crystal City to Alexandria in under half an hour...

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

I think Alexandria is going to suffer from a mono-directional lopsidedness, with the Metro stations getting filled very quickly in the morning and emptied very quickly in the late afternoon.

The Metro-adjacent stations are going to have to be rather big, I think, and Alexandria will need a dedicated reshuffling van.

I haven't heard one way or another if this is considered in the budget.

by Joey on Oct 12, 2011 11:06 am • linkreport

Obviously there is some traffic between CC and the rest of the system.

Yeah. I bike virtually every day from Georgetown to Crystal City. 25 minutes of free exercise time every day. Strange thing is that it does not cost me any time. Getting from Georgetown to a metro station (without a bike) and riding metro for 4 stations is as fast/slow as biking the same distance.

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@Jasper,

From 15th & Crystal Dr in Arlington to Madison & Pitt in Alexandria is 4.0 miles using the Mt. Vernon Trail. It's 2.6 miles from S. Glebe and Potomac to the Braddock Road Metro avoiding Route 1. So, yes, it's accessible to the rest of the system.

Note: It's 3.1 miles from the closest station in Pentagon City (S. Joyce & Army Navy) to closest station in DC (19th & Constitution)

by Corey on Oct 12, 2011 11:09 am • linkreport

@Jasper; 25 minutes from Crystal City to Georgetown is pretty good -- given that you've got to deal with M st once you cross the Key Bridge. Or are you taking the other bridges now?

From the bikeshare people, I think they are seeing more people go from Rosslyn stations into DC than from CC into DC.

Rebalancing should be fun. Does ALTA need another van for Alexandria?

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

@Falls Church/charlie: you two apparently missed the part where the city will bring 6 more stations online later next year using FY 2013 money. So basically 12 stations (excluding any potential developer/TMP-funded stations) by the end of next year, not just 6.

@jasper: understand the circle logic, but two things to point out. First, Old Town has the multi-modal connections that will help make Bikeshare work. One could make the same argument for Del Ray, but Del Ray isn't quite as dense or destination-packed. Second, even within Old Town, there were concerns by some on City Council about "unleashing additional bicyclists" in an area with narrow streets and "limited bicycle infrastructure".

@Joey: I don't think that'll be as much of a problem as you expect. True, a lot of folks will be using CaBi over to the Metro. But at the same time, you have a large number of Old Town workers who commute down to King St by Metro and then walk or bus over to their job. The latter group will help with the rebalancing you're concerned about.

by Froggie on Oct 12, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

This will be great for the rather larger concentration of workers on the north end of Old Town with few eating amenities. Currently, most of your lunch hour is spent hoofing downt and back to King Street. Bring on the bikes.

by The Prophet on Oct 12, 2011 11:38 am • linkreport

There may be a balancing problem but usage won't be as mono-directional as some people assume. There should be a fairly substantial demand for bikes heading out from the Metro stations in the morning and back to Metro in the afternoon/evening because a lot of people work in the eastern part of Old Town near the river (and if not, that means there will always be a bike for me to ride to work in the morning).

by jimble on Oct 12, 2011 11:46 am • linkreport

Just one nit, on the map - the alignment of US 1 at the former Potomac Yards is outdated. The map shows it going along the old bridge between Powhatan St. and Monroe Ave., instead of the direct north-south alignment that it's had for at least two years now.

by Frank IBC on Oct 12, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

@ charlie:given that you've got to deal with M st once you cross the Key Bridge. Or are you taking the other bridges now?

I just cross M at Key Bridge. M street in Georgetown is best avoided at all times, regardless of your mode of transportation.

I just go down the hill, cross Key Bridge and am off on the Mt Vernon trail. I've also gone from the Georgetown Waterfront, and then under the Kennedy center and across the 14th St bridge. Is about the same time.

I'd go faster, but I'd need a 4th gear for that. I just can't peddle faster on a CaBi.

I would not know how to get to the right (east) side of Memorial bridge and Roosevelt bridge is a waste of time when coming from Georgetown. Now I think of it, I would not know by heart how to get to the DC side of the Roosevelt Bridge on bike. The spaghetti plate of roads around the Kennedy Center remains largely a mystery to me (despite having worked in Foggy Bottom for a few years).

I will say that going from CC to Georgetown takes me a few more minutes, because you have to go up more. Going down to Roosevelt Island is a lot more pleasant than getting up from there.

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 12:12 pm • linkreport

@Froggie, ok, I did miss that.

But you are talking about 6 stations for about 3 months (May-July), then 12 stations for 5 months.

Given those numbers I thew out before -- with the caveat they are eyeballed -- that means:

3x6x250=4500 trips
5x12x250=15,000 trips

or around 20K trips in 2012.

Even on an annualized basis, 12 stations at 250 trips a month is 36,000 trips a year.

12 stations is about the size of the crystal city pod.

Setting expcations is important. Bikeshare has been a success in DC. It has been a failure EOTR. CC has been very mediocre, and R-B, well, that's a work in progress.

What will make an Alexandria pod more successful than a CC pod? Again, looking at the numbers throw about, they are expecting it to be used about 2x as much as crystal city. Is that a reasonable assumption?

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 12:12 pm • linkreport

@Jasper; I've been taking the Roosevlet bridge over to the Kennedy center station -- very underused -- or cutting across Virginia to get to the back of the Waterfront (k st). Both avoid M st and the Key Bridge.

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

@ charlie: What will make an Alexandria pod more successful than a CC pod?

They need to make a good connection between the CC stations and the Alexandria. Alexandria and CC/Arlington should talk about that. Continuity along the Mt Vernon trail is important.

Unfortunately, planners only look at population density, while largely ignoring continuity along major bike routes. Arlington is making this mistake as well.

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 12:21 pm • linkreport

@jasper. You make an interesting point. And I do think the "hot map" isn't the best tool for station placement.

What cuold be intersting ti attaching some GPS units on a sample of bikes to look at actual patterns.

In terms of Mt. Vernon: as I said above, tourists (and others) doing joy-rides on Mt. Vernon represent part of the huge overage fees (800K) that makes bikeshare profitbale. To the extent that it is difficult to recharge a bike it makes the overage more sustainable. Bizzare but true.

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

There really should be a few stations in Del Ray that link King Street Metro up Commonwealth Ave and Braddock Rd Metro up Mt Vernon Ave to Crystal City. I imagine they will come in a future expansion.

by NikolasM on Oct 12, 2011 12:58 pm • linkreport

@Matt, what do you mean the distance between Metro and Old Town? There is no walk--the Metro is in Old Town (the top of it, sure, but in town nontheless). Old Town's way more than the waterfront, which isn't that long of a walk from Metro to begin with.

by Catherine on Oct 12, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

The stations in alexandria will probably give a bump to usage along Wilson. It is easier to commute to and from Ros and Clar from DC by far than it is to do so from alexandria. Lots of people who work out here are looking for transportation options around the edge of the river and along 50.

I bike M street to and from work several times a week. I do it on my road bike and sometimes in a single direction on a CaBi. It's a hot mess for drivers, but I do OK on the bike.

I also join my partner at the kennedy center from Roselyn using CaBi. It's a short downhill hop from here. You just have to go early to get a space in the dock.

Alexandria is going to get some heavy tourist and recreational usage from those stations all summer long. I would expect usage there to be a bit more seasonal than downtown, but heavy either way.

by CJ on Oct 12, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper: "I wonder if you can get from Crystal City to Alexandria in under half an hour...'

Yes. I live in Old Town and commuted to Crystal City more days than not last year. It was 25 minutes door to door, give or take, and I'm no speed demon. It was, however, to a more southern part of Crystal City (~23rd Street), which can make a difference. Also, it was the fastest mode of transport! Metrorail was slowest and most expensive (home to King Street, 10 or so minutes on train, 10+ minute walk in CC), Bus was scheduled to take about 25 but rarely did during rush hours. Bike was predictably 25, and free.

@Joey:"I think Alexandria is going to suffer from a mono-directional lopsidedness, with the Metro stations getting filled very quickly in the morning and emptied very quickly in the late afternoon. "

Potentially a problem for Braddock Road (which was, I bet, a reason for not placing stations in Del Ray just yet), but not for King Street. There are lots of offices in/around Old Town (locations 2 and 5 are major centers as are the proposed 7 and 8). Morning inbound commuters should take care of that. I'd be suprised if the waterfront stations get touched much earlier than 11 am. The proposed 11, 12, 16 and 10 are all major apartment complexes, and it's 11 and 12 (in addition to whatever Del Ray locations they put in) will be the source of any dockblocking at Braddock Road.

by Catherine on Oct 12, 2011 1:25 pm • linkreport

@ charlie:In terms of Mt. Vernon: as I said above, tourists (and others) doing joy-rides on Mt. Vernon represent part of the huge overage fees (800K) that makes bikeshare profitbale.

But it would be very interesting to tempt more tourists by installing a station at Mt Vernon. While CaBi is talking to the NPS about stuff on the Mall, they should definitively talk about stations in other "parks" such as Arlington Cemetery, and the GW, BWI, Rock Creek and Clara Barton *Park*ways. I see many people on CaBikes near Roosevelt Island, but they can't leave their CaBike anywhere unless they bring their own lock and pay a monstrous overage fee. I also see plenty of people sit in the grass next to the Mt Vernon trail with a CaBi in the grass.

CaBi should work in getting stations at those points. They will be used. And overage fees will be paid.

@ Catherine:It was 25 minutes door to door, give or take, and I'm no speed demon. It was, however, to a more southern part of Crystal City (~23rd Street), which can make a difference.

Interesting. I am one of those cheapskates that makes sure to dock every half hour. But if I can get to CC, change bikes and then bike to Alexandria, I'd love to bike to Braddock Rd or King St and extend my ride.

On the other hand, it's getting dark earlier and earlier...

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

@Jasper, Arlington Cemetery is owned by the Army, except for that portion around the Lee House. So there's one more bureaucracy to go through.

by Tim Krepp on Oct 12, 2011 2:40 pm • linkreport

Does WMATA have any appreciable land where the entrance to the Arlington Cemetery Metro station? Or what about the cemetery parking lot? (I seem to remember that being under NPS control, or perhaps I'm just thinking that because Tourmobile used it).

by Jacques on Oct 12, 2011 2:59 pm • linkreport

Once again...a shame taxpayers are footing the bill for this...however much merit BikeShare has. What happens when the funds run out? Who is left to foot the bill? If the taxpayers don't want it...what then? Great idea...but let's not expand this too much until a private company can make it work financially.

by Pelham1861 on Oct 12, 2011 3:52 pm • linkreport

@ Pelham1861:What happens when the funds run out? Who is left to foot the bill?

I dunno. What happens when all the road tax money has been spent?

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 4:27 pm • linkreport

charlie -- pods per se aren't a bad thing. The right preconditions have to be in place for them to work. Plus there needs to be station density.

EOTR doesn't have either. Neither does CC. Both have serious preconditions issues, although they differ on what they are.

CC is mostly occupied during the day by office workers, who if they are like the people who live in the suburbs and work in DC, don't know anything about the environment they are in during the day, other than the route they take to and from their office by either transit or driving. So how are they going to learn about bikeshare for one? Second, most office workers don't have much free time during the day to do something other than eat. Most people have 30 minutes for lunch and might spend an hour + out for lunch at least one day/week. That's it for their discretionary time. And they probably are close enough to their job from a parking structure or transit to not have to bike.

CC is a success in terms of being used as one more branding tool by the CC Business Improvement District to demonstrate that Crystal City is "cool" and vibrant and exciting. Bikeshare usage, not so much, but that probably isn't an issue for them. I don't know how much marketing is done either, and if there is a focused attempt to boost usage.

Sure, from a system standpoint the stations are underutilized and would generate more use elsewhere, but the "system" didn't pay for the stations, the Crystal City BID did, so too bad.

by Richard Layman on Oct 12, 2011 4:56 pm • linkreport

@ Richard Layman CC is mostly occupied during the day by office workers, who if they are like the people who live in the suburbs and work in DC, don't know anything about the environment they are in during the day, other than the route they take to and from their office by either transit or driving. So how are they going to learn about bikeshare for one?

Because they're not blind? Those red bikes stick out in the grey concrete jungle of Crystal City.

I think the CC stations just suffer from being relatively isolated stations at the periphery of the system. If you look at the stations in northern DC and Rosslyn, many of them are equally underused.

On the other hand, I doubt that Alexandria would be so enthusiastic if there were no bikes in CC.

My point is that as soon as these peripheral stations get more embedded their usage will increase.

To put it differently. Why would someone in Crystal City use one within the POD? Unless you're near one of the extreme stations, you can probably walk faster. So, the only place you can go from CC is to DC. With Alexandria joining, suddenly, users can go two directions. As Arlington rolls out its stations, a third direction opens up.

by Jasper on Oct 12, 2011 8:43 pm • linkreport

I don't see how Del Ray would work. Yes, you could put stations along Mount Vernon Ave. at Monroe and maybe Oxford but then what? Since the new Monroe Ave. bridge (Rt. 1) was not designed with bikers in mind (5' to 6' wide walkways? Are you kidding???) there is no reasonable link with Potomac Yard and Old Town. MVA and Monroe Ave. is a good half mile from Braddock Road Metro, pretty isolated. MVA in Arlandria is not bike friendly at all - bikes are encouraged to use Commonwealth.

The bottom line is that the only way these neighborhoods can be served better is with better buses. The existing lines all suck and ought to be replaced.

One place that could work is Potomac Yard once Potomac Ave. opens up because that's a pretty easy connection to Crystal City. I'm also surprised that Slaters isn't getting any stations. I would think that they have sufficient balance.

by movement on Oct 12, 2011 9:15 pm • linkreport

@Movement: The Monroe Avenue bridge is really quite easy, even pleasant, to bike across, and both Braddock Road and Commonwealth Avenue offer reasonable alternate connections from Del Ray to Old Town if you don't like the bridge. I don't know how the width of the sidewalks on the bridge limits connectivity between Del Ray and Potomac Yard, because both neighborhoods are on the same end of it.

Once bikeshare has established itself in Old Town, expansion to Del Ray will be a no-brainer. A quick CaBi ride between Braddock Road station and the Mt. Vernon Avenue strip will be a very popular and useful transportation option, and CaBi commutes from Del Ray to jobs in Old Town and Crystal City will be a breeze. Almost makes me wish I still lived there.

by jimble on Oct 12, 2011 10:25 pm • linkreport

I disagree that Mt. Vernon Ave is "not bike friendly". True it doesn't have the bike lanes that Commonwealth has, but traffic is relatively slow and there are sharrows painted. I bike along MVA a lot and have never had a problem.

by Froggie on Oct 13, 2011 7:50 am • linkreport

Jasper -- good point wrt "need". It'd be worth it to ride to Pentagon City from Crystal Drive. Maybe there isn't that much demand. That actually is one of the issues downtown. Within downtown, since most people only travel a couple blocks to do stuff once they're there, they don't have that much demand to do it by bicycling (me I only like to walk 1/2 block--I'll ride if it's farther).

good point (of course it goes without saying) about locations on the periphery not being optimal.

I do disagree about one thing though. Just 'cause the bikes are red and visible isn't enough for marketing and true awareness about what they are for...

by Richard Layman on Oct 13, 2011 8:00 am • linkreport

As a person who has commuted from Old Town to DC for years, I think the arrival of the bikeshare program is great. However, since folks began to use the bikeshare in DC, I've encountered people riding on the left side of the road facing traffic; folks with plastic grocery bags hanging from the handlebars, hence decreasing the stability and responsiveness of the bike; people riding without helmuts; and people riding in large groups on the bike trails taking up the entire trail and not allowing other cyclists to pass. It is incumbent on WABA, bikeshare, and other biking advocates to educate the public in intelligent, predictable riding both on and off trails. Too many people get hurt biking and too many bicyclists run red lights and emerge from sidewalks on to oncoming traffic unpredicably--and in doing so endanger themselves and give all cyclists a bad name. Not just any inexperienced person can ride well; it takes experience and education.

by Ernie on Oct 13, 2011 9:42 am • linkreport

Ernie, that behavior existed before bikeshare. WABA has teamed up with DDOT and other agencies to give low-cost and free classes to cyclists of all ages. But more can probably be done with Street Smarts. Still, I think bad behavior is rarely due to people not knowing any better.

by David C on Oct 13, 2011 9:49 am • linkreport

David - regarding your comment that "bad behavior is rarely due to people now knowing better": I think much bad behavior is due to ignorance. But you are also correct that some people just don't care. Thanks.

by Ernie on Oct 13, 2011 9:58 am • linkreport

@ Ernie:However, since folks began to use the bikeshare in DC, I've encountered people

Yeah yeah, there are idiots on bikes. However, many of them wear spandex as well. And guess what, I even meet more idiots in cars. Do you know how many are incapable of understanding that the middle of a pedestrian crossing is not a good place to put your car?

All I'm saying is that idiocy is not related to CaBi usage.

I think much bad behavior is due to ignorance

Make that willful ignorance, carelessness and arrogance.

by Jasper on Oct 13, 2011 10:21 am • linkreport

Regarding Monroe Ave. bridge, come on. If there is a single pedestrian on the bridge, biking across it is dangerous. Five feet is not enough width. I would not recommend biking from Old Town to Potomac Yard. If you want to get from Old Town to Del Ray, take Braddock.

My comments on Mount Vernon Ave. only apply to Arlandria (i.e. north of Commonwealth Ave.). South of Commonwealth biking is fine. North it is too narrow and there are too many nonchalant pedestrians. Taking Commonwealth around is the only safe way to go.

People aren't going to use CaBi to commute from Del Ray to Old Town. If they were going to be biker commuters, they would already own a bike. This isn't like the middle of DC where there residences lack storage sheds and theft is prevalent. They could bike from Braddock Road into Del Ray, but I don't see why unless all they want is ice cream. If they are going shopping then biking is the absolute worst mode of transportation available. That is what the bus is for.

by movement on Oct 13, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

@movement

People aren't going to use CaBi to commute from Del Ray to Old Town. If they were going to be biker commuters, they would already own a bike.

You could've said the same thing about DC - and you would've been wrong.

CaBi lowers the barriers to entry for biking (no matter if it's for commuting or for errands or for fun or just to get around). The ability to take a one-way trip and not commit to round-trip on a bike is huge.

by Alex B. on Oct 13, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

WRT Ernie's comments, I am one of the people who carry groceries on my handlebars (and in a backpack)... but the funny thing is that bikeshare RFPs almost uniformly have suggested requirements to include info on safe biking practices on the system maps, on the website, and in other printed materials provided.

The Cabi kiosk sheets don't provide this kind of information. It is usually in local jurisdiction's bike maps and ought to be reprinted onto these materials as well.

by Richard Layman on Oct 13, 2011 11:35 am • linkreport

I stand corrected on Monroe Ave. Bridge. I just checked it out today. The eastern side of the bridge is 3 feet wider (8-9 feet depending on position of the columns). That is fine for bike traffic. However, there is no signage nudging bikers off of the west wide of the bridge.

by movement on Oct 13, 2011 1:39 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.
You could've said the same thing about DC - and you would've been wrong.

Please don't put words in my mouth. I had no reason to believe that CaBi would struggle in the district and never said anything against those plans. I also believe CaBi is well-suited for Old Town. I know I would have used it if I was still working there. However, Del Ray is a completely different type of neighborhood and I don't think CaBi would be as successful there.

by movement on Oct 13, 2011 2:23 pm • linkreport

@movement

How is Del Ray any different from some of DC's residential neighborhoods that have successful CaBi operations? That's what you haven't fully explained.

by Alex B. on Oct 13, 2011 2:29 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.
1. It is relatively sparsely populated (both businesses and residences), much more sparse than Old Town. DC has many roads with commerce on them but Del Ray really only has Mount Vernon Ave. Even if you put stations every quarter mile between Monroe and Commonwealth, you still have a significant walk to most residences.

2. Car ownership is very high and parking is ample and free. I would rather bike than drive to Old Town but I wouldn't think twice about telling someone to drive to Del Ray.

On the flip side, I haven't seen anyone make the case of who the target market is for CaBi and how that market matches the Del Ray neighborhood.

by movement on Oct 13, 2011 4:27 pm • linkreport

Just building off movement's point, storage is a key issue.

In a multiple unit building, or apartment, what is your bike storage? Shared rack? Bike room? I have to carry it up two floor and leave it on my balcony after two bikes were stolent from the bike room. There are plenty of times when I want to ride, but it isn't worth hauling the bike out. Bike-sharing can elimaite that. My GF's apartmetn doesn't have space for a bike.

Single family houses -- much less of an issue.

by charlie on Oct 13, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

Having spent a fair amount of time in DelRay, I can see some of the arguments against, but I think there are also some significant reasons why Del Ray could be huge for bikeshare usage.

1) As movement mentioned, the demographic largely matches the main bikeshare demographics. (20s-30s singles, couples, and young families).
2) There is a relative lack of alternatives to driving available to folks that live in the area.
3) I would like to see a heat map before really digging in on this one, but I think the density is much higher than your average single-family home dominated neighborhood. Many of the homes (I'm thinking particularly those near the northeast quadrant of the MVA-Monroe intersection) are actually 1,000 sq foot rowhouses, bringing considerably more density than, say, North Arlington, but also meaning many of them don't actually have a ton of space for indoor bike storage. Additionally, there are several apartment complexes on Commonwealth, a few on MVA, and some smaller complexes on the eastern side of MVA (thinking on Bellefonte and a few others). Putting one or two stations in the small pocket parks in the neighborhoods would put another 300-400 people within a couple of blocks of each bike station.
4. Plenty of bikeable destinations nearby. Now, this assumes that Potomac Yards would also be getting stations, but if it does, then it opens up plenty of nearby destinations for Del Ray-ans (Del Ray-ites?): Potomac Yards (which would not be bike-able for large trips to Target or Shoppers, but fine for going to the movies, dinner, or to many of the other shops), Old Town, Crystal City, Pentagon Row, etc.
5. Connects the network. Like someone else said in this thread, pod systems are less successful the more isolated they are. Adding a set of stations in Del Ray turns two current pods (Crystal/Pentagon City, and Old Town) into more of a part of a seamless network.

In fact, I think Del Ray bears a lot of similarities to Mount Pleasant. Smallish commercial district, and a lot of rowhomes, all of which have space for bikes, and many of which have people with their own bikes, but a ton of demand, once the opportunity for bikeshare is presented.

by Jacques on Oct 14, 2011 9:43 am • linkreport

@Jacques

I agree - in terms of population density, Del Ray isn't tremendously different from Old Town, believe it or not. Certainly not in employment density, but it's similar for residential.

Whether or not people have their own bikes isn't really the issue. Not all bike trips are created equal - bikeshare fills a different niche. One-way trips, bike trips linked with other modes, pedestrian acceleration trips, etc.

Del Ray serves the purpose of a) providing service to that neighborhood, and b) helping to bridge the gap between the nascent Alexandria pod and the Crystal City pod.

by Alex B. on Oct 14, 2011 9:51 am • linkreport

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