Greater Greater Washington

Montgomery hopes to add 50 Capital Bikeshare stations

Building on the success of Capital Bikeshare in DC and Arlington County, Montgomery County is preparing to submit a grant application to the Maryland DOT to help fund bike sharing in the lower county region.


Photo by bryandc2 on Flickr.

The plan for 400 bicycles at 50 stations was presented Tuesday night a public meeting at the County Executive offices in Rockville.

County planning and transportation officials presented proposed station plans for the urban areas of the county. Bike stations are proposed in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Friendship Heights, and other areas along both legs of the Red Line.

The additional stations will provide connections within those activity centers and to places in the District.

As a side note, in planning talks, DDOT has agreed to expand bike sharing stations north between the system core and the new clusters in Bethesda, Silver Spring & Takoma Park to help connect the entire system.

The new stations will be in addition to 20 stations being installed in a cluster around the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations. The Rockville stations were funded through a Job Access/Reverse Commute grant program.

Montgomery County DOT Director Art Holmes spoke briefly about the expansion of Bikeshare to the county. He told attendees, "we are very committed to this program". Officials cautioned that the bike sharing program is contingent on the awarding of the state grants and may need to be built in phases.

However, they feel very confident in their grant application. The Maryland grants are through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds with a local match of 20% required.

Maps already showed some prospective station locations and attendees were asked to give additional ideas by placing stickers on the maps. If you couldn't attend the meeting, you can give your feedback using the Capital Bikeshare crowdsourcing map.

Of course, there are siting issues. Consultant to the county, Paul DeMaio of MetroBike, explained requirements for a station. Considerations include access to direct sun, enough space, ownership agreements, access to the station, proximity to bicycle infrastructure, and so on.

If Montgomery receives the grant, they expect to begin installing the Bikeshare stations in Fall/Winter of 2012.

WABA is excited to see bike sharing grow and to see the promotion of bicycle transportation in the region. We hope to see the needed infrastructure improvements, education offerings and necessary enforcement to make the system a success in the county as we have seen in DC and Arlington.

Cross-posted at Quick Release.

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Gregory Billing is Advocacy Coordinator at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.  

Comments

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Now that makes me excited! I live in Silver Spring and want to ride a bike but don't want to throw down $1000 (2 bikes @ $500 each) so I can ride bikes for both transportation and recreation with my girlfriend.

It'll also help better connect our downtowns on both sides of Rock Creek Park.

by Cavan on Dec 1, 2011 1:55 pm • linkreport

$500? I bought a used bike off Craigslist for $180 last year, and even with some improvements (basket, lights) and repairs (new brakes, chain, etc.) I haven't spent more than $300.

Anyway, I'm excited to see bikesharing come to Montgomery County. Now, if only we can get some actual lanes, sharrows, etc. to ride said bikeshare bikes on.

by dan reed! on Dec 1, 2011 2:32 pm • linkreport

Are Alta and Bixi going to be able to keep up with the demand for new bikes and stations, especially with the onslaught of demand to build equipment for NYC's system?

Alta announced that 34 new stations would be installed in DC in November, but they only managed to install 6. The timeline for the Arlington expansion has always been a bit more nebulous, although it seems to be going a lot more slowly than most people were led to believe. Granted, Alta did install about 6 more stations in Arlington, and expanded several in the District last month, although even with those factors considered, they'll seriously need to step up their efforts if they want to install the number of stations that are currently or expected to be on order by the end of next year.

As far as I can tell, if everything goes according to plan, this would bring the number of new stations pending installation in 2012 to 260, leaving us with around 375 total stations, which is more than 3x the size of the current system. As far as Bixi are concerned, they've already got pending orders for 600 stations for NYC and 130 in London.

by andrew on Dec 1, 2011 2:43 pm • linkreport

I just hope they put the stations in logical locations so people will use them. I really dont see how locating stations in rockville or shady grove will have enough ridership to justify the cost. There simply isnt enough density

by mike on Dec 1, 2011 2:47 pm • linkreport

"This bikeshare thing will never work! What a waste of money!"

--The Ghost of Naysayer's Past.

Now, if we can just get this streetcar thing running so I can mercilessly crow about the unexpected success of that next.

by oboe on Dec 1, 2011 2:47 pm • linkreport

Car happy Montgomery County desperately wants to improve their livability by promoting cycling. But is throwing down a bunch of bike share stations without first providing any desirable infrastructure the way to go?

I say it's putting the cart before the horse.

by JeffB on Dec 1, 2011 2:55 pm • linkreport

Andrew brings up a good point about BIXI. London is expanding before the Olympics. NYC is starting up. Boston is expanding. And of course Capital Bikeshare is expanding. Does BIXI have the manufacturing capacity to keep up with these expansions as well as providing replacement parts?

by Corey on Dec 1, 2011 2:55 pm • linkreport

I wouldn't consider MoCo "car happy." If anything, it's "bus happy." I'm excited to see bikeshare, but there definitely needs to be some thinking to make sure the bazillion bus lines crisscrossing downtown Silver Spring don't start taking out bikesharers by the dozen.

by jag on Dec 1, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

@Corey: I honestly don't know if Bixi make the docks that are used in London. The design of their docks and kiosks is considerably different from the other Bixi systems in use.

by andrew on Dec 1, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

It's not like you can't ride a bike in MoCo. People do. Enough so that they're are constant letters to the editor complaining about them. It could be better, but they have several good trails, bike lanes etc...Rockville is a LAB-recognized bicycle friendly community. Getting more people to bike will create the political will to add more infrastructure. It's more putting the egg before the chicken* then putting the cart before the horse.

*Which is how science tells us it happened

by David C on Dec 1, 2011 4:45 pm • linkreport

The kiosks in London are similar enough to be interchangeable. Indeed, I noticed some London docks installed in Minneapolis (mix-up at the factory?). The difference is that they're hard-wired and embedded rather than in solar-powered modules.

As for the production issues, I would imagine that PBSC/Bixi knew what it was getting into when it bid on the NYC contract with Alta.

by Payton on Dec 1, 2011 5:22 pm • linkreport

@Andrew. BIXI makes the docks for London. They might be slightly different but they're coming from the same company (and i assume same factory but I don't know for sure).

Remember the delays in the first round of CaBi expansion (Judicary Square, Wilson Building, Rosslyn, etc.) were blamed on manufacturing delays from BIXI. That's what raised concerns for me when BIXI (via Alta) won New York with so many other planned expansions. If BIXI struggled to cope with minor expansions in DC and Minneapolis while launching Boston, Toronto, and Ottawa this summer, how in the world are they going to cope with major expansions in London and DC/MoCo/Arlington/NPS/Alexandria while launching NYC next year?

by Corey on Dec 1, 2011 9:35 pm • linkreport

I agree that it will be interesting to see if Bixi can come through for everyone. It will be a problem if they can't and they prioritize NYC and London, leaving DC, Boston, Toronto etc behind.

Another problem they may have is ramping up production for 1,000+ stations for 2012-2013...and then not having the demand anywhere close to that in 2014 (unless of course, they get another big city).

It would be interesting to see what the internal discussions are. Hopefully, they can come through.

by JJJJJ on Dec 2, 2011 4:06 am • linkreport

In all likelihood Bixi will get the Chicago contract too. The short tender period for the RFP and other factors were shaped to favor them. Chicago's primary concern is launching before NYC.

by Someone on Dec 2, 2011 5:49 am • linkreport

@JeffB. I think you're on to something. At this point, I'm a pretty experienced rider, but I'm always nervous when I head out from the District into either MoCo or PG. The average speed limits go up, the shoulders and sidewalks go down, and closing speeds increase. I'd like to see some lanes/sideswalks/etc, at least within the area of lower Montgomery County where most of these stations will presumably go. (I'd start with real sidewalks along WI, CT, GA, and NH aves.)

That said, more brightly colored flashing bicycles ridden by people who look like neither Mad Max nor Lance Armstrong is a net plus.

by Bill on Dec 2, 2011 9:12 am • linkreport

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