Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Metro tests secure parking with new "bike and ride"

Metro riders now have the option to use secure bike parking at the College Park station. At a grand opening today, WMATA officials welcomed riders to the new indoor storage facility.


All photos by the author.

The new "bike and ride" facility is located in the bottom level of the parking garage at the College Park station. This area was originally set aside for future retail, and has now been config­ured to accommodate parking for approximately 120 bicycles.

At the opening, Deputy General Manager Carol Kissal announced that by next summer, Metro would be opening new bike and ride facilities at Vienna and King Street stations, and hopes to expand the program further.

For WMATA, increasing secure bike storage is an obvious choice. The facility at College Park currently can handle 120 bicycles, but parking capacity can be doubled with the installation of more double-decker racks. The facility takes up about the same amount of space as 10 car parking spaces, according to officials.

WMATA is trying to encourage more people to bike to their stations, and providing a secure place to park is an important aspect of achieving that goal. By 2020, the agency hopes to triple the number of people cycling to their stations.


The entrance kiosk at the new Bike and Ride.

Parking costs 5 cents per hour during the day and 2 cents per hour overnight. Riders gain access to the facility and pay for parking with an access card from a company called BikeLink. There are no annual fees, only a one-time $5 fee for customer ID verification.

BikeLink will manage the facility for WMATA, and has the incentive to encourage bicycling to the station, since they take home the revenue generated by the facility. WMATA will win by getting additional rail and bus fare revenue from those who chose to College Park because of the facility.

WMATA chose College Park for the pilot program because it's already one of the top stations for cycling. In the 2011 bike parking census, it came out in third place systemwide. Additionally, the space in the garage was available, and a third of people parking at the station come from three miles away or less, which means many are already within biking distance.


Parking at the bike and ride.

Also demonstrating their commitment to bicycling, Kissal, Assistant General Manager Nat Bottigheimer, and several other WMATA employees biked to College Park from the WMATA headquarters near Judiciary Square.

This facility is a great addition to the Metro network and promises to be the first of many similar secure bicycle parking areas around Metro.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master's in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Greenbelt. Hes a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Planning Department. His views are his own and do not represent the opinion of his employer. 

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Neat! But what's the contraption in the final photograph?

by Adam L on May 15, 2012 2:17 pm • linkreport

@Adam L:
It's a double-decker bike rack. By installing more of those, they could double the capacity of the Bike and Ride.

by Matt Johnson on May 15, 2012 2:21 pm • linkreport

@MJ

Ohhh... fancy. I figured as much, but it just seems terribly complicated. Haha

by Adam L on May 15, 2012 2:29 pm • linkreport

Any plans for a similar installation at Mt Vernon Square?

by Ned on May 15, 2012 2:42 pm • linkreport

Perhaps I'm just confused. How is this secure? I mean, how are the bike thieves and other ne'er-do-wells prevented from entering? Is it required to be in the program (and have an access card) to enter? Can anyone enter? How is it verified that I'm taking my bike out and not stealing someone else's?

I'm sure all these questions have been answered before, I just don't understand it for this implementation.

by Confused on May 15, 2012 3:09 pm • linkreport

I guess if I'd bothered to click on the link for the Bike "N Ride at the top of the article, many of my questions would be answered.

I blame too many years of reading Slashdot where it is de-rigeur and almost expected to comment first, read the links later.

But, the bottom line is that this seems much more secure than "regular" bike parking but isn't as secure as I'd like to see it. I'm still happy with it - it is a big step in the right direction by WMATA.

by Confused on May 15, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

Access is restricted. You would need ID, as the article ntoes, for an access card. Hopefully it's also monitored by camera. Between those two steps, if one were to steal a bike, there would be a nice electronic trail leading back to . . . John on Craiglist.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

Also there are hellhounds outside - you can't see them in the photos though.

by David C on May 15, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

I can't believe that anyone ever thought that retail would work at that location.

by dcdriver on May 15, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

@dcdriver-I can see a bike repair and supply shop...

by Tina on May 15, 2012 5:25 pm • linkreport

Oh good, yet another access card. Add this to your SmarTrip, CaBi fob, ZipCard, car2go fob, ...

by Gavin on May 15, 2012 6:11 pm • linkreport

While I'm happy WMATA is addressing bikes, I hope they keep this away from my station (King St). The parking is already decently safe (though there's not enough) and I don't want to pay 50for cents/day for something I get for free now. That would bring mythe daily commute up to $7.50/day and would be enough for me to be a 100% of the time bike commuter (I'm part time now) and use my savings to pay for the occasional taxi instead of giving WMATA another dime of my money. Also, if they leave the racks outside the other two entrances (which I doubt), I'm sure most other people will feel the same and competition for those spaces will be much worse than even now. Insane.

by Catherine on May 15, 2012 6:36 pm • linkreport

Catherine: What you say makes sense, but nobody—even WMATA—would be that disappointed if you became a 100% bike commuter. More bike commuting is good for everyone.

WMATA's goal isn't to get as many people to ride Metro as possible, it's to help everyone get where they need to go. If you can get there by bike, great! It's better for health, too.

by David Alpert on May 15, 2012 6:43 pm • linkreport

I agree, David. I used to be a full time bike commuter from Old Town to Capitol Hill and I seriously miss it but the new job at Gallery Place is (a) lacking facilities (b)lacking flexibility. Those two combined with the relative distance make getting in on time difficult. I wish these folks wouldn't get snippy about 9:02 but they do.

And as for the parking...I don't know. We need more spaces but this is *not* a high crime area and my bike's been messed with exactly once in all the years I've lived here (bike locked to front stoop) and parked it at Metro. I see this as taking away a free offering, replacing it with something "better" but totally unnecessary and charging for it. That's a gut reaction, mind, but it is how it feels to me.

by Catherine on May 15, 2012 6:55 pm • linkreport

@Catherine:
The Bike and Ride at College Park did not "replace" anything. It added 120 additional spaces that are secure and available for a price. But all of the other "free" racks are still in place.

In all likelihood, when this comes to King Street, you'll still have the option to park your bike for free at a rack or to take it for free on a bus.

So at College Park, all of the racks that were free yesterday are still free today. And in addition, there are new spaces that are more secure for those who are willing to pay (which may free up some of the "free" racks).

by Matt Johnson on May 15, 2012 7:01 pm • linkreport

Matt, I'm talking about why I want them to stay away from King Street. I don't know the College Park layout but it sounds as if they did this with unused space. Now, the only place there's room for such a facility at King Street already houses the bulk of the free bike parking (inside the station's main entrance, in front of the station manager booth). Maybe they'll take the racks outside the other entrances away, maybe they won't. Knowing WMATA, they will. But even if they don't, the demand for those will be such that many people have no choice other than to pay. I am SO SICK of being literally nickeld and dimed by WMATA, I'm on the verge of buying a car for the first time in my adult life just to ensure I *never* have to use that system ever again. And this is just yet another example, compiled on top of years of examples.

by Catherine on May 15, 2012 7:26 pm • linkreport

Weren't there plans to add one of these to West Hyattsville (although I'm not sure where it would go with no garage)? At the intersection of several branches of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System, and future plans to upgrade Ager Rd. to a "green" street with bicycle features, this would be an ideal location for one of the system's busiest cycling stations.

by Scott on May 16, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

@Catherine: The concept for these Bike & Rides is to expand upon existing bike parking - not to replace existing racks. It seems likely that with the expansion, more racks will become available as some percentage of cyclists switch from racks to the Bike & Ride. Metro is in the midst of an aggressive plan to expand bike parking across the system, so more racks may also be in the works.

At King St, the location of the Bike & Ride is likely going to be incorporated into the new kiss & ride design, or possibly will be placed in the area under the tracks between King St and Commonwealth Ave.

by AVguy on May 16, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

@AVguy,

I understand that that is the concept but the practice may be different--at least at King Street, the station whose layout and parking I'm most familiar with. If they really move things around with the new kiss and ride design so that there really are more free racks available, great.

But the area you mention under King and Commonwealth--those areas already provide the rest of the existing parking (are you familiar with the station and its layout and parking areas at all?). I park on the rack that is on the corner of Commonwealth and Cameron, by the smaller entrance that has a station manager. There's simply not room for something that big there, it's a small corner and the inside part of the station is small as well and can't be blocked off because that's where the elevators are. The other area under the tracks that's on King itself currently houses I'd estimate 40% of the existing parking. So if it's inside the station like I think it will be,(50% of the existing parking) or on the King St entrance, either way you're replacing a significant portion of existing free parking with something "better" but that is unnecessary (the secure part, not the more parking part) and not free.

Braddock Road station, by the way, could REALLY use the extra spots. King Street station parking is difficult but you can usually find a open space or at least a nearby sign or rail to lock up. Braddock--not so much. You should see the place during the day. And I'm pretty sure that there's a large amount of interior space there that's not being used for bike parking currently (I have not used the Braddock Road station in a while, however, so I could be wrong). Seems like a better candidate to me--higher need, and the likely area for more (and paid) parking is not already being used.

by Catherine on May 16, 2012 12:38 pm • linkreport

I recently became a member at Bikestation at Union Station. Bikestation seems to be working quite well. In terms of security, the double decker racks there do have posts for you to lock your bike to, and there are employees in the mini bike store next door. And I think there are cameras. You need a key fob to get in. That seems like a sufficient level of security.

It would be great to see something like this at Gallery Place and Metro Center so people could park their bikes on the way in from work - I don't have this problem as my workplace has basement parking. People should definitely lobby their employers (who should lobby building managers). I've got by with just a wipe down with a towel in summer, when I was cycling to Dupont from Alexandria, so people may be able to get by without shower facilities.

by Weiwen Ng on May 16, 2012 2:18 pm • linkreport

Hah, Catherine, I also park at the same tiny bike rack on Commonwealth! (When CaBi arrives, though, I might just use that as I do on the DC end of my commute.) I'd appreciate some way to keep the birds away, ahem.

As Matt mentions in the post, Metro's bike-parking goal is to triple the number of people like you and me who bike to Metro. They can't do that by reducing the number of parking spots, either paid or unpaid. At King Street, there will soon be more space for Metro riders of all sorts when those few *car* parking spaces go away as part of the Kiss & Ride redesign.

by Payton on May 16, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

Funny, Payton! And you know that little (likely abandoned) "trick" bike that was parked closest to the wall for the LONGEST time until someone managed to push it out of the way? Well it's mysteriously appeared on the King Street entrance's rack.

And I'm not sure my point is getting across, so I'll break it down. Pretend that right now King Street Station has a total of 100 spots. 50 of them are inside the main entrance, near the station manager booth (Spot A). 40 are on the King Street entrance (Spot B), 10 on Commonwealth Ave entrance (Spot C). All are free (and all covered from the elements).

Unless they're going to build something brand new in what is currently the car parking lot or somewhere (which is possible as they are getting rid of the car parking lot as part of the redesign), the only two places they could put a facility like the one discussed are Spot A and Spot B. So they'd be taking 40 or 50 free spaces and replacing them with 100+ paid spaces. A net gain of spaces in general, yes. But what does that leave? only 50 or 60 free spaces, where we used to have 100. That is taking away free spaces and will create more competition than there already is.

And also, my opinion of WMATA as it is, I would not put it past them to actually take away all of the free spaces so that people are forced to use the paid space. I really wouldn't. Especially because the Metro employees just love to use the Commonwealth Ave sidewalk as free car/truck/van parking for themselves. No bike rack there would let them squeeze two cars on the sidewalk!

I understand that they're trying to increase the number of people who ride to the stations (especially because they're planning on charging these people), but to do that they need to provide (a) easier access and (b) more spaces. Possibly, in areas with trouble with theft and vandalism (c) security. But King Street does not have those problems. Why the "fancyness" of a locked room with a swipe card? Why not just give us 50 more spaces and call it a day?

They're taking the need for more spaces and using it as an opportunity to further nickel and dime their riders. Not okay.

by Catherine on May 16, 2012 3:16 pm • linkreport

@Catherine:
I do want to be clear on one point: WMATA will not get any of the fees generated by cycle parking in the BikeLink facilities.

So WMATA does not have an incentive to "force" people to pay an additional $0.50 per day, just for the revenue.

The only goal is to get more people to bike to the station, regardless of whether they park in a secure or an unsecure location.

I do appreciate you elaborating on the details about bike parking at King Street. I'll pass on your concerns to the people I've spoken with at Metro.

by Matt Johnson on May 16, 2012 3:31 pm • linkreport

Catherine, it sounds like what you're against is losing your current parking situation - not against have a Bike & Ride at King Station. I would agree that they should balance the needs of current users against future users and I think they'll be able to build the new facility without any loss to you.

by David C on May 16, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

Thanks, Matt, I appreciate it. I'm not trying to be difficult (though, clearly, my frustration level with WMATA is at an all time high. And I'm not kidding about seriously considering the purchase of a car as a remedy for this frustration. And I haaaattteee owning a car.). It's just that I know this station pretty well and I get the impression that the people championing this do not. Admittedly, I don't use the King Street entrance very much (Spot B), but I'll go out that way tonight and see if something could be done inside the station there (something's clicking in my mind that there's a lot of empty space there but it's been a while).

I love that WMATA is paying attention to bicycles, I love that they have a plan etc. I'm glad to hear that it's not WMATA trying to squeeze blood from a stone for a change of pace (I misread that sentence and intitially thought the "they" referred to WMATA), but it doesn't change the fact that it would be a 50 cent per day increase, which I doubt most people will pay.

The more I think about it, the more King might just be a bad choice for this project. "A third of people parking [cars] at the station come from three miles away or less, which means many are already within biking distance". That works because 50 cents per day to park your bike is a significant savings over....I don't even know how many dollars per day to park your car. There is no long term car parking at King Street, so there's no incentive there. It's only "hey, here's something you don't really need that until we came along was free.....pay us now!"....a negative incentive if you ask me.

So my question stands...rather than outsourcing this to a for-profit company (providing a service not really needed), why not just provide what's actually needed---more spaces period? The racks can't cost that much and would do more to encourage biking to the station than "cough up an extra 50 cents for no good reason" would.

by Catherine on May 16, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

David,

Sort of. I'm not against bringing Bike and Ride to King Street if long as it doesn't displace the existing spots. It's partly from a selfish standpoint (because I will most certainly not be using the Bike and Ride and I doubt many other current users will and it'll make it harder for me in the mornings), but also just because it doesn't make any sense to replace a free service with an “upgraded” paid one when that upgrade is not needed. Also, as I stated above, College Park is a totally different example. The facility went into an unused space and is targeted at those who would otherwise drive and park at the station. There is no unused space at King Street (except maybe inside the Spot B entrance—haven’t used that one in ages, I’ll check it out), and there’s no long term parking to try to get people to switch from.

Again, I do love the direction WMATA is going in with this, I just wonder if this particular set of circumstances is the best way to exercise the plan. And again, why not just throw another 2 or 3 racks worth of spaces inside the main entrance (space wise, this is possible) and call it a day?

by Catherine on May 16, 2012 4:04 pm • linkreport

I don't think it's fair to call it unneeded. Bike theft is one of the most common crimes within the Metro system and it has been rising fast. Whether King Street has a problem or not I don't know, but nonetheless it is a systemwide issue.

Furthermore, during their meeting on biking to Metro a couple of years ago this was the #1 complaint. It is very likely that there are people who would bike to the metro if there were a more secure way to store their bike. 50 cents a day is $125 a year - about the cost of a locker - and people pay for the lockers.

by David C on May 16, 2012 5:29 pm • linkreport

That's precisely my point, the people championing this "don't know". Have you ever even been to King Street Station? Ridden a bike there? No, in my experience there is not a problem with bike theft or vandalism. It is a very safe station in general, and specifically, the bulk of the bike parking is inside the station in pain view of the station manager and the bus waiting areas. Not that the station manager or people waiting for busses are responsible for the bikes, but the presence of others and "eyes on the street" tend to be a decent crime deterrent. A secure facility is not necessary. I’ll take it if it will encourage people to ride to the station, but it’s not necessary and I’m concerned that it will displace much of the free parking available now.

I personally don't know anyone who has expressed concern over the security of their bike while parked at King Street as a reason for not cycling to Metro (the main problem, actually, is that people around King Street Station live in apartment buildings and it's a hassle to get the bikes into and out of them--often it's quicker just to walk). When this meeting occurred a couple of years ago....do you know what stations the people were talking about? They should probably look into that.

I know it sounds silly to quibble over such a small sum, but this kind of stuff really does add up and it’s tiresome! Yes, it's about the cost of a locker. And that's exactly the problem. It's funny that you point out that people pay for lockers--but not nearly as much as people used to. Once they doubled the fees for the lockers to their present state, usage plummeted (see: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/11554/after-price-increase-bike-locker-usage-plummets/). So imagine what going from $0 to $125 a year would do. Isn’t that one of cycling’s biggest selling points? It’s free?

Yes, theft and vandalism is one of the most common crimes within Metro. But not all stations are the same in terms of layout, usage, neighborhood etc and therefore some stations are more susceptible to this crime than others, and I'm telling you, King Street *is* one of the safest ones. So, address the problem where it exists.... http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/8074/let-bicycles-park-inside-new-york-avenue-metro/

I'm not saying don't build it. If that company wants to invest money in bike infrastructure and WMATA wants to let them, great. If they fail they fail, if they succeed they succeed (and if they fail, what happens to the facility?). But they shouldn’t allow their experiment to take away what’s already there. I ask (again, for the third time), why not just plop down 50 more spaces? Why go this route? I’d also like to know why (and no one has addressed) when the stated target population is people who drive and park to the station, why a station with no parking lot is being targeted? Huntington would make a lot more sense in that case.

by Catherine on May 16, 2012 6:10 pm • linkreport

Have you ever even been to King Street Station? Ridden a bike there?

Many times. I used to go to grad school there and took my folding bike on Metro every day.

, in my experience there is not a problem with bike theft or vandalism.

Well, WMATA disagrees with you. From a May 2011 meeting: "The location of bike parking might be shifted to provide more eyes on the parking spaces, since bicycle theft has been a problem at King Street." and there are others who have had less luck than you: "I had...a bike stolen from the king street metro-locked with 2 locks that time".

So imagine what going from $0 to $125 a year would do. Isn’t that one of cycling’s biggest selling points? It’s free?

I think everyone has pointed out that parking will still be free. They aren't getting rid of free parking. They're just adding this new option. Imagine what will happen for people who are uncomfortable with leaving their bike at the station now.

But they shouldn’t allow their experiment to take away what’s already there.

Once again, it won't.

I ask (again, for the third time), why not just plop down 50 more spaces?

Because that doesn't solve the problem they're trying to solve. The problem they're trying to solve is that some customers want parking that is more secure than an exposed inverted U bike rack, but easier to use than a locker. You're solution doesn't solve that problem.

I’d also like to know why (and no one has addressed) when the stated target population is people who drive and park to the station, why a station with no parking lot is being targeted?

Who said that was the target? The target is people who don't bike to metro now.

by David C on May 16, 2012 10:45 pm • linkreport

When is the last time you were there? I don't even think you realize the spaces I'm talking about exist. They did move the bulk of the bike parking--inside the main entrance of the station in full view of the station manager and in doing so "provided more eyes on the parking spaces".

These newer spaces that you don't appear to be aware of also happen to be located in what is probably the most logical spot for a new facility and where I'm assuming it's proposed to be built. If I'm wrong on that or if they're going to build something entirely new--awesome. But if I'm right, it is not possible for two things to occupy the same space at the same time. Therefore, a new facility would displace current free parking. Further, in doing so, it would create more competition for the free parking that is left. This is my specific concern. I'm not saying it will happen or they're planning on it, just that I see this as a potential conflict where others (clearly) do not because they don't know the station well and/or don't park bikes there. If you don't see this potential conflict, I don't know how else to describe it unless you take the train down there and look for yourself.

My $0 to $125 example was meant to illustrate the point that most current free users won't want to use the facility as a counter point to your locker example. Yep, people used the lockers until they upped the charge, then stopped. So why would people *start* using a $125 service when they get a similar one for free?

And I'm sorry that guy got his bike stolen. That was also 5 years ago. Also, I personally think it sounds like a case of internet big fish tales because he's either SUPER unlucky (3 bikes stolen, really?), has really high value bikes, or uses subpar locks. I really don't know. I'm not claiming Alexandria is crime free (I know from personal and frightening first hand experience that it's not) but that seems extreme. I also subscribe to the crime reports for Old Town (result of personal and frightening first hand experience), and have not noticed a rash of bike thefts from the station. Rash of thefts from vehicles on specific blocks, yes.

Also "WMATA chose College Park for the pilot program because it's already one of the top stations for cycling. In the 2011 bike parking census, it came out in third place systemwide. Additionally, the space in the garage was available, and a third of people parking at the station come from three miles away or less, which means many are already within biking distance" makes it sound to me that they're targeting the low hanging fruit--those people who currently drive from close in. That type of rider does not exist at King Street because there is no parking lot.

I'd like to know if anyone has actually said to WMATA "I'd ride my bike to King Street if there was secure parking", particularly after they moved most of the parking inside the station. As I said, the barrier I'm used to hearing people cite is the hassle of getting bikes into and out of apartment buildings, not fear of theft.

But hey, if they need to or want to do something high profile to advocate for more riders, great. Seriously. I think you'd have to be pretty paranoid But put it someplace that's not already being used by existing riders.

by Catherine on May 17, 2012 10:51 am • linkreport

Catherine I was there last sometime last fall. The diagram I saw places new bike parking "in front" of the station between the kiss and ride and the current gates.

So why would people *start* using a $125 service when they get a similar one for free?

Maybe they only want to bike 1 day a week, in which case it wouldn't be $125. Maybe they want to try it out before committing to the cost.

My main point is this, perhaps you should wait and see exactly what they have in mind before you completely freak out. There are some serious assumptions in your complaint here.

by David C on May 17, 2012 3:52 pm • linkreport

@Catherine:
I'd also point out that for some people, it would not be an additional $125, it would be a savings.

Everyday that I use the Bike + Ride at College Park, I save $2.40. That's because I don't walk to the station, I take the bus (and I also save $0.45 each way in the difference in rail fare between Greenbelt and College Park).

I didn't normally bike to the station for several reasons. Firstly, I was unwilling to leave my bike at a rack all day for fear of theft. Secondly, I have always been nervous about taking my bike on the bus, because the racks never seem that secure to me. And thirdly, my commute pattern means that it's difficult for me to make the last express bus, and the local (which runs all day) takes forever.

So instead of biking, I took the bus to the rail and then rode the train.

What Metro has done with their College Park facility is transformed me into a bike commuter rather than a bus commuter.

Now, I know that all stations are going to be different. You might not think my example applies to King Street. That's fine. I just wanted to give you an example of how it might benefit someone like me.

Metro has not finalized the design for their King Street B+R. I don't know where they intend to put it, but I do know that their goal is not to get rid of bike parking, it's to increase it, and that includes the free spaces.

I would strongly suggest that we all wait to see what Metro actually designs before we accuse them of planning to do x or y.

by Matt Johnson on May 17, 2012 4:12 pm • linkreport

The diagram you saw is incorrect. The bike parking has been moved inside the main entrance, near the station manager booth, as I said on Tuesday at 7:26, yesterday at 12:38 and 3:16 and 6:10. This area currently provides about half of the available bike parking at King Street.

And I'm not completely freaking out, I'm trying to clarify a point that seems lost on some people who don't know this station or who don’t ride to and park at this station. I’d bet $100 that every single person involved in this decision making process falls in one if not both of those categories, and it appears as if everyone commenting on this does as well.

All I've been saying is "unless they're going to build some completely new structure, these appear to be the only options for this facility, and this is a problem for the following reasons (chiefly: there’s already free parking spaces there)”. I've been talking about what I assume (and used the word assume) is the logical place for the facility.

I’m glad it’s working for you in College Park. Maybe they should choose a station more like College Park to expand this program. King Street is nothing like College Park.

I also realize that this could save some people money, just as it could cost other people money. I’d rather not be in the second category.

I don’t know how long you’ve been dealing with WMATA and/or local governments but just because the stated goal is one thing does not mean that that will be the outcome, particularly if people who actually know what they’re talking about don’t say anything when they notice real flaws or potential problems. In fact, just because it’s a stated goal does not mean that it’s the actual goal. The actual goal could be something else entirely. I’m well past the point of accepting anything WMATA says as credible. “Wait and see” is a very bad idea. Once an agency gets to the point that designs have been made, the decision’s been made, period. Sometimes they make multiple designs and get “user feedback”, but that’s not often the case and the amount of attention paid to “user feedback” varies. You have to get involved in the planning and design process to have a chance at effecting the outcome.

by Catherine on May 17, 2012 4:49 pm • linkreport

Catherine, I'm not talking about the spaces that exist now, I'm talking about the bike & ride. Here's the diagram I'm talking about. You can see the two grey boxes near the station, but not inside it. This is where they are talking about putting the new bike parking. This design is for changes that haven't happened yet. I'm sorry you think I'm not listening, frankly I feel the same way about you.

I’d bet $100 that every single person involved in this decision making process falls in one if not both of those categories, and it appears as if everyone commenting on this does as well.

Well, you'd lose that bet, because the Alexandria BPAC has had this presented to them, as has the Alexandria Council.

particularly if people who actually know what they’re talking about don’t say anything when they notice real flaws or potential problems.

I'm not convinced you do know what you're talking about. You are, again, making a lot of assumptions. They have been working on this for a couple of years.

by David C on May 17, 2012 5:29 pm • linkreport

I see the problem. When you said "The diagram I saw places new bike parking "in front" of the station between the kiss and ride and the current gates", it sounded as if you meant the new(ish) but existing parking I'm talking about...not the proposed facility. So it sounded like a diagram of the current station layout shows the current (but relatively new) bike parking outside the station along the gate, like at Braddock Road. That diagram would be wrong.

I came to that conclusion, actually, because although when I first read it I thought you *were* talking about the proposed facility but then you said "I don't know where they intend to put it", which made me reconsider and conclude that by "new parking" you meant the new but existing parking. See the confusion?

Now that I see that you meant the proposed parking, that's good. And now I see where you're coming from. This is the first time a diagram of the proposal has been mentioned, and I'm glad they're planning on building a new facility rather than putting it inside the station, where bike parking already exists. Great. Literally the only thing I asked for (I did question the logic of the whole idea but hey, it's not my money they're sinking into this so what do I care).

I'm not saying I know all about this particular planning process, because I don't (I have an existing long standing commitment on Monday evenings so I can't get involved with the BPAC), but I do know this station well and use it, and ride to it almost daily, unlike anyone on City Council or WMATA higher-ups. So I do know what I'm talking about when it comes to the station layout and the location and availability of bike parking, and that is what I was referring to.

by Catherine on May 17, 2012 5:50 pm • linkreport

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