Greater Greater Washington

Montgomery announces new bikeshare locations

Late this summer, Capital Bikeshare will expand into Montgomery County with 51 stations and 500 bikes. County officials have released maps of where they hope to put the stations, and they will hold meetings later this month to talk about the new service.


Bikeshare stations in Rockville and Shady Grove.


Bikeshare stations in Silver Spring and Takoma Park.


Bikeshare stations in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

30 stations will go in the downcounty area, including Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda and Friendship Heights. In conjunction with the City of Rockville, the county will also place 21 stations in Rockville and the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center as part of a pilot program to see whether bikesharing can work in suburban areas, especially for carless low-income residents and reverse commuters.

County Department of Transportation officials will hold 3 meetings later this month where residents can learn how Capital Bikeshare works and offer feedback on the proposed stations. For more information, visit the county's new bikesharing website.

All 3 areas where Capital Bikeshare will go already have higher-than-average bicycling rates, like downtown Bethesda, Takoma Park, and even Rockville Town Center. That's not surprising, as these communities have an older, urban built form that easily lends itself to bicycling.

Bikeshare stations will also serve major employment centers, like NIH and the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, along with local schools, like Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park and both the Rockville and Silver Spring campuses of Montgomery College. This will make bikesharing a real option for residents who live too far to walk, while helping students who either can't or don't drive.

However, the maps also show the need for improved bike infrastructure. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and MoBike have proposed a network of new bike lanes to compliment the CaBi stations, but it'll be a while before the county actually builds some.

In addition, it looks like some of the stations are spaced too far apart to be useful. The station at Flower and Piney Branch in Silver Spring, for example, is over a mile from any other station and at the top of a hill. That means users are likely to bike from there and not come back, creating a rebalancing problem.

What do you think of the station locations?

A planner and architect by training, Dan Reed also writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. 

Comments

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Looks like they've also dropped the station at 16th & East-West Hwy in Silver Spring... That would have been great given the large number of apartments at Summit Hills and Falkland Chase in that area

by Daniel on Jun 10, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

There are too few stations in Silver Spring. It is too spread out, and there does not appear to be a CaBi station at Silver Spring Station, nor is it clear if Montgomery DOT talked with DDOT to prioritize a station at Takoma Station.

It also pains me to see that there is no station near 16th and East West. Falkland Chase and Summit Hills Residents deserve to be serviced, too.

by Murn on Jun 10, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

The Flower/Piney Branch station is right by a lot of stores, though; most notably a Giant Food but also a lot of other markets and such. I think the idea is that people in Takoma Park will bike there to get some goods and create a natural rebalancing.

by Greg McElhatton on Jun 10, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

Dan is correct. This is not how to plan a bike share system. They need to define and urban area and place stations at a certain density (usually every 300 meters) within that area.

Also, "shared roadway" is just code for no bicycle facilities.

by Bike Sharer on Jun 10, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

For the ones I would use, these are great. I am hopeful this will provide impetus to complete the network in Upper Northwest, particularly at the Chevy Chase Center (McKinley and CT), Ingomar and Wisconsin (South side of Friendship Heights Metro) and at Lafayette Elementary (Broadbranch Road and Northhampton).

The ability to use CaBi to for easier access to Bethesda and Friendship Heights from these areas will help get more cars off the road!

by Andrew on Jun 10, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

Yeah.... 16th & East-West Hwy is a HUGE omission. That could have easily become one of the busiest non-downtown stations in the entire system.

The Rockville stations are also a bit weird. What sort of trips are they looking to accommodate? The placement of stations seems to be completely random.

The area around the Rockville Metro Station isn't friendly to anything other than cars. I walk from the Rockville Metro to Earth Treks a few times a week, and it's fairly unpleasant. I bike everywhere in DC, and can't imagine taking a bike anywhere near the Rockville Pike.

by andrew on Jun 10, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

@ Andrew has got it right about my neck of the woods in Upper Northwest. I don't think that DDOT and MOCO are talking about how to connect the two systems per se, but I am hopeful a bit of friendly competition will focus each on completing a network that is usable and vibrant.

This also integrates well with DDOTs plans to infill more bike infrastructure in Upper Northwest.

There are many uses for CABI, and MOCO has recognized that integrating it along the Capital Crescent Trail, so that recreational users of that parkland will have transportation alternatives along that trail, is one of them. I would hope that the folks from the Capital Crescent Trail Coalition will recognize this fact and put some pressure on DDOT and the Park Service to place a station at Fletcher's Boathouse. What a wonderful way that would be to draw even more recreational users to the trail, both those who start in Georgetown and those who start in Bethesda.

by Steve Seelig on Jun 10, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

Density....this lacks it

by JJJ on Jun 10, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

I am so disappointed about the 16th and East-West omission I am likely to write to my delegation. I encourage others to do the same.

The placement in Silver Spring/Takoma Park is simply poorly thought out.

by Murn on Jun 10, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

In Bethesda this Sunday, Woodmont Ave. restaurants were crawling with cyclists. Building this infrastructure has really benefited local businesses, as far as I can tell. I just wish Bethesda would build more bike lanes, especially separated bike lanes. The little scrap of bike lane on Woodmont is a nice start, but it isn't cutting it for the crush of cyclists flowing off the Capital Crescent. I'm glad to see a CaBi station proposed on River Road.

by Erica on Jun 10, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

They need to define and urban area and place stations at a certain density (usually every 300 meters) within that area.

1 every 300 meters might work in Paris. But Montgomery County isn't quite as dense as Paris. This constantly drives me crazy. Every seems to look at it and say "Paris did it like this. It worked. So that's the ideal way to do it everywhere." The way Paris has done it might not even be the ideal way to do it for Paris. And it's less likely to be the ideal way to do it in MoCo.

I'm highly skeptical that anyone can accurately say what the ideal density of stations should be.

by David C on Jun 10, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Density....this lacks it

So does Montgomery County

by David C on Jun 10, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

They certainly don't look to have been placed in areas accessible to "carless low income residents".

by Scoot on Jun 10, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

I'm a big fan of Bikeshare, but I'm not sure this is how to do it.

by Crickey7 on Jun 10, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

I'm also upset by not having a station at 16th and east-west highway, there are tons of 20something aged people in the apartments on all four corners of this intersection. I wonder if the placement of stations is as random and poorly thought out as it seems because this is where the County has the existing right-of-way/sidewalk width to place a bike share station.

I also note a couple of other missing items. Fenwick station at 2nd avenue and Spring street is supposed to have bikeshare, but it's being built by the developer as part of their transportation mitigation funds, so maybe the County is not counting privately funded facilities in these maps?

There are also no bike share stations serving the rockville town square area, but four stations right around the government buildings. I'd also hope this is because the developers of town square are providing their own stations and not because the grant didn't see a need for a facility at town square.

by Gull on Jun 10, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

Well, maybe its not enough density, maybe it is. This will be a good test to see what the baseline for density needs to be. Or if other factors (like bike lanes and such) also play a role.

by drumz on Jun 10, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

@Andrew, Yes DC needs to fill in upper NW so it links with Friendship Heights and Bethesda and even Silver Spring. 16th and East West Highway seems like a no brainer.

DC needs stations at Mckinley and Conn. and at Lafayette.

by turtleshell on Jun 10, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

I used to live in Summit Hills and while a station at East West and 16th would be nice, the lack of bicycle infrastructure at that intersection kept me from riding my bike much from there. Both East West and 16th are narrow and cars move fast. If you put a Cabi station there, you would end up with a bunch of people riding on the sidewalk. If we really want CaBi there, we need some bike lanes first.

by Taylor on Jun 10, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

The Rockville/Shady Grove placements are both intriguing and odd. It seems like there are such massive gaps. Nothing in the southern half of King Farm? Nothing in College Gardens? For that matter, there isn't even in a stop in Rockville Town Square! I like that a lot of the stations seem to follow the Millenium Trail, but really...if the entire point of the Rockville/Shady Grove network is to test bikeshare in suburban areas, then perhaps, the stations should be placed far better.

by Justin..... on Jun 10, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

I agree with the above comments regarding the SS/TP stations. The placements seem particularly odd given where they're placing them between Friendship Heights and Medical Center, with at least one right by every metro station.

It's like they didn't bother to try to put them anywhere near SS or Takoma metros. I get that there are some kind of near SS on two sides, but what about the other directions?

And I don't understand why there are no stations due east or west of the metro station, but two a block apart NE of it. How does that make any sense at all?

by Gray on Jun 10, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

Regarding the Takoma Metro station: that's completely within the District, so it's really DDOT's job to put a station there. Like with upper NW and Chevy Chase, it would be great if DDOT and Montgomery County could work together to meet at the middle.

As for the placement of stations in Rockville: many of them are specifically intended to serve low-income residents. That's why there are stations at a housing project (Taft & Gude), the Gude Drive homeless shelter (Crabbs Branch & Calhoun . . . ish), and in Lincoln Park (Spring & Lenmore). The idea behind the JARC grant is to give those residents better access to the Metro and jobs, while giving reverse commuters access from Metro to job centers, like Shady Grove Life Sciences Center.

by dan reed! on Jun 10, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

This was designed for me, no more 10 minute walk to get to/from my friends place in Bethesda.

by Alan B. on Jun 10, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

Might the limited placements around the SS metro relate to further construction and completion of the transit center? It would make sense to have the station at SS metro be part of a completed transit center, and also that other nearby locations they might consider on an interim basis might be in the way of the remedial construction work to be done.

by Cabi Driver on Jun 10, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

Regarding the Rockville Town Center locations, there are 2 right near the movie theater (and the govt buildings), so I don't think there's much inconvenience there. It's cool that they're putting a station near Lake Needwood, but it would be much better if they would put one actually at the lake so one could park there and ride.

by Chris S. on Jun 10, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

@Dan, Chris: I'm not saying I hate the locations there are up here, and I do understand why they are where they are. I just want more locations. Has there been any discussion about bringing locations north of Shady Grove Road into Gaithersburg, or is this a Rockville thing?

(I live right by 355 and Deer Park, and damn if I wouldn't love being able to just ride to and from Shady Grove instead of dealing with the comes-when-it-feels-like 55 and 59 buses)

by Justin..... on Jun 10, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

They should consider
1. Little Falls and CCT during the season that the Bethesda Pool is open
2. More in Bethesda East of Wisconsin. A third of the way between Bethesda/ Med Center and Silver Spring. e.g.
(a) EW Highway and Connecticut, or the Chevy Chase Library. (b) Jones Bridge and CT.

3. Chevy Chase circle.

by SJE on Jun 10, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

The idea behind the JARC grant is to give those residents better access to the Metro and jobs, while giving reverse commuters access from Metro to job centers, like Shady Grove Life Sciences Center.

And that's a worthy idea, but it remains to be seen if the goals of such a grant are in alignment with the requirements for a succesful launch of a bikeshare system.

Even with the rest of the MoCo expansion, the Rockville set of stations will be by far the most isolated 'pod' of stations. They will offer members the benefit of using the remainder of the system, but for all intents and purposes, it will function as its own 'pod.'

You don't need Paris-level station density to succeed, but lessons from other places show that size does matter. 20-some stations in Rockville is not a very large roll-out to start with, and they're attempting to cover a very large geography.

by Alex B. on Jun 10, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

@SJE

All of those locations would be great, particularly Chevy Chase Lake and perhaps the Chevy Chase commercial strip on Brookeville Road. However, I would consider these to be phase future, given the need to develop the system in the higher density areas. Also the Chevy Chase Community Center I cited earlier is a block south of the Circle, so would solve the same need (but on the DC side).

by Andrew on Jun 10, 2013 1:41 pm • linkreport

As a resident of Takoma/Lamond I have grown impatient with the slow expansion of Capital Bikeshare. Ward 4 needs it. There is a great distance between the Ft. Totten and Takoma Metro stations. I believe it's about 2 miles. The train tracks and parkland disrupt the street grid making it more inconvenient to get places. Bus service also isn't very good east of the tracks by MoCo. Bikeshare stations at the Takoma Metro and at the Lamond Rec Center would make it easier for me to get to work and for friends to get to my house. I understand the strategy of expanding from the core but I'm really tired of waiting. I would like to see it ramped up a bit. Hopefully the presence of bikeshare in MoCo will speed things up a bit.

by LamondNick on Jun 10, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

Its a good start. I'm glad that we will have something to build from. I hope that more bikes on the road will translate into greater investment of biking infrastructure (IMO Silver Spring has the worst biking infrastructure).

I also hope that they think about placing a bikeshare station at Piney Branch and Eastern at some point. One side of the street is MOCO, its a flat path to downtown SS, plenty of commuters pass by, and its great connection hub to other stations in several directions.

by frenchfriedplankton on Jun 10, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

Andrew: yes, I see that. But (a) if you don't ask now, it might not be on the board for later (b) trying to move to integrating the neighborhood into bikeshare, not just tooling around the shopping district.

by SJE on Jun 10, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport

@SJE

I agree, which is why the CaBi crowdsource map is a great tool. So too, is consistent email to the decision makers at DDOT, the City Council and whatever the equivalent in Montgomery County!

by Andrew on Jun 10, 2013 2:19 pm • linkreport

@SJE

I agree there should be another station east of Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda, maybe behind Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS. There are a number of public parking lots on that side of Wisconsin and all of the streets in East Bethesda are screwed up to discourage through traffic, so a bikeshare station would not only encourage people to park there, but give residents more travel options as well.

@Andrew

The equivalent of the City Council in Montgomery County is the County Council.

by dan reed! on Jun 10, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

David C, because the pop density isnt high, youre correct there shouldnt be as many docks as paris...

But a high density of STATIONS is still needed. With this kind of placement, if one station is full/empty, youre fully screwed.

30 six dock stations are better than 15 twelve dock stations.

by JJJ on Jun 10, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

Having Cabi outside a high school could be a great way to sell biking to the next generation.

by SJE on Jun 10, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

The Bethesda locations are good for the most part. One is just one block from where I live.

But I'm surprised that the Bethesda Avenue station is at Arlington Road rather than at Woodmont Avenue and the Capital Crescent and Georgetown Branch Trails.

by Frank IBC on Jun 10, 2013 7:00 pm • linkreport

Sorry, I should have thought about that through a bit more. There is the issue of the massive construction on the south side of Bethesda Avenue which makes the latter a poor location at this time.

Maybe the station will be relocated when construction is complete.

by Frank IBC on Jun 10, 2013 7:04 pm • linkreport

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