Greater Greater Washington

Bikeshare comes to Montgomery County

On the heels of its third anniversary, Capital Bikeshare makes a big expansion into Montgomery County. Local officials celebrated the first of 50 new stations that will open here today in Rockville with a large crowd of well-wishers.


Montgomery County opened its first Capital Bikeshare station today in Rockville. All photos by the author unless noted.

"It's no secret that the Washington area has the worst traffic," said County Executive Ike Leggett. "That's why Montgomery County is committed to increasing its transportation options . . . Bikeshare is another cost-effective option that can help reduce the need to drive, especially for short distances."


State delegate Al Carr, County Executive Ike Leggett, and County Councilmember Roger Berliner try out the new Bikeshare bikes.

According to Art Holmes, the county's director of transportation, 14 stations and 218 bikes will open today in Rockville, Shady Grove, Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park, communities where cycling is most popular. Eventually, there will be 50 stations and 450 bikes. The county seal now appears on the bright red bikes along with the logos of DC, Arlington, and Alexandria, which already have Capital Bikeshare.


Map of where the new stations are in Montgomery County from CaBi's website.

Several local officials attended and spoke at the announcement, including county councilmembers, state delegate, and representatives from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Bike advocates, including the Washington Area Bicyclist Association were also there in force. Passers-by stopped to admire the bright red bikes and ask questions about the new service.


Passers-by admire the first of 50 new Bikeshare stations in Montgomery County.

The federally-funded expansion is one of the nation's first bikesharing projects in a suburban area. If it's successful, it could be an example for how to encourage cycling outside of large cities.

But first, county officials need to make area streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Councilmember Valerie Ervin recently told WTOP she wants to fill gaps in the county's trail network and ban right turns on red.

At today's event, Councilmember Hans Riemer said he believes Capital Bikeshare will help Montgomery County attract businesses and younger residents who don't want to drive everywhere. "Every time you see a red bike," he said, "Recognize that we're moving forward."

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Dan Reed is an urban planner at Nelson\Nygaard. He 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. All opinions are his own. 

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Is there a list somewhere of where the other stations will go?

by Gray on Sep 27, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

There was a post here on GGW while back discussing the stations, and I think the county's website also discusses it.

by JDC Esq on Sep 27, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Politicians: quit posing for pictures and FIX THE SILVER SPRING TRANSIT CENTER!!!

by Chris on Sep 27, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

See here: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bikeshare/

by JDC Esq on Sep 27, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

@JDC Esq: Right, I meant actual proposed locations. Ideally something more specific than this:
Service Area: along the East and West legs of the Metrorail Red Line from the District Line to Silver Spring/Takoma Park on the East and Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Medical Center Metro on the West

by Gray on Sep 27, 2013 1:10 pm • linkreport

@Gray

The county's Bikeshare website (which I've added a link to) lists the stations that are currently open and has maps of where future stations will go.

by dan reed! on Sep 27, 2013 1:10 pm • linkreport

Maybe some day CaBI will expand to Ward 5...

by Josh on Sep 27, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

@dan and @JDC Esq: A ha! I finally noticed the link in the upper left. Odd that they don't reference the proposed locations anywhere in the text of the main page.

Or maybe I'm the only capable of overlooking that...

by Gray on Sep 27, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

The Friendship Heights station seems to have opened which is good because DDOT is 6 months late opening the station that was supposed to go in on the DC side in March.

Now we just need a reasonably safe way to ride a bike between Friendship Heights and Bethesda.

Also seems like there should be a station at Chevy Chase Lake which even today has some density and is a decent straight ride to downtown Bethesda along the Georgetown Branch and that area also is poorly served by transit.

by TomQ on Sep 27, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

@TomQ: I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess that Chevy Chase Lake residents would fight any proposed CaBi stations there.

by Gray on Sep 27, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

After scrutinizing the map some more it seems odd that in Bethesda there are no stations on the east side of Wisconsin - eg along East-West highway by BCC High School where in addition to the school there are some high rise apartment/condo buildings.

Also maybe a station at the National Library of Medicine.

I also wonder if there would not be a creative way to get stations on to the campuses of both NIH and the Naval Medical Center/Walter Reed campus? There is quite a bit of density and jobs on both campuses but the distance to both the Medical Center Metro station and downtown Bethesda is great enough that I think some folks would jump at that mobility option.

by TomQ on Sep 27, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

Arlington maintains a maps where you can make suggestions for stations in the entire region. Obviously no guarantee there but feedback never hurs. http://www.bikearlington.com/pages/bikesharing/capital-bikeshare-crowdsourcing-map/

by BTA on Sep 27, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

Still a bad idea to put the bikes in Rockville, both for the location and the low-income grant.

MD bikeshare should be profitable if they capture MD visitor revenue, as Arlington does.

by charlie on Sep 27, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

Multiple Takoma park stations but none at Takoma metro?

...

by JJJJJJ on Sep 27, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

To JJJJJJ , there are at least four more planned in takoma park, including one right at takoma metro (which is in washington dc, not MoCo). I too am wondering where these stations are, as I will use them immediately.

by Seth on Sep 27, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

@Seth: MoCo doesn't have one planned particularly close to Takoma metro, though I guess it's possible that DC might. There's a .pdf map here:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bikeshare/Resources/Files/Silver_Spring_locations.pdf

by Gray on Sep 27, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

Interesting, so the Washington Adventist University station will be delayed, and I thought I read somewhere that Washington DC was putting a large station right in front of takoma metro, concurrent with MoCo installation, practically pointless for multi modal transit. That should have been the priority, not the staions near takoma park city hall. I am just one customer, but I will instantly pay the $75 dollars when those two stations are up and running.

by Seth on Sep 27, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

Fairfax, please join the club!

by Jasper on Sep 27, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

I'm sorry, but who is going to ride this. Why won't people just get their own bikes? And what about helmets! Throwing thousands of bikes onto Bethesda's streets without including some sort of helmet program is short-sited and irresponsible. One step forward, five steps back.

This is never going to work. It's going to be a disaster.

by David C on Sep 27, 2013 3:35 pm • linkreport

@David C, I don't think it's going to be a "disaster"; it's not a large enough project to have that big of an impact. I think it's just going to be a regular failure.

I do somewhat disagree on "why", though. A lot of Capital Bikeshare users have their own bicycles, but still use bikeshare in cases where they don't have their bicycles with them -- one-way trips, unexpected trips, trips that require riding on a rush hour subway train, and so on. This has been tested in DC, Arlington, and Alexandria, and, for whatever reason, there's enough demand for the service to make it work. And we can argue the effect of helmets ad nauseam (and have), but I think it's fair to say that nobody would argue that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of accident, just possibly minimizes the severity.

Instead, I see two problems:

1. As you suggest, Bethesda -- and Rockville and Silver Spring -- will seem wildly unsafe for any but the most skilled bicyclists. This is the land where pedestrians get hit on the sidewalk and blamed for wearing insufficiently Day-Glo clothing, after all. I work in Rockville and I'm a very cautious bicyclist, and I'd rather juggle lit sticks of dynamite than ride a bicycle around here; at least the former would be an interesting form of suicide. Capital Bikeshare is generally used by casual riders, and they're not going to feel comfortable trying to ride a bicycle in these areas, and wearing a helmet won't change that. Hell, I doubt Iron Man's armor would.

2. I suspect there aren't enough stations in the Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring/Takoma Park clusters to generate enough usage by people riding within the clusters, and they're too far from each other or any other part of the system to be used by people traveling outside of the cluster. The Friendship Heights station might do okay, as I suspect in practice it'll be the furthest northwest station in DC's network, being quite close to several DC stations even if it's nowhere near anything else in Montgomery. But that's the only station on the map that's part of a large enough network to generate much use.

by cminus on Sep 27, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

cminus, I was satirically mimicking the things people said three years ago when CaBi started (or again in NYC when Citibike started). The fact that no one is really saying these things anymore is sort of proof that those fears were unfounded. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

by David C on Sep 27, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

Rockville? They could have finished the DC expansion first. I realize politics rule the day but common sense should have some weight.

by Dno on Sep 28, 2013 2:33 am • linkreport

I am happy that these stations have opened, but as others have noted, would also like to see some of the gaps filled. For example, on Upper Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues on the DC side, to better connect to the down stream stations and to the Friendship Heights Metro. I am thinking specifically in Chevy Chase - around Military and McKinley and at the Spring Valley commercial center on Mass Ave (current AU Law School).

I also second TomQs suggestion of Chevy Chase Lake, as it is a straight shot on the CCT to both Bethesda and Silver Spring.

by Andrew on Sep 28, 2013 7:03 am • linkreport

How nice, especially if it lures up to Montgomery those with a taste for traveling at a maximum of 14 mph and with neither children nor cargo -- and, so, relieves Virginia of their demands.

In all seriousness, hurrah for Tiebout selection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiebout_model). Those who favor a bicycle-heavy regime, with its concomitant restrictions of space for drivers and zero-sum efforts to impede driving, can choose Maryland. They'll probably like the rain tax, too.

Those of us who prefer automobility can live in the more reasonable parts of Virginia and pay for rational increases in highway capacity without pressure to divert the money into bicycle infrastructure that's largely irrelevant to our preferred residential pattern.

The only downside I can see is that it will be that much more difficult if, someday, for some reason, I find a need to try to reach someplace in Montgomery County while not starting within pedaling range.

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

Good thing no one in Virginia bikes, or have any jurisdictions that participate in bikeshare.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

Well, not sure, but I do think that bike path along the GW Pkway north from Mount Vernon is in Virginia. To each his own.

The problems begin, however, when the bikes-uber-alles lobby agitates to keep my roads narrow and then paints over half its capacity in green boxes as a means of "encouraging" me to stop driving.

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport

MVT, W&OD, Custis trail. four mile run trail. A load of on road bike lanes in Arlington and Alexandria, and a few in Fairfax, and more coming. And lots people who bike in the general travel lanes in NoVa.

Of course its quite possible to bike with cargo. And with small children (older children can bike themselves). I hear its even possible to bike faster than 14MPH, but I cannot speak from personal experience.

Of course biking, by taking cars off the road, actually makes it easier to get places by car - especially when proper infra is provided.

"They'll probably like the rain tax, too." There is no rain tax. Do you mean the fee on impervious surfaces? I hope when you drive, you don't drive to visit the Chesapeake Bay.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 28, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

"The problems begin, however, when the bikes-uber-alles lobby agitates to keep my roads narrow"

actually I think its the "I wish I could walk across the street before the light changes" lobby thats particularly interested in that.

"and then paints over half its capacity in green boxes as a means of "encouraging" me to stop driving."

Green boxes are to make biking safer.

You must not 95 very often, as you don't seem to be aware of what really discourages driving in NoVa.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 28, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

I would like to see the roads that have half their capacity halved because of a bike lane. Two roads in DC (soon to be three) had a lane taken out of four.

But yeah, as stated. Bike lanes are for safety and so that people feel more comfortable biking. At no point has anyone suggested banning of cars. That's a straw man argument.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

Well, to be honest, Drumz, I didn't use the word "banned." I said that those who see biking-vs.-driving as a zero-sum game seek to impede driving. Kind of like how the District's mayor doesn't want to ban cars, really -- just to make driving so unpleasant that three-fourths of all trips are "car-free," as the euphemism has it.

Banning would be at least more honest. Instead we're left with the simulacrum of freedom to travel and the reality that progressive restriction of infrastructure makes driving a hell.

My point is not to scorn biking. I biked, before mine was stolen. I have nothing against bikers, other than when they won't yield to pedestrians. My scorn, rather, is for that subset of transport-policy officials who see bicycling as a substitute for automobiles not to be chosen but to be imposed. I speak of those who do not want to add infrastructure but only to reallocate it, seemingly with the object of limiting the choice and mobility that driving permits. For such, bicycles are less a good in themselves than an excuse to rein in those who dare drive where urban planners would rather they not go.

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Well, the roads are only so wide. And a pointed out, most bike lanes don't actually cut the road capacity. Moreover, the more cyclists means less cars on the road. That's a kind of zero sum I guess but it makes all modes of travel safer.

So where you see a conspiracy against drivers I see rational allocation if scarce space and consideration of a mode of travel that has been ignored (along with pedestrians) for long time.

Bikes take up less space, are intrinsically safer, environmentally friendly, and in urban areas can get you there about as quickly as a car in a lot of urban areas.

It's pretty rational to want to encourage people to bike under those conditions.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

By all means, bike if you wish. But it is impractical to prescribe biking for all -- for, say, a 45-mile commute (such as the one that permits me to afford a yard). A bicycle is not practical for my weekly grocery trip whereby I feed three teenagers. A bike doesn't let me drop off kids at school on the way to work.

The error, of course, is in thinking that roads are only so wide and thus must not be made wider. More to the point, that the intersections and bottlenecks that cause much of the congestion cannot be improved. To the contrary, some intelligent improvement at choke points -- overpasses, wider exits, so on -- can let roads that for the most part aren't much wider accommodate demand. Space is not scarce; a willingness to let people move around is. My complaint, Drumz, is with public officials who instead of making such improvements instead presume there's some public good in making people become "car-free."

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 2:28 pm • linkreport

And similarly, driving is not always practical. It's expensive, they're hard to park. The time spent in traffic doesn't justify the distance.

No one demands that everyone give up their cars for bikes no matter what. At the same time, planners shouldn't be expected to take everyone's lifestyle into account to ensure greatest amount of ease for everybody. Instead they need to look at the resources they have as make the best use of it. They also need to ensure that people can travel safey. Both f those point to improving things for cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, you can't just widen the roads or whatever. Those things have costs, money, time, opportunity costs especially. The wider a road is for cars the worse it is for the pedestrians trying to cross it. If you extend the walk times then you end up losing the gains from a wider road because cars have to wait anyway.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

Correct, driving isn't always practical. Thus we are all at some time pedestrians or transit riders. But the break point on when it makes sense to switch modes is necessarily as individual as one's circumstances. Honest public policy does not try putting a thumb on the scales to make people move from one mode to another unwillingly.

And, mind, I'm not talking about making life worse for pedestrians. This needn't be zero-sum. Note some good ideas on making arterials work better here: http://reason.org/news/show/1012879.html

If it's a question of limited resources, then, yeah, I'd pay.

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

I disagree on two points. It's perfectly fine to subsidize certain modes over others. I think you do better for society by subsidizing cycling and transit more than cars.

Which leads to the second point that we massively subsidized cars while ignoring everything else. T

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

And we can agree on pricing congestion at least.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 3:26 pm • linkreport

this thread is not about the district its about MoCo, and its not about bike lanes, its about CaBi. Someone seems to be trying to be disruptive to the discussion here.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 28, 2013 3:34 pm • linkreport

" But it is impractical to prescribe biking for all -- for, say, a 45-mile commute (such as the one that permits me to afford a yard)."

I am confused, where in DC do you live that you have a 45 mile commute? If you do not live in DC, why does Mayor Grey's goal for DISTRICT mode share effect you?

Or are you just someone who lives in the distant suburbs, who thinks DC should inconvenience its residents (and, btw, the many commuters from the inner suburbs who bike or use transit) for your benefit.

Good look trying to convince DC voters to make driving easier for the benefit of folks who live in Charles County or Fauqier (I trust if you lived in PWC you would take VRE, and in MoCo you would take MARC)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 28, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

45 miles from DC on I95 in Nova is Stafford.

your commute problem is due to distance and congestion on I95 more than to any policy of Mayor Grey

more biking in Arlington and alex and FFX would help you.

Va is doing a huge megaproject to help your commute.

VRE is already an alternative, and will get better.

There are houses with yards in southern FFx and in prince william that many would call affordable. And that are closer to DC. Trying to make it easy to commute to DC from Stafford by car is going to be difficult for Va. And its not clear that DC has any incentive to make it a priority.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 28, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

Ah, very good on the geography, Walker: Stafford it is. And while that is where I live, my work is in the District, alas. So Vincent Gray's hostility toward my travel choices bites.

To your points:

My commute problem is least on I-95 and greatest on 395, particularly at the 14th Street Bridge, where nine lanes compress to four. Heaven help me and my rider if I try the alternate of Constitution Ave.

VRE is an alternative, should I want to take even longer (sorry, but the train schedule tells that tale) and lose my trip home if I must work after 6:50. VRE also makes you subsidize me via transit aid, unlike my car trip, and this despite the $20 a day fare.

And while the HOT lanes will help immensely -- and not at public expense -- they will not extend through Arlington, as Arlington balked. It apparently views congestion as condign punishment for the effrontery of passing through.

And while in theory people who live in Springfield and drive 395 might instead bike, until someone demonstrates that bike commuting appeals chiefly to erstwhile car commuters, I'll assume it chiefly eases crowding on the Blue Line.

But to the big point: Sure, there are houses in Fairfax and PWC. In general, they're about $100k more than something comparable in Stafford. That's why there's a wave of people who, like me, make do on middling salaries by heading north before dawn.

I do not expect the District's residents to inconvenience themselves to make my commute tolerable -- only that the local leadership relent just a bit from its reflexive hostility toward cars and those who commute in them. Washington's economy is more dependent than nearly every other major city on workers who commute in, probably because of the strange degree to which employers are concentrated in its core. Thus, it befits both its economic good and simple civility to cease the declarations that driving is a bane and that if you want any relief, you can jolly well get a bike, a condo or a taste for Metro. In short, perhaps the District's leaders should spare a thought for their labor market.

by I Also 95 on Sep 28, 2013 7:28 pm • linkreport

And while the HOT lanes will help immensely -- and not at public expense -- they will not extend through Arlington, as Arlington balked. It apparently views congestion as condign punishment for the effrontery of passing through.

Again, there are opportunity costs. An extra lane on 395 means more air pollution in Arlington, loss of using the land needed for revenue producing activities (like housing), decreased mobility for those who can't drive etc.

only that the local leadership relent just a bit from its reflexive hostility toward cars and those who commute in them
Recognizing that a city needs multiple transportation options options and working to create a balance isn't hostility.

Washington's economy is more dependent than nearly every other major city on workers who commute in

Again, so its important to have multiple options for those commuters. Every person on a bus, train, or bike is someone not in a car. Making your commute that much better. Every person who is in a car is making it that much worse.

Thus, it befits both its economic good and simple civility to cease the declarations that driving is a bane and that if you want any relief, you can jolly well get a bike, a condo or a taste for Metro.

No one has said or implied this. You're confusing policy decisions with lifestyle judgements.

Look, it sucks to have a long commute. I get it. But that doesn't mean you don't have choices, nor does it mean that when a gov't decides to try a different mobility strategy they're assaulting your way of life. No one has banned driving and driving is by and large an easy thing to do. But we all have choices and some want a house with a yard and can only get that in Stafford and others value other things. I've turned down jobs that were far from any public transportation. That's what people have to do sometimes.

I mean, there is a limit right? There are people who live in Richmond but still work in DC. We don't think the government is hostile to cars because it takes them a long time to get to work right? Where is the line then? I used to live in Burke but work in Alexandria and it still took me 45 minutes to drive. I challenge anyone to look at 495 and say that Virginia doesn't care about its drivers. Even if we have bike sharing here as well.

by drumz on Sep 28, 2013 9:17 pm • linkreport

Rockville? They could have finished the DC expansion first.

Two totally different pots of money. First of all, each jurisdiction pays for it's own stations/bikes/service. So, the only way "they" could finish the DC expansion would be for Rockville to pay for stations in DC. Are you saying that Rockville should have waited for DC to finish its expansion before joining the system? Or are you saying that the existing CaBi members should have kept Rockville out until they finished expansion?

Then, the money comes from a special grant that Rockville won from the feds to help the low-income workers commute to work. It's a competitive process and Rockville won. So we should really congratulate them.

by David C on Sep 28, 2013 10:56 pm • linkreport

Washington's economy is more dependent than nearly every other major city on workers who commute in, probably because of the strange degree to which employers are concentrated in its core. Thus, it befits both its economic good and simple civility to cease the declarations that driving is a bane

I'm doubtful the initial claim is true. I doubt that DC is particularly dependent on car commuters and that it is uniquely dependent on them compared to other cities.

But, DC does not view driving as a bane. They view congestion, pollution, space demands for parking and other negative externalities as a bane. Are they wrong?

by David C on Sep 28, 2013 11:00 pm • linkreport

David, you're correct that DC is not particularly dependent on car commuters: It is second only to metro New York in share of commutes taking place on transit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_high_transit_ridership

But the district's workday population grows by 79% over its nighttime population (http://wamu.org/news/13/05/31/dcs_population_grows_79_percent_every_workday_outpacing_other_cities) making it one of the most commuter-dependent cities.

This is because, Drumz, Washington already does have multiple options for commuters. It has one of the nation's grandest subway systems. It has two commuter rail systems. It has a planned suburban light-rail system. It has multiple urban bus systems, including two in the District. It has plentiful commuter buses, a trolley system on the way, the nation's largest vanpool operation, a large system of bikesharing, one of the nation's only systems of spontaneous stranger carpooling, extensive bike trails and lanes, and a fine, walkable nature in the District.

No one begrudges a bit of it -- the sign of this being the conservative Republican governor of Virginia having enthusiastically backed the expansion of Metro at the cost of some $5,100,000,000. Non-car commuting options? Got them, and there are no calls, none, to shrink any of them.

That said, a majority of commuters still find automobiles to suit their needs better, and this so offends both regional planners and the District's leadership that the latter make it their policy to depress the proportion of trips by car, and the former show contempt for any expansion of highway capacity.

Note: No one talks of reducing or even holding steady on non-auto commuting option capacity. But road capacity? The idea of expanding it is treated regularly as controversial, and enthusiasm for alternatives rises in proportion to the degree that they can be contrived to run not alongside cars but in substitution of them.

by I Also 95 on Sep 29, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

Again, you're seeing anything that doesn't directly make driving easier (narrowly defined as making "my" commute easier) as outright antipathy towards cars. That's not true, we have highways being expanded everywhere.

And still, recognizing that building highways has costs and deciding to go with something else isn't anti-car.

by drumz on Sep 29, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

a majority of commuters still find automobiles to suit their needs better, and this so offends both regional planners and the District's leadership that the latter make it their policy to depress the proportion of trips by car, and the former show contempt for any expansion of highway capacity.

A majority of regional commuters commute by car, but not a majority of District residents. So, of course District leadership has a policy to depress the proportion of trips made by car. When many of your citizens walk, bike or walk and take transit, it should be in your interest to reduce the numbers of out-of-state cars because they tend to hit and kill or maim your citizens. They take up space your citizens could use to bike to work. They slow bus traffic and pollute. They HARM your citizens. Why would they not try to reduce them in number?

No one talks of reducing or even holding steady on non-auto commuting option capacity. But road capacity? The idea of expanding it is treated regularly as controversial

That's because it doesn't work and the negatives exceed the benefits. And there isn't room for more highways. Few people want to expand highways because the highway-expansion team is losing the argument. You're not being discriminated against, you're losing. And you're losing badly [And the fact that drivers don't want to pay any more gas tax isn't helping.] You sound like a smoker complaining that they can't smoke anywhere anymore. There's a reason why no one wants what you want, and that is that it is bad for all of us.

by David C on Sep 29, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

David, if the District's leadership adopts policy that suits only its residents to the detriment of those half-million or so who spend the workday there while living elsewhere, then the District's leadership is ignoring one of the major purposes for which the place is used: for workplaces. This short-sighted. It even might lead some employers to decide they won't subject their employees to such hostility.

Seriously: The District's livelihood lies in hosting the federal government and ancillary organizations. Do its leaders somehow imagine that such a vast apparatus will be staffed only by people who live within its boundaries? Or, alternately, do they believe they can compel hundreds of thousands of people to, by and large, give up the manifold advantages of travel by auto and instead adopt en masse the sort of commuting lifestyle that exists almost nowhere else in America outside Manhattan?

Unlikely. There are remarkably few cars-vs.-pedestrian accidents in Pyongyang, but I'm pretty sure that banning private auto use is not a viable model for keeping the buses' pathways clear. Since cars also bring customers and labor to the District's economy, it probably makes more sense to examine how improved street design many kinds of traffic without harm or social engineering.

You make, David, a couple of strange assertions: That no one wants to expand highways and that there's no room for them. This doesn't seem true even in NoVa, at least beyond the beltway, where plans for pavement proceed with only some whining. It's entirely untrue across much of the country, where plenty of places were pouring pavement until the recession. DC itself is the anomaly.

In my original comment, I meant it sincerely that it's dandy if Montgomery County wants to make itself harder to reach by car, since visiting is hardly mandatory. Perhaps that's the answer here: Let the District drain. Let the FBI move. BRAC the Pentagon. If the District doesn't want drivers, they can go elsewhere. People -- including employers -- can choose where to go. Only a few employers must by statute stay in DC. The rest would be welcome in NoVa. Or ROVa. Or Houston.

by I Also 95 on Sep 29, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

That's Unreasonable because that's never happened. No city has ever fallen decline similar to what you fear for DC and Montgomery county because they elected to spend some money on bicycling and not cars.

Besides, bike share is an expansion of Montgomery county's transportation capacity. Bikes are part of te transportation network even if you don't like to ride.

by drumz on Sep 29, 2013 6:25 pm • linkreport

So please, point a city that would be doing great if only it's leaders didn't hate cars so much.

by drumz on Sep 29, 2013 6:28 pm • linkreport

The point of District and regional policy regarding car commuting is to make it easier to commute by other means. Car commuting is simply unsustainable, and the District (and Arlington County) should not burden themselves allowing suburbanites to cover their streets in personal vehicles. IMHO they should go as far to discourage living as far out as you, I Also 95, do, instead focusing on the inner suburbs, but we're unfortunately not at that point quite yet. I95 widenings are a crutch allowing the un-sustainability to continue.

by ImThat1Guy on Sep 29, 2013 6:33 pm • linkreport

I'm loving the tsunami of entitlement coming from I Also 95. Every sentence is beautifully layered with multiple instances of "me me me." Handouts being demanded at every turn.

If it's not parody, it surely serves as a case study.

by JJJ on Sep 29, 2013 7:41 pm • linkreport

Guy, as I pointed out, there are few places where it is easier to commute by means other than cars. Greater Washington has an extensive subway, two commuter rail systems, multiple and coordinated city bus systems, a trolley and a light-rail on the way, commuter buses aplenty, the nation's largest vanpool operation, a huge bikeshare network, a fine network of bike lanes, and a spontaneous slugging culture.

In short, it's fairly easy to commute here by means other than car. And, Guy, you may note there is no serious opposition to the existence or expansion of any of these options, nor am I opposing a bit of it.

The only mode facing organized hostility, official and otherwise, is automobiles. You claim driving is "unsustainable," offering no evidence why. The majority of commuters in greater Washington to the contrary seem to find autos a perfectly sustainable part of life and, as they pay gasoline taxes that in part are diverted to pay for other modes, it seems that subways and trains and buses and bike trails are not quite sustainable without the help of gas-tax paying motorists.

And, JJJ, if by "entitlement" you mean the ability to drive a car I paid for and that I fuel on a road for which I've already paid gas taxes, all so I can be part of the workforce that constitutes a net inflow of money to the District, well, then I guess I'm just a grasping SOB. Though I'd define "entitlement" otherwise.

by I Also 95 on Sep 29, 2013 10:13 pm • linkreport

if the District's leadership adopts policy that suits only its residents to the detriment of those half-million or so who spend the workday there while living elsewhere

Well, many (a majority perhaps) of those non-residents don't drive. So they benefit too.

It even might lead some employers to decide they won't subject their employees to such hostility

So, the federal government is going to relocate? Can we turn the Capitol building into a rec center?

Do its leaders somehow imagine that such a vast apparatus will be staffed only by people who live within its boundaries?

Not our problem.

There are remarkably few cars-vs.-pedestrian accidents in Pyongyang

Not according to Greater Greater Pyongyang. People there are always complaining about it.

This doesn't seem true even in NoVa, at least beyond the beltway, where plans for pavement proceed with only some whining.

Well then, what are you complaining about?

Let the District drain.

I'm not even sure which roads you're talking about. Is it 15th Street where they added a cycletrack with no impact on automobile LOS? Is it the new 11th Street Bridge - the most expensive project in DC in decades - that primarily serves drivers? Is it the Douglass Bridge that also serves drivers? Is it the Wilson Bridge or the new New York Avenue Bridge? I could go on and on. DDOT spends millions maintaining and improving roads, often primarily for the use of drivers. It's just there is no room to expand highways.

by David C on Sep 29, 2013 10:23 pm • linkreport

all so I can be part of the workforce that constitutes a net inflow of money to the District

If you think that by earning a paycheck in DC on which you pay no local taxes, then taking your money to Virginia - all while using our roads and police and other services - that you're doing DC a favor like some sort of cubicle-occupying missionary, I think you're deluding yourself.

by David C on Sep 29, 2013 10:27 pm • linkreport

In short, it's fairly easy to commute here by means other than car.

Exactly, that hardly means local DOTs are anti-car though.

And, Guy, you may note there is no serious opposition to the existence or expansion of any of these options, nor am I opposing a bit of it.
Ok then,but why are you opposed to bikeshare in Montgomery county then? You say that its presence proves that MoCo is anti car because of some bikes in certain areas? Why claim to support it if you're also going to complain that its existence is anti-car?

The only mode facing organized hostility, official and otherwise, is automobiles.

Truly, no one complains when we discuss building bike lanes, or streetcars, no one ever complained about the silver line being built. When Libby Garvey says she is against the Columbia Pike Streetcar she isn't expressing hostility against it she just doesn't think it's needed and constantly points this out in her official capacity as an arlington county board member. Meanwhile, Fairfax just added 4 lanes to the beltway, Maryland built the ICC, and DC just reworked the 11th street bridges.

You claim driving is "unsustainable," offering no evidence why.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

See the section that compares various fuels. Yes, buses and trains use fuels as well but they are much more sustainable on a per capita basis.

The majority of commuters in greater Washington to the contrary seem to find autos a perfectly sustainable part of life

Cool, that's not an argument for not funding bikeshare though. And polls constantly find that people wish they could drive less.

and, as they pay gasoline taxes that in part are diverted to pay for other modes, it seems that subways and trains and buses and bike trails are not quite sustainable without the help of gas-tax paying motorists.

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/01/23/drivers-cover-just-51-percent-of-u-s-road-spending/

But the question of who pays the most (or who is subsidized the least) is irrelevant. The relevant question is how is the greatest number of people best moved? On that front, cars lag far behind. They simply take up too much space compared to a bike, or a bus, or a train that doesn't even need to use a road and can run underneath or above roads.

by drumz on Sep 29, 2013 10:43 pm • linkreport

"Ah, very good on the geography, Walker: Stafford it is. "

Then it is indeed odd that you choose a thread about bikeshare in MoCo to do your complaining in. And of course, as I said above, there are places closer to DC where a yard is not that expensive - at least a modest yard, with a modest house.

"And while that is where I live, my work is in the District, alas. So Vincent Gray's hostility toward my travel choices bites. "

he is not in fact hostile to your choice.

To your points:

"My commute problem is least on I-95 and greatest on 395, particularly at the 14th Street Bridge, where nine lanes compress to four."

I sometimes drive that (from the mixing bowl in) 14th street is an annoyance, but it seldom takes more than 5 minutes to get through - maybe sometimes ten. The section from the mixing bowl to Seminary can be as bad. So again, your main problem is not the 14th street bridge - its the entire trip, including congestion well south, and the sheer distance.

"VRE is an alternative, should I want to take even longer (sorry, but the train schedule tells that tale)"

You do indeed live very out.

" and lose my trip home if I must work after 6:50."

I believe VREs plans are to have later trains, as MARC does.

" VRE also makes you subsidize me via transit aid, unlike my car trip, and this despite the $20 a day fare."

Now you are diverting the question from alleged hostility, to optimal policy. I don't play the "is it subsidized game" I am quite sure Va is better off for having VRE, and do not think cutting operating support to it would be a good idea.

"And while the HOT lanes will help immensely -- and not at public expense -- they will not extend through Arlington, as Arlington balked. It apparently views congestion as condign punishment for the effrontery of passing through."

No, they simply thought it would lead to more SOVs coming into (not only through) Arlington, and would conflict with their goals for the County.

"And while in theory people who live in Springfield and drive 395 might instead bike, until someone demonstrates that bike commuting appeals chiefly to erstwhile car commuters, I'll assume it chiefly eases crowding on the Blue Line."

Whatever dude, Im not sure the point of this. You said biking was impossible. Its certainly possible for folks from southern FFX.

"But to the big point: Sure, there are houses in Fairfax and PWC. In general, they're about $100k more than something comparable in Stafford. That's why there's a wave of people who, like me, make do on middling salaries by heading north before dawn."

Thats your choice. You want more money for other things, or a larger house than you could afford (lots of folks in PWC are quite middling - its not like middle class people can't afford to live closer than Stafford)

"I do not expect the District's residents to inconvenience themselves to make my commute tolerable -- only that the local leadership relent just a bit from its reflexive hostility toward cars and those who commute in them."

It is not hostile, just balancing.

" Washington's economy is more dependent than nearly every other major city on workers who commute in, probably because of the strange degree to which employers are concentrated in its core."

the majority of suburbanitew who commute to DC to so by transit - metrorail, a few by metro bus, a growing number of PWC and Loudoun bus services, and of course via MARC and VRE. and yes, some bike in - including on the 14th street bridge.

" Thus, it befits both its economic good and simple civility to cease the declarations that driving is a bane"

Ive never heard them say that.

" and that if you want any relief, you can jolly well get a bike, a condo or a taste for Metro."

There really is no other way to get relief. There simply isnt the geometry to accommodate more cars in DC.

" In short, perhaps the District's leaders should spare a thought for their labor market."

As of now, office space in DC has a lower vacancy rate, and higher rental rates, than in the suburban office markets, despite a good bit of new construction in recent years. That suggests to me there is no shortage of labor.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 30, 2013 9:11 am • linkreport

basically some dude works in DC, moved to Stafford cause he want's a bigger or newer house than he could afford even in PWC (according to redfin 365k will get you a 4BR 2,4 ba house of 2500 sq ft on half an acre in Aquia Harbor), he has a 45 mile commute -which at an average speed of 45MPH (thats a pretty good average speed in any major metro area at rush hour)is going to take an hour - and he's complaining about about a ten minute delay on the 14th street bridge.

And instead of discussing MoCo bikeshare, we are diverted into "subsidies".

Look MWCOG isnt stupid. They know how much additional SOV capacity at the margins costs, vs how many cars you could accommodate. Compare that to the payback on transit, espeically leveraging the commuter rail, and to the benefits from, yes, more development closer in, and more walking/biking. Whether a 5 mile trip to the shopping center, off peak, on an arterial, pays more in gas tax than the mtnce on the arterial has nothing much to do with whether theres a good ROI on adding lanes to the 14th street bridge.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 30, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

2.5 bath

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 30, 2013 9:27 am • linkreport

It is strange. When did suggesting that people make different choices (like moving closer to where you work) become offensive?

by drumz on Sep 30, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

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