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Where are Capital Bikeshare's 300 stations?

Last week Capital Bikeshare installed its 300th station. Quite an accomplishment! With stations now spread from Shady Grove to Alexandria, I thought it would be interesting to map their distribution, to see which parts of town have the most.

Bikeshare station distribution. Image by BeyondDC, base map from Google.

Crossposted to BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


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After moving from NW to SE, I've discovered the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and find it a shame there's just the one Cabi station on Benning Rd at one end of the park. Now that national park service allows Cabi there should be two more, one halfway in the park and one down near the Nationals Park end. Would encourage use of the great riverfront.

by John T on Nov 19, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

Thanks for the map! My one comment is that combining Ward 5 with Capitol Hill disguises the fact that Ward 5 is still relatively underserved by bikeshare.

Hopefully we'll get more stations in Ward 5 and northern Ward 4 soon, so the DC system can be better integrated with the new MoCo stations. People are agitating about a Takoma Metro bikeshare station on CaBi's Twitter daily.

by Hagiographer on Nov 19, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

People are agitating about a Takoma Metro bikeshare station on CaBi's Twitter daily.

As well we should, I thought it was pretty clear that when the Takoma Park rollout happened last month that there would be a need for a 19 dock station at Takoma metro, now we have 5 docks or so near Takoma metro, but none close enough to induce demand. It's like building half a bridge, then opening it....I hope they fill in this integral piece because right now the Takoma Park stations are gathering dust.

by Bill the Wanderer on Nov 19, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

Sigh. I wish there were ANY stations in the big emptiness between Pentagon and Old Town, as well as further west into Alexandria.

by JDC Esq on Nov 19, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Good idea, but this map is not very informative. A density map would have been better, or at least counts on a regular grid, or relating bikeshare station density to population density. As it is, it's just counts of stations in somewhat arbitrarily defined areas that provide little context.

by MetMet on Nov 19, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

Alexandria is adding 8 more stations this winter, most are in the Del Ray and Carlyle

Three stations along Mount Vernon Avenue. They are located in the vicinity of intersections with E. Nelson Avenue, E. Oxford Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. A fourth suggested station is located on E. Monroe Avenue near Simpson Stadium Park.

Suggested Carlyle stations include near the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station, John Carlyle Square and third station on Mill Road or Ballenger Avenue.

by RJ on Nov 19, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

Make that map, then! I'd love to see it. The beautiful thing about this data is it's free and easy to come by.

by BeyondDC on Nov 19, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

john t

there are stations near Yards Park - one on Tingey, and one on M street at New Jersey.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 19, 2013 2:00 pm • linkreport

The author's comment at 1:55 pm is a thing of elegance and beauty. Also, truth.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Nov 19, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

Here are couple maps I threw together:

CaBi stations - standard dots

CaBi stations - dot size based on size of station.

The dot size one made me go investigate just how big that station at Potomac Yard is (23 docks at Potomac Ave & 35th in case you were wondering...which appears to make it Arlington's largest station)

by Chris Slatt on Nov 19, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

Well, this certainly confirms what I already knew. Petworth and Brightwood are getting hosed.

by Kyle-w on Nov 19, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

Chris Slatt, on that second map, I don't see the secret White House station.

John T, I believe NPS relunctantly allowed a limited number of stations on the Mall. It has not given the city carte blanche to install stations on NPS land.

by David C on Nov 19, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

I don't understand why there isn't a station at the Shady Grove Metro, when they've build all these stations in the general area.

by alurin on Nov 19, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-w: Yeah, you would hope that MoCo's stations in Silver Spring and Takoma Park would provide further incentive for DC to build out stations in Brightwood and Takoma. Petworth actually has quite a few stations, though hopefully they will start pushing east from the existing stations towards Fort Totten.

I remain baffled by the choice of locations in SS and TP, particularly in downtown SS. There are now at least two stations kind of near the metro station, but a solid 1-2 blocks away from it. I guess they couldn't have put docks in the unfinished Transit Center, but were there really not any closer locations available?

But as plenty of others have mentioned, all of the SS/TP stations would be a lot more useful if there were actually bikes at the Takoma metro.

by Gray on Nov 19, 2013 4:08 pm • linkreport

Here's something no one is talking about: How well are stations being used? And consequently, what is the most effective way to expand the system?

In much of the NW, downtown, Capital Hill, H St, the high density of stations, the dense population, and the good network of bike lanes makes this a popular choice and the stations are way over capacity. However, in Anacostia, Alexandria, outer Arlington, MoCo, and the upper NE, stations are far apart, urban density is low, and bike facilities are less frequent, resulting in many stations that are barely ever used. Click on stations on this map to see charts of bike share use in the past 24hrs to see what I mean.

by TransitSnob on Nov 19, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

I'm not sure a density map is that needed. You've already got So this map just provides a good overview. I would say maybe its misleading because there is a lot of empty space within some of the bigger shapes as mentioned earlier.

by BTA on Nov 19, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

I let my Capital Bikeshare membership lapse. I've found the system generally unusable as it was a rare day when my starting point had available bikes and my destination had return slots. That said, the system has made me think seriously about getting my own bicycle (though storage space is an issue, especially at home).

by Adam Lewis on Nov 19, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

I figure it's $75 a year so if I ride once a week instead of taking the bus or metro and I get there faster I come out ahead.

by BTA on Nov 20, 2013 8:56 am • linkreport

Geoffrey, if you have the ability, could you map an algorithm plotting the best locations for new stations to more quickly expand overall system usage according to TransitSnob?

Or maybe, what factors cause more people to sign up for the $75 BikeShare plan? What new station locations would likely increase signups the most?

by CapHillResident on Nov 20, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

Love the comments and the fact that the open data is making a lot of this kind of conversation even possible. The optimization of the BikeShare points is a really difficult problem since it depends on a lot more than just "filling in the empty spaces" (though that approach is a pretty reasonable one). Seems like one would have to look at the usage patterns over time especially how things change when new stations are added in. I have been playing around with this data a little and it seems like one could delve into the usage patterns pretty easily, just depends on what you are really trying to answer.

Check out this recent article to get some ideas about some deeper analyses:

I particularly like the movies they produced:

If any other biking data geeks out there want to tackle something like this let me know.

by Bryan Lewis on Nov 20, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

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