Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Slow start for Capital Bikeshare in Montgomery County

Since launching in September, the Capital Bikeshare stations in Montgomery County have been slow to draw riders, with some stations being used less than once per day on average. This may change over time, but it'll take a more complete bike network to increase ridership.


Photo by dan reed! on Flickr.

I reviewed Capital Bikeshare's trip history data to find lessons from the first few months after the September 27 launch through December 31. Of the 50 stations in Montgomery County, the highest-performing ones were those in Friendship Heights and Bethesda, and those near Metro stations.

To count each station's number of trips, I included any trip that started or ended at the station. Trips that both started and ended at the same station counted only once, but if those trips lasted less than 30 seconds, I decided not to count them at all. To find the trips-per-day averages, I made sure to account for the fact that some stations were installed after the initial launch.

On the maps, blue dots are stations which averaged 10 or more trips a day; green dots at least 5 trips but less than 10; yellow at least 2 trips but less than 5; orange at least 1 trip but less than 2; and red dots were stations with less than one trip per day. Black dots represent stations that weren't installed until this year.

Bethesda and Friendship Heights

The most popular bikeshare station in Montgomery County so far is the one at the Friendship Heights Metro station, which was involved in about 11 trips per day. It has several things going for it. Metro stations are a popular place for bikeshare trips, as we'll see throughout this analysis. The location is also right on the border with DC, which has its own bikeshare stations nearby and, presumably, residents who were already members before the Montgomery launch.


Map by the author.

The next most popular station was at Bethesda Avenue & Arlington Boulevard, in the dense, mixed-use Bethesda Row area. The third most popular was the station at Montgomery Avenue & East Lane, close to the Bethesda Metro stop. Those two each saw between 7 and 8 trips per day.

The most common trip involving a Montgomery station went from Battery Lane & the Bethesda Trolley Trail to Norfolk Avenue & Fairmont Avenue. But this trip only happened 70 times last year, meaning a handful of users could easily be responsible for all the trips. As a result, I'm hesitant to draw any broad conclusions from the popularity of certain trips.

Rockville

Bike sharing in Rockville started very slowly. The only station involved in more than two trips per day was East Montgomery Avenue & Maryland Avenue, which averaged 2.5 trips per day. It's the closest station to Rockville Town Center, and also less than a half-mile from the Rockville Metro stop.


Map by the author.

The most glaring omission in Rockville is the lack of a bikeshare station at the Shady Grove Metro stop. Capital Bikeshare put stations in the King Farm and Fallsgrove neighborhoods, both of which have bike-friendly routes to the Shady Grove Metro.

The lack of a bikeshare station at the Shady Grove Metro seems like a missed opportunity to connect residents to a major destination. Throughout the system, Metro stations are among the most popular sites for bikeshare stations. The two most popular stations in the whole system were the one near the Dupont Circle Metro stop's north entrance and the one near Union Station. Each was involved in more than 300 trips per day from September 27 to December 31 last year.

Silver Spring and Takoma Park


Map by the author.

Like Bethesda, Silver Spring has some of the highest rates of bicycle commuting in the county. But the most popular station in eastern Montgomery County was the one near the Silver Spring Metro station, at Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue. It saw just 4.3 trips per day.

There's no bikeshare station right near the Takoma Metro station. The closest one is at Carroll Avenue & Westmoreland Avenue. It was Takoma Park's most popular, averaging 4.1 trips per day after it was installed in late October.

Comparing Montgomery County to Alexandria

Alexandria was the first jurisdiction outside of DC and Arlington that Capital Bikeshare expanded to. The cluster of stations there is geographically isolated from other parts of the system in a similar way to the Montgomery County clusters.

The growth of ridership in Alexandria since its stations launched on August 31, 2012 could offer a clue for what to expect going forward in Montgomery.

There were 4,736 trips involving at least one of Alexandria's stations during the fourth quarter of 2012. In the fourth quarter of 2013, that number went up to 5,345, an increase of 13% from the previous year.

All eight stations in Alexandria launched on the same day, and there have been no additional stations since then, so it's easy to compare them from year to year.

Notably, and not surprisingly, the bikeshare station near the King Street Metro station was Alexandria's most popular.

Looking forward

Montgomery County can expect bike sharing to grow over time, but it shouldn't assume that such a slow start is normal.

In DC, the station at North Capitol Street & G Place NE opened in mid-December and managed 14 trips per day during the final few weeks of the year, even during a relatively cold month. The 10th Street & Florida Ave NW station, added in October, saw 25 trips per day for the rest of the year.

No station in Montgomery County really came close to those numbers, let alone those of the most popular stations in DC.

If the county wants its investment in bike sharing to pay off, it should fill in key gaps, especially at the Shady Grove Metro. Providing bike lanes or paths to connect neighborhoods to Metro stations would also encourage the kind of trips that have proven popular everywhere else in the system.

Zach Rausnitz is a writer who lives near U Street in Northwest DC. In his spare time, he's a web developer who created The Bikeshare Trip Timer and Bikeshare IQ. He grew up in Rockville. 

Comments

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Good info. Matches fairly well with my anecdotal evidence, which is that I've never seen someone pull a bike from the station at Norfolk and Cordell despite going by it every day.

In Bethesda, there are really two things that hold me back from using it.

#1 and most important is that there is no good South to North bike route in Bethesda. The one-way section of Woodmont between Old Georgetown and Hampden just cuts everything off. I can ride from North to South, but then I'm just as likely to want to walk back instead. A contra-flow bike lane on that stretch of Woodmont would be nice. There certainly is enough space for it.

#2 is that there is no good bike connection between the Bethesda and Friendship Heights stations. Some of the work they are supposed to start along Wisconsin may help there.

While not really a barrier to me riding it, some extra stations along the Capital Crescent trail would be incredibly useful. Stations at the Bethesda Pool (Little Falls) and River Road would be most beneficial, and it seems like there is public land available to do both.

by Brian S on Feb 10, 2014 12:02 pm • linkreport

Not surprised.

1. some of the original announced stations STILL haven't been installed.
2. the bikeshare stations that have actually been installed are all within easy walking distance of each other while there's little connecting the islands of availability to each other.
3. there's almost zero bike lane infrastructure in place, except for recreational use along trails.
4. it's been an exceptionally cold winter
5. some of the locations seem really off, e.g. in Silver Spring there's one station a half a block south of Sligo Ave, along Fenton. Exactly no one walks south of Sligo - if they had put the station at Sligo, along Sligo, or north of Sligo it would actually be useful and seen by a lot people.

Ultimately, it appears that (so far) MoCo's foray into bikeshare is just for show. The Council/Executive can't possibly think their minimal number of stations with minimal bike infrastructure are going to bring about more than minimal usage. Hopefully things change, but I'm not holding my breath that the county will get this right.

by jag on Feb 10, 2014 12:02 pm • linkreport

They also opened them at a stupid time. The first few stations opened in September, and then the others phased in as it started getting colder. If they were going to blow the launch this thoroughly anyway, they would have been much better off waiting until the spring to at least take advantage of some publicity around the opening.

I really don't understand the thinking behind the placement of the SS/Takoma stations. Obviously not bothering to work with DC to put one at the Takoma metro was a huge failure, but they also clustered the SS stations oddly. I guess the expectation is that people will bike up and down Fenton, which is relatively pedestrian friendly but not particularly bike friendly. But I think there could be significant demand for CaBi on Sligo, which has lots of large apartment buildings and many residents who take the bus to TP or SS.

And what on Earth is the thinking behind that lonely station in Long Branch, with no stations between it and downtown SS or TP?

Finally, even the stations near the SS metro are located poorly. One is at the top of the hill on the short finished portion of the Met Branch trail, and one is on the far side of the unfinished transit center. So even people wanting to bike between a station and the metro can't get particularly close to the metro entrance. Again, I can't tell what the reasoning was for that.

by Gray on Feb 10, 2014 12:05 pm • linkreport

@jag:
5. some of the locations seem really off, e.g. in Silver Spring there's one station a half a block south of Sligo Ave, along Fenton. Exactly no one walks south of Sligo - if they had put the station at Sligo, along Sligo, or north of Sligo it would actually be useful and seen by a lot people.
People do walk south of Fenton, but almost all of them are going to Montgomery College--which has its own station a few blocks south of this one! I can see how a station at least near Sligo like this one could be useful, but only if there were at least one station east on Sligo. Since there doesn't seem to be a plan for that, I can't tell what ridership they thought they would capture with this one.

by Gray on Feb 10, 2014 12:08 pm • linkreport

The lack of docks right near the Takoma, Silver Spring, Rockville, and Shady Grove stations is by far the biggest hindrance to the whole system. Whatever the holdups are with WMATA needed to be resolved before launch. Suburban stations like this were always destined to be last mile stations, not for circulating people throughout the neighborhood.

by Corey H. on Feb 10, 2014 12:09 pm • linkreport

There's also a huge gap between Bethesda and Rockville. There need to be stations at Grosvenor and White Flint Metro Station. Also, locations are needed at Tuckerman Ln where the Bethesda Trolley Trail intersects as well as Edson Ln & Woodglen Dr.

by BBBB on Feb 10, 2014 12:26 pm • linkreport

There should be a bikeshare station at every Metro station*. Period.

*except Fairfax and PG stations** until they join

** when is College Park/UMD getting bikeshare?

by BTA on Feb 10, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

What we are seeing with Bikeshare (or CABI more specially) is the classic problem of goverment -- taking something good and then trying to make it work everywhere.

It will be interesting to see how the revenue split -- since MoCo may now be taking all the money from any Maryland tourists users -- works out in the near term.

The stations in Rockville seem particularly bizzare.

by charlie on Feb 10, 2014 12:42 pm • linkreport

There is a bike share station at the corner of East-West and Blair Mill Rd, which is where I live. Every day I walk to the SS Metro along East-West, and then enter the station on that side. I really want to use Bikeshare, at least occasionally. But the station closest to the metro is up Colesville, pretty far past the two closest metro entrances. It's faster for me to walk.

It would be nice to have Bikeshare station on the East-West side.

by Paul on Feb 10, 2014 12:43 pm • linkreport

In the Bethesda cluster, trips between Woodmont Triangle and Bethesda Row *should* be ideal for a bikeshare network. There are tons of apartment buildings in the both areas (with even more under construction) and tons of restaurants and shops in both areas, so there are both large home populations and compelling away destinations for both that should induce lots of trips between them.

That there aren't more trips is only partly due to the autumn/winter launch of the system, and more to do with the way Bethesda is designed that hinders bike riding. Frankly, getting from Bethesda Ave to the Woodmont Triangle area (i.e. from south to north) is enough of a hassle that only those already dedicated to cycling will put up with it.

So let's say you're on Bethesda Ave and you want to get to say Norfolk & Cordell. Even seasoned cyclists don't feel comfortable trying to take Wisconsin Ave, Old Georgetown Rd, or Arlington Rd as the auto traffic is heavy, fast, and aggressive. Arlington Rd is particularly bad since drivers speed so much (despite the elementary school) and because its pavement is in such bad shape.

Woodmont works well when traveling north to south from Woodmont Triangle to Bethesda Row as it is a one-way street for part of the way with a dedicated bike lane, but that makes getting north all the more difficult since there is no north-bound bike lane and the sidewalks are both narrow and heavily populated with pedestrians.

So your options are to brave traffic, get stuck on crowded sidewalks dealing with the inevitable slow-downs and inter-modal conflicts, or try to go way out of your way into the neighborhoods west of Arlington Rd which are designed *not* to allow convenient north-south travel specifically to force cars onto the main arteries and out of the neighborhoods. This is why there is *no* north-south through path for either cars or bikes immediately to the east of Wisconsin Ave (except for an unofficial footpath that requires dismounting and climbing 8 ft through foliage).

How many people in bikeshare's target demographic will be willing to put up with any of these option instead of just driving, taking the free Bethesda trolly bus, or staying away?

by Bthez on Feb 10, 2014 12:45 pm • linkreport

This winter has been a lot colder, icier and snowier than the last few, and so I'd expect uptake of bikeshare in MD to be worse than the rollout in VA and DC.

by SJE on Feb 10, 2014 12:58 pm • linkreport

The problem with Bethesda for me is that it doesnt fit my mode preferences. Anything less than a mile I will generally walk, 1-3 miles I'll bike or take a bus, anything more and I'm probably taking a cab or metro or driving on the rare occassion. The Bethesda stations are all pretty much clustered too close together to be that useful for me. Hopefully they will expand and add a few stations in the more ~1 mile range from the Metro, I could see that starting to be really useful. Maybe target some of the more far flung shopping centers and apartment/condo buildings.

by BTA on Feb 10, 2014 1:04 pm • linkreport

I can't claim to be an expert on how MoCo is organized spatially, but it seems like it will be really hard to make bike share work there, outside of Bethesda and Silver Spring.

The original conception of bike share was for it to complement transit. For the most part, that doesn't seem to be how it's used in Greater DC. Mostly it substitutes for transit. It is also intended to be "transportation" first, not recreation first.

And there needs to be a relative compact footprint of activity centers mixed with population. Because of the distance between origin (home) to a station and the unlikelihood of the average person living close to a station, and the distance of an "end point" station to the person's final destination, it's hard to see bike share working very well, except for those people right at the stations at either end. Hence, having your own bike probably makes more sense.

Not to mention the issue of low bike ridership and the issue of needing to do top notch marketing and promotion to stoke usage, something that most governments aren't good at.

In the city setting, the theoretical station density/sq. mile is supposed to be about 29 stations. But that presumes DC core-Paris-NYC-Montreal core population and business densities.

You kind of have that potential density in Silver Spring and Behesda, but not elsewhere in the county.

So at best it can work in pods. (Although I do see one or two people commuting from SS-TP to DC riding on 3rd St. NW in Manor Park reasonably frequently.)

The point about needing stations at the Metros is very good. The one commenter's point about Silver Spring Metro needing a couple stations on either side was very good.

And even though Takoma Park Metro is in DC, maybe it would have been worthwhile for MoCo to subsidize a station there, or jointly pay for one with DC, because it would have significantly improved the usability of the system between TP and Silver Spring. (E.g., there is an article in the Globe & Mail about how Michigan is so f*ed up and cross-border commerce between Ontario/Canada and Michigan/USA is so vital to Canada that they are paying for most of the cost of building a new bridge to add capacity, even though it will cost upwards of $2 billion, and they are even buying land in Detroit to facilitate the construction.)

the various comments about a fall roll out are right on. In every RFP we submitted on bike share, we always said that a fall rollout was too close to winter, and dissipates all the momentum you would ordinarily get from the buzz associated with launch.

It's very very very very very very important to get these details right, because in places like MoCo (but DC too) the pro-car lobby is quick to jump on "failures" in additions to bike infrastructure, failure being defined as minimal use.

Note that one thing MoCo did super-right--maybe not adding trails etc.--is augmenting bike route signage with info on bike sharing stations. It's very good.

by Richard Layman on Feb 10, 2014 1:56 pm • linkreport

DDOT has been promising that they'll put in a station at the Takoma Metro ever since the Takoma Park stations were announced. The last update was that they were almost ready to begin, back in November. (WMATA moved the bike racks out of the spot where it's set to go months earlier.) And is it there?

Well, anyone who's ever dealt with DDOT on anything can guess the answer. Still no sign, whatsoever, of the long-promised station to be installed. Ridiculous.

by GM on Feb 10, 2014 2:01 pm • linkreport

@BTA

In October they announced bikeshare would be in College Park by Feb 1. That obviously didn't happen. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/capital-bikeshare-is-coming-to-college-park/2013/10/12/9e18eb76-20aa-11e3-b73c-aab60bf735d0_story.html

by BBBB on Feb 10, 2014 2:01 pm • linkreport

I wonder if Hyattsville will get on that once they are in. They naturally stand to benefit most since they will be sadwiched between College Park and the slowly growing outer ring of stations in DC.

by BTA on Feb 10, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

1. Wasn't there a blog entry here (or Washcycle maybe) about a delay in further roll out of DC bike share stations?

2. My understanding is that the price proposed by Alta to service the stations in PG County was very high, and that the various jurisdictions are probably exploring alternatives.

by Richard Layman on Feb 10, 2014 2:21 pm • linkreport

Makes sense both that the on going Bixi/Alta issues might delay roll out and that the fact that DC is under serving the east side would make the cost marginally higher to adding PG stations. I wouldn't think much higher than the MoCo stations but maybe they are just more willing to absorb the difference.

by BTA on Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

A couple of comments referred to the late fall opening of the MoCo system. Remember that they actually delayed the opening for a week or two because Ike Leggett was in China, and they wanted him to be around for the photo-ops in Rockville. But even when they did "open", only about a third of the stations were opened (that was at the end of Sept.)

Another comment mentioned the station on Fenton at Gist (south of Sligo). That station in the original plans was next to Jackie's, at Georgia & Sligo, and there was no station anywhere in Fenton Village. I bugged the Urban District and Metrobike folks enough that there needed to be a station, and I guess that was the result. I wholeheartedly agree that there needs to be one somewhere near Fenton and Bonifant or Thayer, both for the apartments there, and the shops. Huge hole in the system.
The Long Branch stop was political. There's a big push to make sure that the Piney Branch/Flower Ave. corridors are involved with Silver Spring & Takoma, and not just left on an island. This was symbolic for that. The station density overall is about half what it needs to be. If the county views the current setup as a start, we're in good shape. If they view this as the solution, we're in trouble.

I also use the E-W Hwy/Acorn Park CaBi dock, and I, too, wish that there was a station on the E-W Hwy side of the metro. That could service a ton of places in South Silver Spring, as well as towards 16th St. Imagine if you could CaBi to the new post office out on 16th. I guess it's beating a dead horse to say how much damage the "transit center" is really doing to Silver Spring.

Lastly, as several folks have pointed out, the connections in SS & Takoma are tough. Streets are narrower, hillier, or busier, and there's a big railroad track that divides the area too. Certain corridors are great (Fenton St. all the way to Mont. College, Carroll Ave., etc.), but this really shows the need for an actual network that's not quite there yet.

by Joe in SS on Feb 10, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

The Bixi bankruptcy may have contributed to the delay of the College Park stations. But at least Alta (the operator of Capital Bikeshare) has reached a new agreement with 8D Technologies for an improved version of bikeshare. They plan to add to existing systems and develop new bikeshare systems starting this summer.

(8D was the original software provider to Bixi. A dispute between Bixi and 8D led to Bixi choosing a different software system. That led to problems in Chicago and NYC. Those cities are withholding payments to Bixi, part of the reason Bixi had to file for bankruptcy.)

Alexandria is also planning to add more stations this winter. But I think the CP and Alexandria plans will be delayed, perhaps until summer. That's just my reading of the situation. Based on what I've read, I don't think Alta is going to work with Bixi any longer. Alta and 8D are still deciding which bike supplier to use for the new arrangement.

Montreal will probably lose out in the Bixi bankruptcy process. But Alta and Capital Bikeshare should be OK.

by Citizen on Feb 10, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

I know Bikeshare had a lot of issues with the NPS and are there are still discussions with the Architect of the Capitol, but does Bikeshare have any agreement with WMATA? Because there are currently zero stations (as far as I can tell) on WMATA land, even in places where there is space and it would make logical sense.

The list is long of the metro stations where the docks are so conveniently misplaced near entrances that it makes me think there's no agreement to place the docks on WMATA land. For example, the Potomac Ave station is located in a wholly inconvenient location across the street from the metro entrance. All of the land near the metro entrance is owned by WMATA. The next station in, the Eastern Market bikeshare dock is convenient to the metro entrance. That land is not owned by WMATA.

In DC and most Arlington stations, this is not an issue. Crossing a street is not much of a deterrent. However, in the suburban stations not being able to place a bikeshare dock on WMATA property basically makes the entire system worthless.

by Corey H. on Feb 10, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

Remember "Bikeshare" isn't really "Bikeshare." Station decisions are made by the individual jurisdictions. But true, many of the station sites are owned by WMATA. So each local jurisdiction (Alexandria, Arlington, DC, Montgomery County) has to negotiate with WMATA separately. I don't know if they have a general policy or if there is a bike share station on WMATA-controlled land anywhere.

In DC, stations in the core don't usually have dedicated land, but the stations on the outskirts do. So the bike share station under the railroad bridge next to the NoMA station is in DC-controlled space, and they didn't have to ask.

At Takoma, a station could be installed across the street from the station under the railroad underpass, in DC public space. It wouldn't be ideal, but it would be acceptable.

That station site is in flux because of a proposed development. I am hoping that the local development agreement will win funds from the respective developers to fund a bike share station there (or expansion).

by Richard Layman on Feb 10, 2014 2:52 pm • linkreport

One of the big successes of CaBi seems to be using it for commuting between home and work. You can see this in the number of docks empty and full at different times of the day. Friendship Hts station is close enough to other stations that you can use CaBi to get between Friendship Hts and your house.

The other MoCo stations seems to be designed solely for short hops around the major centers, which has far less of a need and more barriers wrt crowded sidewalks and busy streets. If there were CaBi 1-3 miles from the metro stations, you might see a lot more use.

For example, put a station at the Walter Reed Annex, Forest Glen, Holy Cross Hospital, and just south of Conneticut and Jones Bridge intersection. People can then use CaBi to replace their other modes, or to supplement Metro.

by SJE on Feb 10, 2014 3:10 pm • linkreport

Takoma should have one at the Metro, one in the downtown, and a few in the neighborhood. Its a natural fit for the neighborhood.

by SJE on Feb 10, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

@Joe in SS:
The Long Branch stop was political. There's a big push to make sure that the Piney Branch/Flower Ave. corridors are involved with Silver Spring & Takoma, and not just left on an island. This was symbolic for that.
I totally agree with that goal. The main problem is that putting a CaBi station there, a solid mile and a half from the nearest station (with a huge hill in the way), does not really help.

Now, if they also put a station somewhere near the intersection of Sligo and Piney Branch, that would be a start. I'm sure people from near there would like to be able to use CaBi to go to both Long Branch and DTSS. Even then, though, there needs to be at least one more CaBi station in Long Branch, on the south or west side, to get even the hint of a usable network out that way.

by Gray on Feb 10, 2014 3:13 pm • linkreport

I live in the King Farm neighborhood. There is a dock in our neighborhood and it would make so much sense to have one right at the Shady Grove Metro entrance.

by AL on Feb 10, 2014 6:45 pm • linkreport

Of 308 bikeshare stations, none are on WMATA property.  Rhode Island Avenue, Takoma, Rockville and Shady Grove are obvious no-brainers that have been announced and are months overdue. 

The latter two at least are said to be in the pipeline though holding one's breath for them could be hazardous to one's health. 

by cabi addict on Feb 10, 2014 7:48 pm • linkreport

I was in Silver Spring last week. Happened by a station, and I'm an annual member. I had half a dozen blocks to walk to retrieve my car from a Sligo Ave. shop.

No love to report for Alta, though: No maps at the stations meant no utility whatsoever...afterward I learned there was a station just half a block beyond my destination!

by Kim Toufectis on Feb 10, 2014 7:53 pm • linkreport

I'm one of the holdouts. I've been eagerly awaiting bikeshare's arrival at my apartment for years, but even now that it's here, it's just not right. First, the bikeshare opened at the beginning of winter, so I'm waiting for spring right off the bat. Also, there isn't yet a critical mass of stations in downtown Bethesda where I live, and it's juuuuuust hard enough to get to the other places I'd want to bike to (Friendship Heights and Silver Spring; no bike lane, and incomplete trail, respectively) to discourage it. It's got to get just a little more complete before I'm going to put down money.

by Mark on Feb 10, 2014 8:00 pm • linkreport

@Kim Toufectis

Alta doesn't provide the bikeshare station maps, I think they're done by BikeArlington and DDOT's promotional staff at Go DC Go.

by ontarioroader on Feb 10, 2014 8:36 pm • linkreport

I can provide some insight into the CaBi rollout in terms of the Rockville / rest of MoCo relationship, as a member of the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee who has been asking our bike/ped coordinator on this subject for more than a year.

The bikeshare stations in Rockville are actually funded through a completely different grant than the rest of Montgomery County and managed by the City of Rockville. The Rockville grant is supposed to be focused on providing low-income people alternative transportation options and provides free memberships for people who qualify. So the locations are mainly focused on major areas of employment, unlike bikeshare stations elsewhere.

In contrast, the Montgomery County grants are managed through the county. The county is supposed to be installing stations at both Shady Grove and the Rockville stations (sadly, not the Twinbrook station), but they have been delayed because of conflicts between them and WMATA. We have been harassing our poor ped/bike coordinator about this for months and hasn't been able to provide us with any updates because the two other institutions are dragging their feet.

by Shannon on Feb 10, 2014 10:47 pm • linkreport

FYI - The free SpotCycle smartphone app is useful for locating CaBi stations (although it has some glitches).

by Citizen on Feb 11, 2014 4:15 am • linkreport

Uh, all that, and it's just cold. I have been staring at the new Bikeshare station near GEICO, and looking forward to riding home from work. Soon. Like when it's not so cold.

by David on Feb 11, 2014 6:00 am • linkreport

Seems like a missed opportunity to also not put a couple along the Georgetown Branch trail like maybe one where it crosses Connecticut in Chevy Chase and one at the trailhead area in western Silver Spring. Just far enough that it would be a long walk but still a relatively easy ride.

by BTA on Feb 11, 2014 9:09 am • linkreport

I actually work in an office park that's right across from the Crabbs Branch Way bike share station. I commute up from NE DC (way to far to bike the whole way) but in combination with taking metro to Shady Grove I would definitely use it. The issue however as mentioned in this article is that there is NO bike share station at Shady Grove Metro. I think part of the reason is the way Shady Grove is built. If you look at an aerial picture of it, the east side of the station is almost completely impenetrable to someone on foot (or bike). If they do add a bike share station they should add 3 or 4 paved paths to exit and enter the station more directly. Add a bike share station to shady grove metro though, I'll use it.

by Doug on Feb 11, 2014 10:14 am • linkreport

BTA: they can integrate the Georgetown Branch into the network by having stations at current destinations that are just off the trail.
1. The Walter Reid Annex is very close to the start of the trail
2. Where the trail crosses CT Ave, there is a shopping district, apartments and townhouses
3. Where it crosses under East West Hwy, it near BCC.

Of course, all of this will kinda sorta require MoCo to see the GBT as a commuting route and not recreation.

by SJE on Feb 11, 2014 10:25 am • linkreport

I'm probably one of the few datapoints in the Rockville region this winter. I'm a reverse commuter from Capitol Hill to shady grove. I used to metro 2x a week but gave up due to a combination of long headways on ride on and the troubles on the red line. Still, I decided to take metro and give cabi a try (I'm a periodic user of cabi on the hill).

Problem one: it's 1/2mi walk from the shady grove platform to a bike station so I went to Rockville instead. The nearest rockville cabi is tucked away in a desolate square that requires some sleuthing to find. It's fairly obnoxious to get across 355 there, but it's at least a shorter walk.

The absence of bike lanes is irrelevant. The sidewalks are in good repair and there's no one using them.

While I'm lucky to have a station near my work (gude), the total bike trip still took 25 minutes which is not useful compared to the bus from shady grove (20 minute headway, 5 minute ride). The bike does not concretely benefit my commute.

As to mid day riding, the network sucks near shady grove. This is more a problem with the shady grove area as a destination however and further infill might make the network better. King farm is lame for a lunch destination, and I'm definitely not going to bike there. Falls grove is nice for lunch, but the hills and distance make it it prohibitive for a lunch commute.

by Rkv commuter on Feb 11, 2014 10:39 am • linkreport

The roll-out in late fall certainly discouraged me from using CaBi, especially during cold weather.
The absence of stations at the Metro is appalling. Metro should by now have developed a simple, consistent way of dealing with all the different jurisdictions about this. It should be easy to put a CaBi unit in or near a park and ride.

The comment about the difficulty of biking from Bethesda Row to the Triangle is correct. The county should put in a short two way cycle track along the west side of Woodmont to make a connection. There is really no other way to connect the two without using highly traveling roads. Woodmont has surplus lanes from Old Georgetown south to where the existing 2 block bike lanes exist. Such a bike path would help connect the Crescent Trail to the Trolley Trail.

I also wonder whether it makes sense to put stations near High Schools, the Bethesda Pool, and the Crescent Trail. These could serve students, recreation and see if people in the neighborhoods would use CaBi.

by BicycleBob on Feb 13, 2014 8:26 pm • linkreport

They need a bike station at Takoma Metro. I would totally use it for biking from Silver Spring/Sligo Avenue station. Is that not logistically possible because of the DC / MD divide? For example, if I biked from Silver Spring to a bike station in the District would the docking station refuse the bike?

by William Tell on Feb 14, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

@William Tell

The entire system is interoperable. My first time using a Montgomery County station was a trip from Silver Spring to DC. Many of the trips from the bikeshare station at the Friendship Heights Metro stop go to DC stations.

by Zach Rausnitz on Feb 15, 2014 8:57 pm • linkreport

Be interesting to see the ramp up in usage as we go in to spring. Hope to see an update!

by h st ll on Mar 14, 2014 3:22 pm • linkreport

They need to add some stations along the Rock Creek Trail. That would be a great way of moving between Bethesda and Rockville.

by Steve D. on Mar 28, 2014 1:46 pm • linkreport

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