Greater Greater Washington

Georgetown ANC debates additional CaBi stations tonight

Georgetown's 4 Capital Bikeshare stations surround the neighborhood, but avoid the residential area and its 8,500 residents entirely. Tonight, the ANC will discuss the possibility of expanding CaBi into the neighborhood.


CaBi stations surround Georgetown but avoid the neighborhood. Map from Capital Bikeshare.

If you want to see more CaBi stations in the Georgetown neighborhood, it's important for you to show up and tell the ANC why you want CaBi stations that are convenient for Georgetowners.

When a CaBi station was proposed for the Car Barn on Prospect St, which would have been convenient for students and residents, a "loose coalition of homeowners" told their ANC commissioner that they opposed it. They cited concerns "about more noise and parkingthat people might park nearby just to use the bike station."

Even though none of the homeowners felt strongly enough to subsequently attend an ANC meeting to oppose the Car Barn location, and I showed up and spoke in support of it, all but the GU student commissioner voted down the location.

To the ANC's credit, they are nonetheless open to other locations which would be convenient for Georgetowners. After all, 1 in 25 Georgetowners commute by bike.

The meeting begins at 6:30 pm at the Georgetown Visitation School, 35th and Volta Place, Heritage Room, first building on the left by the gatehouse, 2nd floor.

A few locations have been proposed:


Current (red) and suggested (white) Capital Bikeshare stations. Image from Google Maps.

Volta Park: This city park on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue has a parking lot with 5 parking spots for DCPR use only. The 2 spots furthest into the park, abutting the basketball court, would be a fine CaBi location.

On each side of the parking lot are small flower beds with footpaths that, surprise, are never used because a parking lot was dropped in between them. Furthermore, residents are well aware that there are rarely any permitted cars in the parking lot, which is primarily used illegally by drivers who know DCPR doesn't ever tow cars.

A CaBi location would thus make the main entrance to Volta Park more enjoyable as well as safer for children, while providing the amenity of bike sharing for Georgetowners in the West Village.

Rose Park: This NPS park is ideally situated for a CaBi location with a path that connects Georgetown and Dupont Circle. The station would go on the part of the asphalt that isn't marked for basketball.

Controversy around this potential location comes from the Friends of Rose Park, who have waged a 10-year campaign to designate the path a footpath and not a multiuse path that bikers can share. Fortunately, the NPS has steadfastly refused this request.

As this location is closest to the rest of DC, a CaBi station in Rose Park would probably have the biggest impact on reducing car traffic. And it would provide a nice amenity for residents of the East Village.

Montrose Park: A CaBi station could be placed in the playground space of the Jackson School and Arts Center across R Street from Montrose Park.

While there is less density in this northeast corner of Georgetown, this could mean less opposition as well. It would be difficult for residents to argue that the noise of bikers entering the Jackson School and Arts Center lot is a nuisance.

Can't make the meeting? Find your ANC commissioner using this ANC map and email him before the meeting expressing your desire for CaBi stations that are more convenient for residents.

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Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 

Comments

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They cited concerns "about more noise and parking—that people might park nearby just to use the bike station."

Facepalm. Seriously, only a Georgetown resident could be so stuck up as to think that someone would drive all the way to THEIR bike station rather than any of the other dozens of bike stations throughout the DC-Arlington area. And that's meeting the Georgetowners half-way by assuming that someone would actually drive an automobile, when the University runs several shuttle buses an hour to or near the Car Barn.

by tom veil on Nov 29, 2010 10:32 am • linkreport

If Georgetown residents don't want more Cabi stations then they shouldn't have them. There's plenty of other places in the city that require infill and will welcome it. I don't see any reason to push stations on people who don't want them.

by jcm on Nov 29, 2010 11:15 am • linkreport

Honestly, CaBi in Georgetown seems like a bit of a slam-dunk, given the distance to Metro.

Otherwise, if they don't want 'em, we'll take them elsewhere. We could make very good use of 4 extra stations over in Capitol Hill, Hill East, Kingman Park, and Trinidad.

The Lincoln Park debacle seems to have been an isolated incident, and I think that you could find plenty of residents to testify that the existing stations haven't had much of a negative effect in their neighborhoods.

by andrew on Nov 29, 2010 11:24 am • linkreport

Can't make it to the meeting tonight, but sent an email to my commissioner to express my support.

I would be quite annoyed, if not entirely surprised, if the ANC blocks CaBi expansion, particularly as I'm not aware of any actual problems (versus feared problems) reported around the existing stations already in G'town.

by Jacques on Nov 29, 2010 11:33 am • linkreport

Many residents do want them. Some don't. The ANC may not be really speaking for the residents of Georgetown. DDOT needs to decide what requests from the ANC are sensible (like perhaps suggesting a station in one place but not another, if the preferred place isn't a bad one) and which are unreasonable (like saying no to any stations at all).

by David Alpert on Nov 29, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

I'd actually sugget moving the proposed rose park location closer to M st. Makes more sense when people are coming into Georgetown to drop off a bike there and walk.

The ANC's objections reveal far more about the weakness of the entire ANC system (old cranks, limited grounds to object) than about bike sharing.

by charlie on Nov 29, 2010 11:59 am • linkreport

If Georgetown residents don't want more Cabi stations then they shouldn't have them. There's plenty of other places in the city that require infill and will welcome it. I don't see any reason to push stations on people who don't want them.

Well, other than the fact that I may want to travel to Georgetown at some point. Seriously, whether Georgetown residents want them or not, they should get them. As with the Lincoln Park idiocy, there are certain things for which "local control" should be a minor concern. This is one of them.

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 12:02 pm • linkreport

These Cabi stations only add a draw for vandals and noise makers. Now that there's one at Lincoln Park, learn from their mistakes. Nothing but headaches and thugs riding their bikes and screaming and yelling--oh, and then there's the cowbells. Beware the bike riders--all lawless roughians!

by On a Bike on Nov 29, 2010 12:24 pm • linkreport

Don't forget the scores of children we've lost as they've run pell-mell into traffic to get a closer look at the shiny red bikes! I cannot get used to the silence of the playgrounds...

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 12:31 pm • linkreport

"Debacle"? "Lincoln Park debacle" must have been ironic. Have you seen our glorious station? The protesters only it moved from SE corner of the park to the adjacent NE corner where we use the shite out of it. It's a winner of common sense over the NIMBYs...

by Read Scott Martin on Nov 29, 2010 12:37 pm • linkreport

It would be nice just to have a place to park a bike in Georgeown, let alone a CaBi station.

by aaa on Nov 29, 2010 12:53 pm • linkreport

If Georgetown residents don't want more Cabi stations then they shouldn't have them.

Excuse me? When Georgetown secedes from DC, it can set its own transportation policies all by itself. Until then, citywide transit amenities like CaBi will serve the entire city rather than being beholden to parochial interests of a few ANC members. Is Georgetown part of DC? I believe it is. In that case, it should be connected to CaBi in as convenient a manner as possible for CaBi users.

by JustMe on Nov 29, 2010 1:43 pm • linkreport

Hard to know who to root against here: The G'town ANC snoots who come up with so many reasons to hate so many things or the top-down central planners who don't care what local residents think on their golden calf issue.

by Fritz on Nov 29, 2010 1:51 pm • linkreport

When are they going to put some in Rosslyn?

by Ross Lynn on Nov 29, 2010 2:25 pm • linkreport

I'm with @JustMe. If we're going to let local ANCs dictate transportation policy, I want C Street and Constitution NE closed to all non-local motorized traffic between the hours of 6-9am and 4-7pm.

That will be all. Thank you.

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 2:26 pm • linkreport

Hard to know who to root against here: The G'town ANC snoots who come up with so many reasons to hate so many things or the top-down central planners who don't care what local residents think on their golden calf issue.

Good public policy on the one hand; tweaking the nose of Jane Fonda on the other. Which to choose...which to choose?

Thanks for the succinct depiction of modern "conservative" political philosophy, Fritz.

:)

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 2:28 pm • linkreport

@oboe: Some of the statists here would make Bernie Sanders look like a Tea Partier.

by Fritz on Nov 29, 2010 2:55 pm • linkreport

I wonder if the Georgetown residents and their ANC have considered the general effect on traffic and pedestrians that allowing CaBi stations in will have. Problems involving bikes have increased geometrically in the Dupont area since the establishment of the stations here ... which of course isn't surprising given that the cart got put before the horse on this one (again) by DDOT. I.e., The number of bikes got increased before successful enforcement and biker education could be implemented. If I were a Georgetown resident, I'd tell the ANC 'let's wait to see how they sort this problem out in Dupont before we allow it to come in here.' And it's not like we have all that long before we get a new DDOT director and some fresh ideas.

by Lance on Nov 29, 2010 3:27 pm • linkreport

Problems involving bikes have increased geometrically in the Dupont area since the establishment of the stations here ... which of course isn't surprising given that the cart got put before the horse on this one (again) by DDOT.

Interesting. I've neither read, nor experienced this "geometric" increase in "problems involving bikes" in the Dupont area, but I'm intrigued. Anyone?

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 3:35 pm • linkreport

What about placing one in the CVS parking lot next to the ZipCars that live there?

by Rob on Nov 29, 2010 3:46 pm • linkreport

Cabi is nowhere near optimum density, and these four stations do little to improve the system for non-georgetown residents. Why waste time and energy fighting the ANC now? Stick them at the end of the line, and build first where there's less resistance.

by jcm on Nov 29, 2010 3:47 pm • linkreport

what makes the opposition to cabi stations especially dopey in this instance is that bike sharing is far more likely to *prevent* people from driving into georgetown -- i have already used it a couple of times to get to lunch appointments in georgetown from downtown without taking a cab, and i'm sure others will welcome the option of taking a bike instead of driving and having to find/pay for a place to park.

sometimes i think the nimbys just oppose things for the sake of opposing them, i.e., it is all about exercising the power to veto and not about any concern (rational or irrational, self-centered or public-spirited) about harm that would result to their neighborhood.

by Casey Anderson on Nov 29, 2010 4:29 pm • linkreport

Any data showing Dupont's bike "problem," Lance? Or talking out your arse as usual?

by aaa on Nov 29, 2010 4:45 pm • linkreport

Lance, this is what happens when we allow cabs on the street without proper education regarding their use.

by JustMe on Nov 29, 2010 5:15 pm • linkreport

And the connection to Capital Bikeshare is... what?

by Alex B. on Nov 29, 2010 5:16 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.
The connection is clearly that you can't spell CaBi without "cab".

We really need to get Lance Beck here a chalkboard and a cable news contract.

by Matt Johnson on Nov 29, 2010 5:19 pm • linkreport

Clearly the CaBi system is wreaking havoc with the Dupont area. But this of course is overshadowed by the geometric, nay *exponential* increase in violent assaults on our elected officials:

http://dcist.com/2010/11/obama_needs_12_stitches_after_baske.php

:P

by oboe on Nov 29, 2010 5:24 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, Okay ... if you say so ... let's ban basketball courts in our DC parks ... Or maybe just give the courts over to the bicyclists ... who apparently don't enough paths and other recreational areas to practice their sport ;)

by Lance on Nov 29, 2010 6:51 pm • linkreport

Okay, now that you've all had your little fun, can you please stop posting under my name?

by Lance on Nov 29, 2010 8:18 pm • linkreport

I have removed comments calling Lance names and then other comments impersonating him. Namecalling is not allowed here and neither is impersonating others. We have an open system for people picking names; please don't abuse it or I will have to require registration which would be a big headache for everyone.

by David Alpert on Nov 29, 2010 8:56 pm • linkreport

thanks David.

by Lance on Nov 29, 2010 9:57 pm • linkreport

Thank you for reminding me to be at the ANC meeting tonight. :). As a resident of Georgetown, I totally support more bikeshare stations. Locations that would work well include Volta Park and in front of Hyde Elementary School on O Street. Both would be great and well utilized. They would be great for getting to Dupont Circle, Logan Circle (G2 bus is far too infrequent) or U St when otherwise hate to admit but I'm tempted sometimes to drive and park (it's still zone 2) or walk in case of Dupont Circle or now we have circulator from M St. I would definetely like to try bikeshare if we get more stations in convenient spots.

by Katie filbert on Nov 29, 2010 10:58 pm • linkreport

Other locations suggested include somewhere outside Marvelous Market at Wisc & P St. That would also be good but not sure it's feasible since the station might have to go on private property.

Also, somewhere at the east end of M St in Georgetown before the bridge would be good and serve residents of that part of the nbhd and visitors.

There is time to come up with more suggestions but those seemed reasonable to everyone at the meeting. No one at the meeting was opposed in any way to having more stations but rather there was general support for CaBi.

by Katie Filbert on Nov 29, 2010 11:07 pm • linkreport

Gave this some more thought... Although there is lots of space in front out Hyde Elementary School, the location is not practical. No way would it be safe or a good idea to ride a bike on the rough, uneven cobblestone (Belgian blocks) w/ streetcar tracks. Not a good idea for people to ride on th sidewalk there, past Wingos (too narrow, bad idea anyway)

I vote for Marvelous Market if it can be feasible and/or Volta Park.

Another option I thought of earlier is the west end of M St, maybe south side across from Georgetown Cupcake (where there is a parking lot) or on 33 St south side. Might be too close to existing station on Wisc by the canal but I disagree and would use a bike station somewhere by Georgetown cupcake (insert joke) but seriously would be convenient for me and lots of other folks (residents and visitors alike)

by Katie Filbert on Nov 29, 2010 11:47 pm • linkreport

Great to hear that there was general support. I think the positive reviews from riders, like myself, who are discovering/rediscovering parts of the city through biking, as well as from those who have seen the way that CaBi seems to have brought together people from many different walks of life, are a net positive for the District.

Any other CaBi riders feel that sort of camaraderie (a la VW drivers) when you see someone else riding a bikeshare bike? It always puts a smile on my face, and leads to some gentle teasing from my wife, who hasn't yet jumped onto a CaBi bike.

by Jacques on Nov 30, 2010 8:47 am • linkreport

The meeting did go very well, as Katie reports above.

Katie and others spoke very eloquently, and the commissioners were clearly influenced by having received several emails yesterday. Commissioner Starrels relayed an email from a constituent who said she was able to commute to her job downtown by bike instead of by car thanks to CaBi.

No concerns or opposition were aired, and ANC Chair Lewis concluded by saying that the ANC would adopt a specific resolution at their next meeting! Way to go everybody!

by Ken Archer on Nov 30, 2010 9:47 am • linkreport

The lack of a Car Barn location is a glaring omission, especially considering the eventual extension of the system to Rosslyn. It should be possible to ride across the bridge without having to navigate M Street traffic. Hopefully they'll reconsider at some point.

by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2010 2:20 pm • linkreport

@anonymous: Car Barn would be a good location, but maybe better to put a CaBi station along M St (south side) near the Key Bridge and across from the Car Barn. Maybe Francis Scott Key park, by the bridge or by 33rd St (south) by the parking lot or Cady's Alley? I just can't imagine riding a bike down the hill from Prospect, so bottom of the hill would be good (in my opinion).

by Katie on Nov 30, 2010 7:40 pm • linkreport

FYI: here's a map that shows status of the existing bike stations (georgetown + everywhere)

http://osm.mapki.com/capitalbikes/

Right now, there are 3 bikes too many at the Wisc Ave / C&O Canal bike station (11 there, 8 spaces). I bet that means people rode over to georgetown? Would be good to look more at the existing usage patterns over time.

by Katie on Nov 30, 2010 7:49 pm • linkreport

11 bikes 8 spaces doesn't mean there are 3 too many. It means there are 19 spaces and 11 of them are filled while 8 are empty.

by David Alpert on Dec 1, 2010 8:47 am • linkreport

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