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DC, Arlington to add 36 Capital Bikeshare stations

Gabe Klein is giving us all a gift just before he leaves: DDOT just announced they plan to add 20 more Capital Bikeshare stations in 2011, and Arlington has funding for 16 which will allow expanding the system to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Photo by M.V. Jantzen on Flickr.

They will identify locations in the spring and start installing them "as early as May." DDOT's press release also says that their bicycle counts found that "rush hour bicycle trips increased by 82% between 2007 and 2010 at 20 locations throughout the District."

And the 15th Street bike lane is now finally completed. I biked downtown last night using the 15th Street lane on a Capital Bikeshare bike, and saw road crews installing some of the last pylons between K and M, where drivers were still parking in the newly-painted lane. Cycle tracks on L and M Streets, NW are next in line.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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What are the future plans for bike lanes in DC? Does anyone know, how about Arlington?

by Vik on Dec 23, 2010 12:41 pm • linkreport

L and M Streets, NW are next for DC. I added that to the post.

Don't know about Arlington.

by David Alpert on Dec 23, 2010 12:45 pm • linkreport

If we get a serious snowfall, how are the plows going to deal with the bike lane pylons?

by Fritz on Dec 23, 2010 12:51 pm • linkreport

@ Fritz The bike lanes are wide enough for a sidewalk sized plow that some cities utilize, it would be a good opportunity for DC to start using one.

by Fabian on Dec 23, 2010 12:57 pm • linkreport

Who is responsible for the implementation of bike lanes in Arlington? Any proposed timeframe for R-B? I heard January mentioned when talking to the CaBi rep at Clarendon Day.

I'm very excited for their availability in the R-B corridor, it will make bike commuting to DC easy.

by James M on Dec 23, 2010 1:03 pm • linkreport

@Fabian: While it may be a good opportunity for DC to get one of those, the question is: Does DPW actually have such a plow? Or are they just going to use the regular street plows (which would crush the pylons) or (more likely) simply not plow the bike lanes?

by Fritz on Dec 23, 2010 1:11 pm • linkreport

Any word on the time frame for the L/M St lanes? At that point there will be truly a way to get crosstown easily by bike.

If the recent light snow is any indication, I don't think the 15th St track will be plowed at all. I don't remember it being touched last winter. I'd love to be proven wrong this year.

by tj on Dec 23, 2010 2:20 pm • linkreport

Finally got around to that first-ever CaBi trip yesterday around sundown, and ... I'm hooked.  It was everything I was hoping for from it, as well as faster than any combination of walking/bus/subway. 

But now the concern becomes what will happen when it snows.  CaBi's snow policy has yet to appear on their website but it sure would be a nuisance for the service to go away when needed, particularly since it isn't yet clear at what point during a typical snow cycle they intend to bring it back. 

But one can always walk: a clear advantage over other modes is its reduced dependency on the city being ready/willing/able to remove snow.  So: we'll see. 

by intermodal commuter on Dec 23, 2010 2:26 pm • linkreport

I rode CaBi for the first time on the GGW/WABA bike ride and was impressed with the solidity of the bikes and thought the kinetic-powered lights are a nice touch. I found that the bikes are way too biased for comfort (designed for the "casual" user, natch) with a seating position that is upright and far back from the pedals. This meant that it took more effort to pedal at a fast rate of speed compared to a typical commuter bike.

And there was a problem of me putting the bike back in the station and getting a "red" light (meaning that the bike wasn't properly registered as being returned). But, the bike was clearly locked and I couldn't take it or any other bike out. It took David calling the central command to guide us how to fix the problem: by lifting the bike by 6 inches and dropping it on the ground to get the bike to properly register as being returned.

But all in all, very impressed, and would like to see one of these in Portland.

by Reza on Dec 23, 2010 2:35 pm • linkreport

This is great news. The system, great start as it is, needs to expand from its current state to get really useful. They didn't get the TIGER II grant to expand in one big bang, but as long as they keep expanding incrementally, that's OK. Hopefully other jurisdictions will find funding to join soon.

I hope the new DC stations are added in dense areas rather than expanding to unserved areas. Even in dense places, stations are often located a significant distance apart. If you have to walk more than about 1/4 mile to/from a station, the utility of the system is much less.

by Gavin on Dec 23, 2010 2:42 pm • linkreport

...especially when a station is empty/full. That's not happening much now that it's cold, but when the weather was nice, rush hour patterns were leaving lots of empty/full stations. Adding the new stations a few blocks away from heavily-used stations would be much better than placing the new stations in faraway parts of town.

by Gavin on Dec 23, 2010 2:44 pm • linkreport

Or maybe they can work out a deal with NPS by then and expand to some NPS properties. Or the Capitol.

by Gavin on Dec 23, 2010 2:47 pm • linkreport


with a seating position that is upright and far back from the pedals.

Funny, I rode a CaBi about 30 blocks across the city yesterday, and the biggest complaint I had was that the seat was too far forward.

by oboe on Dec 23, 2010 3:45 pm • linkreport

One observation: there was a lively thread regarding the 15th Street contraflow bike lanes from Pennsylvania Ave to the White House plaza a few days ago. Someone had mentioned that they were seeing cyclists who weren't using the lanes.

Just wanted to say, I was guilty of riding in the traffic lanes northbound, as I didn't actually know the lanes were there until my return trip. Excellent job, DDOT, though. The lanes are almost as efficient as using the travel lanes, and a heck of a lot more pleasant, as you don't have to bully your way across three lanes to make the left-hand turn from 15th to the segment of Pennsylvania in front of the White House.

I'm sure drivers are pretty happy to not have my slow ass taking up a lane climbing 15th as well.

by oboe on Dec 23, 2010 3:53 pm • linkreport

> But one can always walk...

No, but you are always welcome to drive an auto.

Back in February... Even as his snowplows heaped snow on sidewalks, Adrian Fenty added insult to injury by decreeing that pedestrians were to stay off the streets.

Did anyone actually get in hot water for walking in the street anyway?

by Turnip on Dec 23, 2010 7:14 pm • linkreport

@ tj just FYI Q and R st are continuous crosstown bike lanes already existing.

by Chris R on Dec 24, 2010 9:42 am • linkreport

Fritz, the cycletrack was widened specifically to allow a plow to easily use it. Last year the cycletrack was plowed.

James M, Arlington DOT handles bike lanes in Arlington. They're installing bike lanes and sharrows on wilson and clarendon now from what I've heard.

intermodal commuter, CaBi will stay open during the winter, but may be closed when it snows.

by David C on Dec 24, 2010 12:33 pm • linkreport

"Did anyone actually get in hot water for walking in the street anyway?"

Where sidewalks were impassible I used streets and didn't get any pushback over it.

"CaBi will stay open during the winter, but may be closed when it snows."

Yes, thanks, but not knowing the particulars of the snow operations plan, nor having had any experience with an actual event, leaves a knowledge gap that creates uncertainty. 

by intermodal commuter on Dec 24, 2010 1:24 pm • linkreport

intermodal, do you know the particulars of when roads or Metro will be closed?

by David C on Dec 24, 2010 4:18 pm • linkreport

"do you know the particulars of when roads or Metro will be closed?"

Prior experience with DDoT, DPW and WMATA is adequate to form reasonable expectations of what they will -- and won't -- do the next time the city is struck by a catastrophic few inches of snow.  If their responses are less than stellar at least it won't come as a surprise. 

In the absence of a track record for CaBi, the next best thing would be knowing, from its plan, the criteria for locking out stations and, at some point, returning them to service.  Is is unreasonable to hope that the plan might become available to users before it actually goes into effect? 

That the system is intended to operate at all over the winter is quite encouraging.  I'm just trying to figure out what to expect under different operating conditions. 

by intermodal commuter on Dec 25, 2010 9:19 am • linkreport

The policy has now been posted:
"If greater than 2 inches of snow or a quarter inch of ice is forecast, then three hours after the commencement of the precipitation, Capital Bikeshare will close temporarily and no bikes can be rented. All bikes already in use at the time of closure can be returned to any Capital Bikeshare station with an available open slot and all user fees still apply. The system will re-open when major roadways are salted, plowed and clear of snow and ice."
Even before seeing it I went ahead and signed up for the annual subscription anyway.

by intermodal commuter on Dec 28, 2010 11:33 pm • linkreport

Here are some more details on Capital Bikeshare expansion in Arlington: Stations will be added in 3 phases during 2011, Spring, Summer and Fall. Arlington County has funds available for 16 new stations total in 2011. More stations can be added by businesses that desire a Capital Bikeshare station at their location and are willing to finance the cost. For pricing details of the stations and bikes, go to or email
The 16 stations will be located in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor with the first being placed in Rosslyn to provide connection to existing Capital Bikeshare stations in Crystal City and Georgetown.
Expansion will be an ongoing effort as funds become available from both public and private sources.

by Chris Eatough on Jan 3, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

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