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Bicycling


Two Congressmen want to give bikeshare programs more federal money

Federal law doesn't define bikeshare programs as public transportation, which means they aren't eligible for the sustained funding that most transit is. If a new bill becomes a law, that would change.


Photo by Chris Reed on Flickr.

Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), both members of the Congressional Bike Caucus, introduced the Bikeshare Transit Act last week. The law would make bikeshare eligible for funds dedicated to public transportation, clearing up confusion that both local communities and the Department of Transportation often face when it comes to keeping bikeshare programs up and running.

There are over 50 bikeshare programs in the US, with our very own Capital Bikeshare being the biggest. While many were started with federal money, funding continued operations has been a challenge. The Bikeshare Transit Act will help pay for everything from bike repairs and keeping rebalancing vans on the road to system expansions and new technology.

In addition to defining bikeshare as public transportation, the bill proposes to make bikeshare an eligible project under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which supports surface transportation efforts that work to improve air quality. Since bikes are powered by people and emit no pollution, it makes sense for bikeshare programs to receive CMAQ funding.

The American Planning Association is one of many organizations that support this bill.

"Bikeshare programs are helping communities large and small create new and needed transportation options while also improving local economies and quality of life," said APA President Carol Rhea, FAICP. "Bikeshare has become a proven tool for building stronger, more vibrant, and more resilient communities. APA and the nation's planners applaud the introduction of the bipartisan Bikeshare Transit Act. This legislation will make sure that federal policies and investments recognize what residents and cities already know: that bikeshare works."

Crossposted at American Planning Association's Policy News for Planners.

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Bicycling


Capital Bikeshare is coming to Reston!

Reston is getting its first Capital Bikeshare stations, including spots at both the Wiehle and the coming Reston Town Center Metro stops. The network will make it a lot easier to get between the area's transportation hubs and its employment, retail, and community spaces.


The bike room at the Wiehle Metro Station. Photo by FCDOT.

Bikeshare facilities are a staple transportation option in parts of DC and other parts of the region, but there aren't any in Reston right now. Fairfax County's transportation department plans is contracting with CaBit to install thirteen stations at locations that include Plaza America, the Bluemont Transit Center, the Reston Regional Library and Reston Hospital. Between all the stations, 130 bikes will be available to rent.

The system will connect residents and visitors to employment, transportation, and shopping districts. In the specific case of getting between Wiehle and Reston Metro stations, which are a mile apart, bikeshare will provide an easy link.


The CaBi stations Fairfax's transportation department has proposed for Reston. Image from FCDOT.

At a recent community meeting, Fairfax Transportation Department Bicycle Program Coordinator Adam Lind said the hope is to have the stations in place by late 2016 or early 2017. That's contingent, though, on the Fairfax County DOT tapping its Federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds for all the capital construction.

The Transportation Alternatives Program provides federal funding to projects other than traditional highway construction. Eligible projects include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, complete streets and safe routes to schools. The funding is typically split 80 percent Federal and 20 percent State or local match from the sponsoring organization. Related to CaBi in Reston, TAP funds would help with building the concrete station pads and purchase the bicycles.

If FCDOTuses a combination of local and federal funds, the stations might arrive sooner. Splitting funding would allow the county to start building the concrete pads with local funds, which typically has a faster approval. The TAP funds would be used to purchase the equipment. Also, some of the sites will require coordination and approval from private landowners, like the proposed station at Reston Hospital.

There is already a potential built-in user base. It was surprising to learn that there are currently around 1300 Capital Bikeshare members in Fairfax County. The county is also considering expanding to the Herndon Metro station. And the system has the potential to grow through systems in Tysons, Merrifield and even Falls Church.

I asked if there was any concern about placing at a site currently under redevelopment, like Reston Town Center North, only to have it soon removed. Lind explained that the concrete pads that are the foundation of the stations can be relocated as needed depending on construction or usage patterns. A fun fact: the pads are 41 feet in length (You'll thank me on trivia night.)

One person at the meeting commented about the current state of the trail infrastructure, which ranges from good to fair. He asked it there would be any improvements. Lind mentioned that they are working to get money from funds already set aside for area Metro improvements.

The next steps include ridership and financial analyses along with the final bike site designations. Updates will be posted to the bikeshare website. You can also submit questions or concerns to Lind at Adam.Lind@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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Bicycling


Alexandria's elections are Tuesday. Here are some candidates' views on walking, biking, and street safety.

About half of the candidates in Alexandria's upcoming mayoral and City Council elections say they believe Alexandria should do more to be a safe place for people to walk and bike. Here's who they are, and some detail on the policies they'd back if elected.


City Hall in Alexandria. Photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM on Flickr.

The Alexandria's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) sent a survey to all the candidates, asking for their views on issues that people who walk and bike often face.

The survey questions covered street use and safety as well as walking and cycling issues. Specifics included quesitons about committing to a Complete Streets policy and expanding Capital Bikeshare.

Current mayor Bill Euille (D) is running for re-election as a write-in candidate after losing the Democratic primary to Allison Silberberg, the vice mayor of the City Council. While Euille's responses make clear that he wants Alexandria to be more walkable and bikeable, Silberberg did not reply to the survey questions.

All six City Council spots are up for election. Respondents from that race include incumbent candidates John Taylor Chapman (D), Tim Lovain (D), and Justin Wilson (D), and Council challengers Monique Miles (R) and Townsend "Van" Van Fleet (D).

On making Alexandria's streets safe for everyone

A few years ago, Alexandria passed a Complete Streets policy, which is meant to ensure the city's streets provide a comfortable experience for all users: people who walk, people who bike, people who drive, and people who use public transportation. But this policy needs continued council and staff support to achieve its

Lovain and Miles gave the most detailed answers when asked how they would push Complete Streets forward. Lovain noted that he is a member of Smart Growth America's Local Leaders Council, which helps promote Complete Streets policies throughout the US, and that he has pushed the Transportation Planning Board for the National Capital Region, which he will chair next year if re-elected, to follow Complete Streets principles.

"I can promise that, if I am re-elected, I will make sure that Alexandria continues and enhances its focus on Complete Streets in the years ahead," Lovain said in his survey response.

Miles says complete communities make places healthier, happier, and more sustainable, and that Alexandria should continue to make obvious repairs to the transportation system. She adds that organizations like Alexandria LocalMotion and, with resident involvement, the Transportation Commission and Urban Design Board, are crucial parts of design in Alexandria.

Miles also stresses the importance of small area plans, saying that they should constantly revisit and study the Complete Streets criteria. "An example of this would be to focus on the upcoming implementation of the Beauregard Small Area Plan and ensuring that important road safety measures are included," she said.

Chapman says he would continue to fund Complete Streets, and push for staff to work with neighborhoods on local projects.

Bill Euille says that as mayor, he would push the policy forward through "education, communications, outreach and advocacy," and notes that the initiative passed under his administration. Townsend Van Fleet says he would endorse the policy.

On walking and cycling to Metro

Alexandria currently has four Metro stations within the city boundaries, and making it easier for people to walk or bike to them is key to helping to cut surrounding vehicle traffic.

Lovain suggests building a tunnel from the new Potomac Yard Trail to the Braddock Road station. He also says Alexandria needs "to proceed with the multi-modal bridge connecting Cameron Station to the Van Dorn Metro station."


The Potomac Yard Trail, looking southbound. Image by the author.

Van Fleet wants to make it safe to walk and bike to Metro, and ensure bike racks are available at stations. Bill Euille wants to add bike lanes and wayfinding. John Chapman wants to continue to push WMATA to redevelop stations, which he says would make access easier. Justin Wilson wants better trails and sidewalks.

Looking beyond walking and biking, Miles suggests that the city should explore "creative solutions" like the Old Town Trolley for areas outside of Old Town. "We must extend our reach beyond the half mile around a Metro station and ensure shuttles and other forms of transportation offer all residents the opportunity to have easy access to Metro stations," she said.

On Union Street, where people on foot and bike often travel

Union Street near King Street is a popular place to walk, and Union Street is also a primary north-south bicycle route through Alexandria that connects to the Mount Vernon Trail. At times, especially on weekends, Union Street can become quite congested, challenging the users to share the road safely.


It's typical to see people on foot, on bike, and in cars on Union Street. Image by the author.

Solutions for the King and Union Street intersection include better signage, crosswalks and sidewalks, along with making sure people know about traffic laws and that they are enforced.

Lovain suggests exploring "an alternative north-south bicycle route through Old Town, such as on Royal Street," noting "any such bike route should be implemented carefully in close consultation with the neighbors."

Van Fleet calls for more law enforcement on Union Street, especially during peak travel times.

Wilson supports changing the road way to allow people who walk, bike and drive to safely operate in the corridor.

Euille sees better street design and police enforcement as holdovers until the pilot pedestrian plaza approved in 2012 is completed.

On expanding Capital Bikeshare

Alexandria currently has 16 CaBi stations, located in Old Town, Del Ray and Carlyle. There are also 16 more on the way next year. Most of these stations will be added on the eastern side of the city. With the National Science Foundation coming to Alexandria in 2017 and the Transportation Security Administration following in 2018, the city will need to continue to expand Bikeshare, especially in its north and west sections.


Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.

Wilson, a regular CaBi user, says he supports bringing in more stations as part of completing an "overall transportation picture". Lovain thinks expansion should be done "strategically," focusing on adding stations that are close to other stations. Chapman wants to see more stations in neighborhoods that don't have them but "have infrastructure to support it." Euille says he'll seek grant money and other ways to support expanding bikeshare.

While she says she's against "one bike rental company receiving city subsidies," Miles says she wants more bikeshare options in Alexandria.

Van Fleet does not want to spend "any city funds on bikeshare, as it is a money making corporation".

On walking and biking to school

Alexandria has over 14,000 students at 16 schools throughout the city. While some students walk and bike to the schools, the majority arrive either by bus or in private vehicles. If it encourage students to walk or bike to school, the city can combat traffic congestion, air pollution and childhood obesity and increase kids' happiness and effectiveness in the classroom.

Townsend calls for "schools and parents to educate the children regarding safe practices when walking and biking" and wants "those who chose to break the law" to face consequences.

Wilson supports "expansion of the City's Safe Routes to School efforts to improve the approaches to our school buildings." He also believes "that biker and pedestrian education efforts need to be part of school curricula."

Miles did not address walking and biking in her survey response.

Chapman "would work with the Alexandria City Public Schools to see if they consider pushing out the radius for bus service... but also make walking and biking a more explored option for families". He also says he would "work with the school system to provide more crossing guards, as well as work with the PTA to provide parent volunteers."

On calming traffic in neighborhoods

Drivers who are aggressive, speed, and don't yield to people on foot are problems for most Alexandria neighborhoods.

Euille calls for "proper funding" for Alexandria's Safe Streets and Complete Streets initiatives.

Wilson "strongly supports changes to the road space that are designed to force vehicle drivers to operate their vehicles more safely". He also supports making Vision Zero happen in Alexandria.

Lovain says aggressive driving and disregard for pedestrians are serious problems in Alexandria, and points to Complete Streets principles as a way to promote safety.

Miles wants to assemble a "safe roads commission" to look at how to make Alexandria safer. She also says she'd like to address Alexandria's street challenges with a "holistic approach" that accounts for how the city fits with the entire region, what's financially feasible, and what residents want.

Van Fleet says traffic safety is "a law enforcement problem."

On achieving goals laid out in the city's transportation plan

Alexandria is updating the bicycle and pedestrian chapters of its transportation master plan to reflect changes that have occurred since 2008. The new chapters should go before City Council late this year.

A recent city audit of its own performance revealed that parts of what the 2008 plan called for, particularly regarding pedestrians and bicycles, hasn't gone into place.

While acknowledging that funding has been a factor in missing the goals, Wilson says he is "committed to the vision of the 2008 plan, and will work to provide the resources to see it to completion."

"We should also prioritize unfinished efforts to make sure the resources are available," Lovain says.

Euille and Chapman are committed to the plan, with Euille calling for "adequate funding" and Chapman saying he'll work with city staff to "determine a plan."

Miles says there is "no reason that the 2008 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan should not have been completely implemented." She further adds that "City Council and staff revisited the plan in 2014 and spent more time studying and updating the plan before the original plan had even been completely implemented."

The elections are next Tuesday, November 3. If you live in Alexandria, make sure to exercise your right to vote for the candidates who support your views.

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Bicycling


How public and private came together to make Capital Bikeshare a success

Gabe Klein, former transportation chief in DC and later Chicago, has just published a book, Start-Up City. We're pleased to present a few excerpts. In this one, Gabe talks about how DC's first experiment with bike sharing, Smartbike, turned into the wildly successful Capital Bikeshare.


Photo by Stephen Rees on Flickr.

Like the much larger Vélib bike-share system in Paris, which was run by advertising giant JCDecaux, our SmartBike program had been launched and operated by Clear Channel, who also contracted with the city to advertise on bus shelters. SmartBike was only one component of a much larger contract.

Unfortunately for the city, one line at the end of our agreement outlined the private partner's lackluster commitment to the program. It stated that Clear Channel agreed to set up and operate a bike-share program in Washington, DC That's it! Oh no, I thought, this was not terribly sound footing on which to expand our partnership, but let's meet them and see.

In my first meeting with Clear Channel, a few things became clear. They felt that the District had gotten a very rich, fifteen-year deal and associated revenue stream for the bus-shelter contract. They even mentioned that DC had "signed the contract at the height of the market." My reaction? "Not really the District's problem."

Furthermore, they had recently been purchased by Bain Capital, of Mitt Romney fame, and had little interest in "municipal street furniture," as they saw the program. Lastly, they had no contractual obligation to expand the program, which was true. We were victims of minimal planning for success by government, and an amorphous contract that gave the private sector an easy out.

At the end of the day, our incentives were not aligned, and the SmartBike program died as a result. However, this ended up being a blessing in disguise in the long run.

Capital Bikeshare is born of partnerships

Luckily, Arlington County, Virginia, was planning to launch a bike sharing program around the same time as it became clear that SmartBike's demise was imminent. Because I had a history of partnering with the county, Capital Bikeshare became the first of many projects that we would work on across borders during my tenure. Arlington had already put a procurement process in motion for a bike sharing system and was in the process of receiving bids from vendors.

As many jurisdictions do, typically through their regional planning authority, we combined our efforts with Arlington's procurement process to save time and build a regional program. In terms of financing the system, we wanted to use federal money for 80 percent of the cost and applied for Congestion Mitigation Air and Quality funds through the regional metropolitan planning organization. All we needed now was the mayor's agreement to put $1 million into a revamped bike-share program.

My entire conversation with Mayor Fenty about Capital Bikeshare was less than ten minutes. I told him what I wanted to do, and he asked me three simple questions:

  • Could our system be the biggest in the United States? Yes.
  • Will it be the best? Yes, absolutely.
  • Can we minimize the capital DC puts in and could it break even or be profitable operationally? I said, "I think so," and aimed to make that happen. ...
The DDOT bike team was doing a lot of the planning and outreach for the system's initial ninety planned stations in DC proper. We set up a website and crowdsourced public input about where people wanted bike stations in their DC and Arlington neighborhoods. We had just finished rebooting our transportation demand management (TDM) program, known as goDCgo, and had again partnered with Arlington County to bring their nationally recognized TDM program to DC. The new program was essentially top-flight marketing, promotion, and outreach for alternative transportation options. This team was put in charge of coordinating the marketing for the new bicycle transit system.

In keeping with our strong outward communications plan, we partnered with local blogs like the influential and widely read Greater Greater Washington and crowdsourced the name for the system, which became Capital Bikeshare. That name organically became "CaBi" for short. The system's website went through multiple iterations until it felt more like a polished private-sector offering such as Zipcar, rather than a stale and opaque city website. …

By the time we opened the system in September 2010, there was a palpable level of excitement from the public. At our launch event at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Southeast DC, we brought all the bikes out and had the public sign up to ride them back to stations throughout the city. Throughout the bike share process we had involved the public at every stage, and we wanted them to feel ownership. This was the people's bicycle transit system, CaBi.

Capital Bikeshare launches to rave reviews

We were careful to gradually launch stations for Capital Bikeshare, and later followed the same pattern with Divvy in Chicago. It's crucial for a system to be operationally sound, if not close to flawless, the first time a user tries it.

Like any service, you are only as good as the first experience a customer has, and we aimed to learn the rebalancing patterns from day one to avoid empty or full stations as much as possible, which are the bane of the bike-share user experience. Starting with 50 stations in DC, we ramped up to 110 stations regionally before the end of 2011 when Adrian Fenty left office. The reviews were in and the public loved Capital Bikeshare.

Today there are more than 350 stations spanning DC, Maryland, and Virginia, making it the second largest bike share in the United States by number of stations as of this writing, with more than 10 million trips taken!

In DC, the system broke even on an operations basis (give or take a few thousand dollars) from day one. Keep in mind that this is with zero advertising until 2014 and no sponsorship agreement, two conditions that would be highly unusual today. On top of that it is one of the more expensive systems to run based on it being the first large contract in the United States with no benchmarks on which to base it.

How did we pull it off? The user experience was solid. The locals were loyal and signed up in droves. More than 30 percent of initial usage was by tourists and visitors. We had projected single-digit percentage visitor use because SmartBike had no daily use option. The $7 daily user fee subsidized the yearly $75 membership for locals (28 cents per day).

Without any advertising at all, the system could foreseeably generate enough profit to fund the 20-percent match needed for capitalization of new equipment for expansion, or replacement of old bikes and stations down the road. With advertising and sponsorship this was virtually assured.

Fundamentally though, I credit the relationships among all of the parties involved and the collaboration as being the most important factors in the system's financial stability and success.

This excerpt has been edited for length. You can purchase Start-Up City from Amazon, or until October 26, half off directly from Island Press. See Gabe Klein speak and sign books on November 4 at the National Building Museum at 12:30, that night at BicycleSpace in Adams Morgan at 7:30, or at Upshur Street Books on November 24th at 7 pm.

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Bicycling


Here are the answers to our CaBi station quiz

Were you able to guess the locations of last week's Capital Bikeshare quiz? The answers are below:


Images 1 (left) and 2 (right). All images from Capital Bikeshare.

Image 1 is the station at 8th & O Street NW in DC. A 19 dock station installed at the end of this summer, this station was the most-requested on social media over the summer. You can identify it by the City Market development in the background.

Image 2 is the station at 15th & Uhle Street in Arlington, a 23-dock station at Courthouse Square. This station doubles the access to transit options in Courthouse, and is one of the busiest in Arlington. The back-to-back docks are distinguishing, as only two stations in Arlington have that layout.


Image 3 (left) and 4 (right).

Image 3 shows the station at East Mount Vernon Avenue and Del Ray Avenue in Alexandria. There are 15 docks here, in the heart of Alexandria's popular dining and retail neighborhood. The clue here is the mural in the background.

Image 4 is the station at the White House. This is the only nine-dock station in the system, and it's located behind the secure perimeter of the Executive Office of the President. It does not appear on the station map. The clues here are the White House fence and, if your memory is that good, Greater Greater Washington's post on the secret station.


Image 5.

Image 5 depicts the station at Spring Street and 2nd Avenue in Montgomery, a 15 dock station installed under it's own awning, on the grounds of the Fenwick Apartments in Silver Spring. You can identify this station by the awning, which is custom for Capital Bikeshare stations in Montgomery County.

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Bicycling


Can you guess which CaBi stations these are?

In celebration of its 5th birthday, Capital Bikeshare is hosting another round of Where's that Bikeshare?, the bikeshare equivalent of WhichWMATA. Can you identify the CaBi stations pictured below?


Images 1 (left) and 2 (right). All images from Capital Bikeshare.


Images 3 (left) and 4 (right).


Image 5.

Here are the rules:

Answers must include both streets in the intersection name (Example: 14st & D St NW) OR the major nearby attraction (Ronald Reagan Building). For DC stations, you must include the quadrant. The order of the streets does not have to be exact (D St. & 14th NW is also acceptable).

We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil it for the rest of you. We'll post the answers next week.

We at CaBi are having a drawing for some great Bikeshare prizes. If you comment on this post and are one of the people who gets the most right, we'll send them your email address to enter you in the contest. If you don't want to do that, you can say so in your comment and we'll leave you out. (Your email address will not be visible to anyone else regardless.)

Want to suggest a station for the next quiz? Email a picture and the station name to CaBi at marketing@capitalbikeshare.com and we'll consider it for future editions. Good luck and enjoy!

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Bicycling


Capital Bikeshare will add 99 DC stations over 3 years. Your neighborhood will probably benefit.

Almost every neighborhood in DC will see new Capital Bikeshare stations in the next three years. A new expansion plan charts out the locations for 99 new DC stations.

Twenty-one high-traffic stations, all in and around central DC, will also get more docks.

In the plan, the District Department of Transportation and its consultant, Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, consider three scenarios for expanding:

  1. Don't add any stations
  2. Add stations in areas where bikeshare is likely to succeed and which are more than ¼ mile from an existing station, as well as enough stations in the core to meet demand
  3. Add stations so everyone in an area of at least 10,000 people per square mile is within ¼ mile of a station
Scenario 2 means that Capital Bikeshare would need about $1.5-1.8 million in public funds each year, but that amount would stay stable over time. In Scenario 3, the cost would grow from that level up to $6.4 million in Fiscal Year 2021 and possibly more beyond.

Partly because of this, the report recommends a "balanced expansion" closest to option 2 but somewhat larger. That expansion balances new stations in three types of areas:

  • Revenue: Places where Capital Bikeshare gets a lot of money because people take bikes out for long times and pay extra fees (mostly tourist areas)
  • Ridership: Places where Capital Bikeshare stations get a lot of heavy use
  • Access: Places with lower Capital Bikeshare usage but where stations let people access important destinations or ensure more people have the ability to participate in using the system

Many "access" locations are very important and valuable. For example, the report notes that Southern Avenue and Capitol Heights are the only Metrorail stations without a station within a half-mile. (There is also no station within a quarter mile of Federal Triangle). Both stations are actually in Maryland, but immediately adjacent to the DC line.

There are many good reasons to place stations here. Southern Avenue, for instance, is actually very close to THEARC, the terrific arts, entertainment, and education campus in DC's Ward 8. It's about a 15 minute walk from Southern Avenue, but bikeshare stations at Southern Avenue, at THEARC, and other locations in the nearby neighborhoods would do a lot to help people reach this important center without driving.

And, in fact, the report shows a station at Southern Avenue and several more in the nearby area as part of the Fiscal Year 2017, the second of three years of expansion.

Other priority "access" areas include Carver-Langston, Alabama Avenue, Buzzard Point, northern Columbia Heights, parts of Petworth and Brightwood, Fort Dupont, and the St. Elizabeth's campus.

The places with the most opportunity to grow ridership which lack enough stations include 16th Street in Columbia Heights and near Meridian Hill Park, Shaw, eastern Columbia Heights, Southwest Waterfront, and the Stanton Park area of Capitol Hill.

Finally, the "revenue" areas with the most opportunity for growth include the areas around the Capitol, the National Gallery, the Holocaust Museum, the National Shrine and Catholic University, and the large hotels in Woodley Park. Some of these, of course, will require federal cooperation.

This interesting map from the report shows why some areas generate a lot of revenue for Capital Bikeshare:

This map shows the volume of trips between neighborhoods, combining all of the stations in one "cluster" into a single point to show the high-level patterns:

You can also see how often stations have been down for maintenance, and how many trips CaBi has "lost" as a result:

Here's a map of where trips between neighborhoods tend to favor one direction over another. Not surprisingly, the darkest lines run along large hills (and also popular commuting patterns).

There's a lot more in the full 143-page report.

What do you think of these decisions? Will you benefit from this expansion?

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Arts


Capital Bikeshare, Objet d’art

Capital Bikeshare is celebrating its fifth birthday next week. If the party balloons were thought bubbles, they'd have a lot to say. Wherever you look, it's plain to see that this two-wheeled public transit mode has permeated Washingtonians' collective psyche.


"City Rides" by Sar'där Aziz. Photograph from the artist.

In a measure of Capital Bikeshare's pervasiveness, it's even depicted in highbrow art. Having transcended the news pages and pop culture, it has captured the imaginations of artists and inspired the creative class to render its interpretations.

The bikes are the focal point of "City Rides" by local impressionist painter Sar'där Aziz.

The system is named in actor Ron Litman's one-man show, "DC Trash—Recycled," a native Washingtonian's culture critique expressed from the cab of a trash truck.

Litman's provocative social commentary is a broad-brush indictment of wealth, privilege, excess and indifference.

"So you say you wanna live in this town, then lay your money down
And I'll tell you 'bout the gold rush—it's very hush hush
Yeah, there's gold in them thar hills, and the government gonna pay your bills
So ride bike-share, use your smartfare. Take Uber, Zipcar, just get out there"
CaBi is newsworthy

On the pages of our news, reporters write stories when new CaBi stations are announced. In the features and lifestyle sections, the sturdy red bikes represent symbols of the modern metropolis.

Why, look, there's a Capital Bikeshare on the cover of Washingtonian's Best of Washington edition. The July 2015 issue pictures a Washington Nationals mascot on a Capital Bikeshare to illustrate the "150 local faves" inside.


Photo by the author.

And, look, there's a photojournalistic statement on the cover of the September 2014 MidCity DC News. No caption needed. The artsy picture by Jazzy Wright speaks for itself.


Photo by Jazzy Wright.

And there's Capital Bikeshare in a cheeky game of DC bingo created by Curbed DC. Among the quintessential Washington moments is the one in which you see a "Bikeshare Rider Wearing a Full Suit." Ryan Lovin photographed one such creature this past Bike to Work Day.


Photo by photo by Ryan Lovin.


Image from Curbed DC.

CaBi is everywhere

In the shadows of Union Station, a piece of Corner Bakery artwork tells a deeper story than it may seem. The chain restaurant at North Capitol and E Streets NW is filled with framed prints of city life. One stands out for the topical moment it unknowingly captures: the top half of the print shows two young boys eyeing cakes and the bottom half is a Capital Bikeshare station, again speaking for itself without comment.


Photo by the author.

The juxtaposition alone makes a poignant statement. Just as children are irresistibly drawn to sweets, Washingtonians are attracted to Capital Bikeshare. Today's youth are tomorrow's Capital Bikeshare members.

If those two boys were second graders in D.C. Public Schools, they'd be learning to ride bikes at school this year. DCPS has launched a precedent-setting program in which every second grader will be taught to ride a bicycle safely and skillfully. The school district has procured the bikes and developed the lessons, which include a half-day ride in the park for each student.

D.C. is the first U.S. school system to institutionalize comprehensive bicycle education, putting Washington on the leading edge of social change. The most bicycle-friendly European cities have long included bicycle education for schoolchildren. With this game-changing move, D.C. is paving the way for a radical behavior change in the next generation of urban commuters.

Between the children and the artists, a new transportation paradigm is emerging. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see that the future is now, and it most certainly rides a bike.

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