In January, WABA launched our business membership program. Today, we are excited to introduce our newest business members, three companies dedicated to promoting bicycling, each in their own way. Alta Planning + Design is a planning consultancy firm headquartered in Portland, Ore. It specializes in sustainable transportation and recreation planning and design, with a strong bike and pedestrian focus. Alta has had a hand in creating many of the bicycle-friendly communities, trails, and green spaces enjoyed throughout the U.S. Alta Bicycle Share, which is behind Capital Bikeshare and many other urban bikesharing systems, is a subsidiary of Alta Planning + Design. Filter Coffeehouse is a D.C. coffee shop with locations in Dupont and Foggy Bottom. In 2010, Filter’s owner, Rasheed, had two custom bike racks (in the shape of a hot cup of coffee and a French press) installed outside his Dupont coffeehouse, ensuring his customers would have a dedicated place to park their bikes. An active cyclist himself, Rasheed can often be found at the head of the pack on WABA rides. Primal Wear is a cycling apparel company based in Denver, Colorado. It designs and manufactures high quality cycling jerseys, T-shirts, outwear, and accessories, including the awesome limited edition jerseys custom-made for our 2012 Climate Riders. Committed to helping the cycling community grow through advocacy and education, Primal Wear supports fellow bike advocacy organizations in addition to charity rides and youth education programs. A big welcome and thanks to our newest business members! Read up about our other business members here and here. If you’re interested in becoming a business member, learn more about the program here.
Last week, County Executive Ike Leggett sent to the Montgomery County Council a request for appropriation of county funds that, along with state funding and private-sector support, will fund the expansion of bikesharing into the County. WABA fully supports the implementation and expeditious growth of bikesharing in Montgomery County. Several outlets have recently suggested that WABA and local advocates called for a series of improvements prior to starting up bikesharing in Montgomery County. We do believe that there are significant infrastructure improvements needed in the county to maximize the opportunities presented by bikeshare, and to make bikesharing safe and appealing to a broader audience of potential cyclists. But those improvements are not a precondition to the expansion of bikesharing in the county. The lack of such infrastructure certainly does not prevent many from bicycling in Montgomery County today. WABA supports bikesharing because it is a great way of getting more people to travel by bike. And we support improvements to infrastructure because they make bicyclists safer, and get more people to travel by bike. Bikesharing and infrastructure improvements are mutually supportive, so we hope the implementation of bikeshare and improvements to infrastructure combine to accelerate Montgomery County’s growth as a bike-friendly county. For reference, read WABA’s most recent memorandum to Councilmember Nancy Floreen detailing infrastructure needs to support bikesharing. WABA Bikeshare Memo
In the last post, Greg Billing explained the steps Arlington and DC have made in recent days to bring green lanes to these jurisdictions. At the same time, Montgomery County legislators have been doing their part to ensure that the County works to become more bike-friendly as well. Because much of this work has been done behind the scenes, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank two members of Montgomery County’s Transportation and Environment Committee–Council President Roger Berliner and Councilmember Nancy Floreen–for their recent steps in support of bicycle facility improvements. We have met with both councilmembers to discuss their approaches to better integrating bicycling into Montgomery Count’s transportation priorities, and both have responded in support of these efforts. The first letter below is Council President Berliner’s letter in support of the Capital Crescent Trail. The second is Councilmember Floreen’s letter specifying preference for buffered bike lanes and suggesting numerous opportunities for biking improvements downcounty in advance of bikeshare. CCT WiscAve Crossing Sept2012 Bicycle Letter – Mobley
Congratulations to all the jurisdictions awarded Maryland Bikeshare Program grants. Within our immediate area, Montgomery County and UMD/College Park received implementation grant awards, and Prince George’s County/City of Greenbelt received feasibility study grants. From the MDOT release:
The grant-winning projects include both feasibility studies for several jurisdictions and actual implementation and opening of bikeshare stations for others that are further along in the planning and design process. The winners are divided into two categories – funding to implement a bikeshare facility and funding for a feasibility study to determine potential bikeshare station locations. The Bikeshare Grant Program is funded through the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program and will cover 80 percent of the total project cost. Local jurisdictions are required to pay a 20 percent match. The winners of grants to implement bikesharing systems are: Baltimore City, Montgomery County and joint partners with University of Maryland at College Park and the City of College Park. The winners of grants for feasibility studies of potential bikeshare stations are: Frederick City, Howard County and joint partners with Prince George’s County and the City of Greenbelt.
Building on the success of Capital Bikeshare in DC and Arlington County, Montgomery County is preparing to summit a grant application to Maryland DOT to incorporate bikesharing in the lower county region. The plan for 400 bicycles at 50 stations was presented last night a public meeting at the County Executive offices in Rockville. County planning and transportation officials presented proposed station plans for the urban areas of the county (Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Friendship Heights) and north along the legs of Red Line. The additional stations will provide connections between those activity centers and DC. A side note, in planning talks DDOT has agreed to expand bikeshare stations north between the system core and the new clusters in Bethesda, Silver Spring & Takoma Park to help connect the entire system. Montgomery County DOT Director Art Holmes spoke briefly about the expansion of bikeshare to the county. In his remarks, he told attendees, “we are very committed to this program”. Officials cautioned that the bikesharing program is contingent on the awarding of the state grants and may need to be built in phases. However, they feel very confident in their grant application. The Maryland grants are through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds with a local match of 20% required. Attendees were asked to give ideas (put stickers on a map) for possible station locations. Consultant to the county, Paul DeMaio of MetroBike, explained the siting requirements for a station including access to direct sun, enough space, ownership, access to the station, proximity to bicycle infrastructure, etc. Those not at the meeting are invited to submit their ideas on the Capital Bikeshare Crowdsourcing Map. WABA is excited to see bikesharing grow and promote bicycle transportation in the region. We hope to see the needed infrastructure improvements, education offerings and necessary enforcement to make the system a success in the county as we have seen in DC and Arlington.
From the National Park Service:
National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA)/National Park Service (NPS) proposes to participate in the Capital Bikeshare program by permitting five bikeshare stations on NAMA/NPS managed property. The Capital Bikeshare program is a regional alternative transportation amenity for visitors and residents and has quickly become a viable form of public transportation. Participating in this bikeshare system would fulfill the goal of enhancing bicycle use at the park, as envisioned in NAMA’s 2008 National Mall Visitor Transportation Study and the 2010 National Mall Plan. Increasing bicycle use reduces traffic congestion, fossil fuel use and air emissions, and provides an additional and affordable form of access to destinations throughout the park. Proposed locations for the five Capital Bikeshare stations are as follows: (1) Smithsonian Metro Station entrance area on the National Mall Location: West of the existing information kiosk on Jefferson Drive, in the gravel area, adjacent to paved sidewalk. (2) Lincoln Memorial area Location: On Lincoln Memorial Circle between 23rd and Daniel French Drive at the former interpretive transportation kiosk area. (3) Jefferson Memorial area Location: South of East Basin Drive from the bus pull-off between the curb and existing sidewalk, west of crosswalk intersection. (4) Washington Monument area Location: Jefferson Drive between 14th and 15th streets at the bus pull-off along the sidewalk east of the kiosk. (5) FDR/MLK Memorial area Location: Ohio Drive at West Basin Drive, at the bus pull-off, on the sidewalk west of existing kiosk. These locations have been selected based on their proximity to visitor destinations, access to compatible modes of transportation such as Metro and bike paths, and connectivity to other Capital Bikeshare stations. They are located in the vicinity of “Visitor Transportation Stops” as shown on the Circulation Map for the Preferred Alternative in the National Mall Plan. The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking the public’s input concerning the Capital Bikeshare stations. Please visit: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Capitalbikeshare for materials and information on how to comment. NPS will receive public comments through December 28, 2011.
Last week, Montgomery County Council Vice President and Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee Chair, Roger Berliner, sent a letter to County Executive Leggett arguing in favor of an expansion of bikesharing to Bethesda. In his letter, Berliner states:
I believe the Bethesda area is particularly well-suited for expanding our bikesharing system. With its high metro ridership, proximity to existing bikeshare stations, and already congested roads, I believe conditions are such that a network of stations would serve our constituents there quite well.He goes on to list a number of community and business group already supportive of the expansion, argues that bikeshare could be useful to mitigate BRAC traffic impacts near the National Naval Medical Center, and notes the potential of the White Flint area to provide a “missing link” in the bikeshare network between his proposed Bethesda-area network and the stations coming to Rockville. Click here to access the full letter.
With CaBies continually moving throughout the District and Arlington, the Capital Bikeshare system is generating loads of information. Developers at Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis is a (CASA) at University College London have programmed a website which streams live data from the last 48 hours of CaBi use. The site displays where bikes are docked, how many bike are currently in use, each station’s usage over the last 48 hours and much more. In addition, the site allows you to switch to other cities such as Paris, Montral, Denver, Minneapolis and others. Enjoy watching the bikes move around — or better yet — go ride one! View the site: http://oobrien.com/vis/bikes/?city=washingtondc
It’s time to celebrate the one week anniversary of Capital Bikeshare system. To much fanfare, the largest regional bikesharing system in the North America launched with over 40 stations and 400 bicycles. The current online station count is over 60 as of September 27th. I’ve seen more CaBi’s on the road in the past week than I’ve seen SmartBikes in the past 6-12 months. As with any new system, there have been some minor hiccups but generally it has been a very successful start! Now that we are home to the largest regional bikesharing system, it seems appropriate to share a few tips as we all familiarize ourselves with CaBi. The following tips are not in order of importance and it is by no means a complete list. They are just a few helpful thoughts about CaBi.
- Purchase the annual membership: Capital Bikeshare is still offering the promotional rate of $50 for an annual membership and it’s a real steal. Founding members receive a limited addition key fob and a American Appeal CaBi t-shirt. At just over $4 per month, its less than the cost of two trips on the metro!
- Stay up-to-date: The Capital Bikeshare website displays in realtime (updated every 5 minutes or so) the number of bikes and available docking spots at all in-service stations. Check the station your starting from and the station you’ll be ending your trip at. Nothing is worse than riding up to a full station of bikes or coming out of the grocery store to an empty station. The kiosks will inform you of nearby stations with available bikes & docks. The free app Spotcycle can be downloaded to your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android-based cellphone. Spotcycle provides users with a map of stations and bike information.
- Time yourself: Included with your daily, monthly or annual membership are unlimited free 30 minute rides. After the initial half-hour, the fee meter starts running. Minutes 31 – 60 will only set you back $1.50 but rates start climbing significantly after that. Save yourself some money and set a countdown timer on your watch or phone. Start the clock at 25 minutes which gives you a few minutes of buffer on the end to find the station you’re traveling to and dock the bike.
- Educate yourself: This is a great chance to review rules of the road, bike laws and the safest way to ride a bicycle in traffic. We offer a wide range of safety education classes for beginning riders all the way up to advanced riders. And if you’ve been riding for year, it never hurts to brush up as you’ll be a role model to new riders on the road.
- Remember your helmet: For commuters using the system on a regular basis, getting in the habit of carrying around a helmet will be the norm. A quick glance around the grocery store or local eatery, you’ll see someone toting around a bike helmet. What’s tricky are the unplanned trips on a CaBi. An unplanned afternoon ride home after a long stressful work day or a quick trip to a meeting across town.
Hundreds of shiny new red bikes stood in neat rows at Tingey Plaza this morning for the eagerly anticipated launch of Capital Bikeshare, the District’s new and expanded bicycle sharing program. The country’s first regional bikeshare system–it includes stations in both the District of Columbia and Arlington County, VA–will also be its largest, eventually encompassing over 1,000 bikes at 114 stations. Today, bike sharing enthusiasts in red and black t-shirts (including a handful of WABA staffers) led teams of volunteers mounted on the comfortable bikes from the plaza behind the US DOT building to newly installed bikeshare stations throughout the city. The system went live this morning with some 40 stations and around 400 bikes, but the team at Capital Bikeshare plans to have the entire network up and running by the end of October. The launch event included enthusiastic remarks from DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, DDOT Director Gabe Klein, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chairman Jay Fisette of the Arlington County Board, Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Roger Plamondon, Chairman of the Board for the Public Bike System Company. How Capital Bikeshare works:
- Join Capital Bikeshare – For daily memberships ($5), pay at the Bikeshare kiosk with any major credit card. For monthly($25)/annual($75) memberships, join online at capitalbikeshare.com
- For a limited time, annual memberships are just $50 and the first 2000 members receive a “founder’s” Capital Bikeshare t-shirt and a limited edition key fob to unlock the bikes.
- Find a bike – You can check out the map online, use the app (for iPhone, Android or Blackberry) or simply walk down to the station and see if there are bikes there.
- Check it out – For daily members, enter the code you got when you purchased your membership. For monthly/annual members, insert your key fob next to the bike you want to check out.
- Wait for the light to turn green…
- And start riding!
- The first 30 minutes are always free, and you get unlimited trips for your membership period! After 30 minutes, pricing works like this:
- 31-60 minutes – $1.50
- 61-90 minutes – $3.00
- 90+ minutes – $6.00 per half hour