Capital Bikeshare Expansion: Add the Pike!

A copy of my email to BikeArlington on Capital Bikeshare Expansion.

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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to weigh in on this issue. I am a strong believer in the Capital Bikshare program and Arlington County’s embrace of the project. However, the proposed Capital Bikeshare expansion, as reflected in the Bikeshare Demand Map, neglects the vibrant Arlington communities along Columbia Pike. The map’s assumptions are self-fulfilling prophesies that neglect the busiest bus corridor in the Commonwealth of Virginia – the so-called Pike Ride. Unfortunately, the County continues to pour resources into the already-vibrant Metro corridors at the expense of the less-wealthy residents in other high-density areas.

Because of the high-scoring of Metro station proximity, the map is a boondoggle: you could have just taken a County map, and put a 99-cent highlighter to the areas next to Metro stations and been done with it. More importantly, placing stations solely at Metro stations is logically bizarre: if I can already ride the Metro from point A to point B, why duplicate scarce transport options so that I can also take a bike from point A to point B? What would make more sense is a system where Metro riders could go somewhere other than another Metro station with their shared bike, and leave it there. The Columbia Pike corridor would be one ideal place to consider (other places in the county to consider are Shirlington, Westover and Marymount University, although the Pike’s density make it the best candidate).

Interestingly, Arlington’s partner, the District, has not limited their Bikeshare stations to areas immediately adjacent to Metro stations. I’ve recently seen station in DC’s Columbia Heights and Ward Circle, for example. Finally, to return to self-fulfilling prophesies: the only fair way to determine the popularity of off-Metro bikeshare stations is to install a few. If they fail, the mapmakers were right and I was wrong, but as taxpayers, we off-Metro residents deserve an opportunity to prove ourselves.

To sum up, please, do expand Capital Bikeshare, and do include several bikeshare stations at Metro stations. But a 2:1 ratio of Metro-to-off-Metro station would be more equitable, democratic, and fair to the taxpayers of Arlington. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the upcoming public meeting, but please insert this comment into the official record.  Thank you.

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Note to readers: Details here on the June 27th meeting, and this is the email address to comment.

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