Ramble On

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Bike-Sharing Thing

It’s been a while since I posted about the bike-sharing thing, so long, in fact, I can't even find the previous post I thought I had written...maybe it was just on Facebook.  Last week, I took a walk at lunch from my new work location and ended up passing two docking stations in about a half mile.  Then while I was on the phone in the break room yesterday, I happened to look down at H Street NW and saw a bike-sharer riding by headed east, briefcase strapped on the back of the bike.

The Washington Post is calling it a boom, and this morning’s paper has an article about its expansion into Alexandria and Rockville.  In addition to reporting on the sources of funding, operating costs, and general culture of bike-sharing, they highlight the following official statistics from our regional program, “Capital Bikeshare” –
  • 2010 – Year the Capital Bikeshare program started.
  • 15,000 – Number of annual Capital Bikeshare members.
  • $75 – Cost of annual Capital Bikeshare membership.
  • 1,100 – Number of bikes in more than 130 locations in the District and Arlington County.
  • <30 minutes – Duration of the vast majority of commutes.
  • $0 – Cost for the first 30 minutes on a Capital Bikeshare bicycle.
  • 200 – Number of bikes Rockville is planning to put into service.
  • 70 – Number of bikes Alexandria is planning to put into service.

Today’s Post includes two articles, one by Ashley Halsey III and another by Mark Berman.  I found the description of the rental stations interesting:  they are solar-powered, and feature a kiosk and map panel.  The goal is to maintain them as half full (the standard number of bikes ranges from 11 to 19 bikes), with vans that collect and redistribute the bikes.  It’s quite a system, and although I am not a regular user, I am very happy to know that it is available – and especially so now that it is expanding to Alexandria.

Any mention of bike-sharing brings to mind David Byrne’s advocacy these days.  Of course there is his book (Amazon linked below!), Bicycle Diaries, but his blog has recently featured quite a bit of domestic and international speaking engagements on this form of transportation.  It is really a great thing to see a program like this doing so well in the CD area.

David Byrne's book:

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