Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bike parking facility planned at Franconia-Springfield Metro Station

WMATA is in the final stages of planning an indoor, enclosed bike parking facility at Franconia-Springfield Metro station. It will likely be located in the new parking garage shown on the right in the photo. The project is funded through a TIGER I grant for multimodal improvements at the station.

A similar bike parking facility, referred to as "Bike & Ride", is being constructed at the College Park Metro station. BikeLink is providing the parking system.

There will be approximately 30 U racks. WMATA is experimenting with two double-decker racks, similar to the Dero Decker, at the College Park station. If the single U racks are being used to capacity they can be replaced with additional double-decker racks. This could also be done at the Franconia-Metro station.

Access is controlled by a key card and hourly rates will be very affordable. The station will be accessible 24 hours, with a lower rate charged between evening and morning rush hours. This would allow commuters to arrive by Metrorail pick up their bike in the morning to ride to work. In the afternoon they would bike to the station from work to leave the bike overnight. A bicycle repair stand is also planned, similar to those installed in Cambridge, Mass.

There are two main locations under consideration, Options 1 & 2. A third location, which is closest to the station entrance, has too many constraints. While Option 2 is furthest from the station entrance, it is more accessible to cyclists entering the station grounds from the NE. Many cyclists arrive from the Franconia-Springfield Parkway trail using the circular ramp shown on the right side of the air photo above. A new trail is needed where the ramp enters the station since the road is one way at that point. There is a sidewalk on the north side of the access road parallel to the Parkway that could be widened. The downside is that it's about a 350 foot walk to the station entrance.

Option 1 would require creating a new entrance where there is currently a wall. A new trail would also need to be built leading to the entrance. Another trail or sidewalk is needed to lead from the bike entrance to the station entrance since access through the garage is not planned.

Many cyclists also access the station from the south, parking on the opposite side of the tracks and walking into the station from there. There is limited room for expanding this parking.

This planned facility will be a great benefit to Metro patrons who bike to the station. We predict the racks will fill fast once people realize the benefits of having a secure, enclosed place to park their bikes. There are many other stations where this solution is needed, including Vienna and Dunn Loring, where the existing racks are often full and are not protected from the weather. This is a great step forward for WMATA.

We plan to visit the site in the near future to take a close look at the proposed locations. If you have comments on the proposed locations or on access to the locations, leave a comment here.

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Except, how will bicyclist actually get there? Not exactly the most accessible station by bike.
That is why section 3 describes the inlet and outlet plans for coming through the wall and a new trail that will connect to the existing bike routes in the area and to shopping destinations that are bikable distance like Fullerton Rd shopping area.

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