Friday, March 9, 2012

Tysons Bike Group hears about feasibility of bikesharing in Tysons

On Tuesday Charlie Denney of Alta Planning & Design/Alta Bike Share discussed the feasibility of a bike sharing system in Tysons, similar to the very successful Capital Bikeshare in DC run by Alta Bike Share. The presentation was sponsored by the Tysons Bike Group, an informal gathering of bicycling enthusiasts formed by FABB and TYTRAN. See our earlier post about the talk.

According to Charlie, the DC system cost $6.4 million, mostly from Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds matched by 20% local funding. It consists of 140 stations and 1200 bikes. Arlington's system cost $800,000 and consists of 26 stations in Crystal City and Ballston/Rosslyn Corridor. There are 19,000 members which is double the projected number. There have been over 1.5 million trips that average about 1 mile in length. There have been 20 reported crashes and 10 bicycles have disappeared and not recovered.

Charlie said there are four major considerations when thinking about implementing bike sharing in Tysons:

  • Connections to Silver Line stations
  • The need for better bicycle infrastructure
  • Promotion of bike sharing
  • Partnerships and sponsorships

The bike share system would be focused around the four Metro stations which are located along Routes 123 and 7. These wide, pedestrian and bicycle unfriendly streets present major barriers for bicyclists. Bike share stations would need to be located on each side of the Metro station. Other stations would be located near major residential, employment and retail/commercial destinations. Using a bike for short lunchtime trips would reduce congestion and save employees time.

There is currently no dedicated on-road bicycle infrastructure in Tysons. While many cyclists do ride there, most people will be reluctant to use bicycles without some dedicated space such as bike lanes, cycle tracks, or indications of shared use such as sharrows and "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs. The Tysons Bicycle Plan needs to be approved and implemented, and the planned redevelopment projects need to include bike infrastructure.

The bike share system would need to be promoted by TYTRAN, FABB, the Tysons Bike Group, VDOT and DRPT, and others. Major land developers are logical sponsors as are Fairfax County, VDOT, the Tysons Partnership, and major Tysons employers such as Booz Allen, SAIC, Freddie Mac, PwC, etc.

Bike sharing in Tysons is an exciting prospect but major changes are needed before it could become a reality. The fist step is implementation of the Tysons Bicycle Master Plan.

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