Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Car Free Day in Crystal City

We celebrated Car Free Day today at one of the Capital Bikeshare stations in Crystal City. We had a table with copies of the Advocates Guide, county bike maps, and example drawings of road projects. The station at 23rd St and Crystal Drive is one of 14 in Crystal City (see the station map). The density is good, with stations located along Crystal Drive, several around the Crystal City metro station, two near the Pentagon station, and others scattered around the main commercial and high density residential areas.

We were there with the BikeArlington folks from 11:30-1:30 and there was a lot of lunchtime foot traffic. Several people tried out the bikes; they are so new that many people hadn't seen them before and were intrigued. While we were getting set up two people dropped off bikeshare bikes, saying they planned to use them on a daily basis to get from the Metro station. It's about 1/3 of a mile from the station and one woman is recovering from an injury and the walk is painful; the ride is a much better option. Once you're a member, any rides under 30 minutes are free.

The system is not without it's problems. One gentleman from Wisconsin, pictured on the left, wanted to try out the system. He's are regular cyclist in Madison, a Gold level Bike Friendly Community. He wanted to ride to the Mall and check out some museums. The printed map (and the Google map showing all the stations) showed two stations on the Mall and others nearby. The map of current stations tells a different story, and unless you've checked it out in advance or have a smartphone, you have no idea which stations have been installed. As of today there are no stations on or near the Mall. And the system is so new that several people he asked couldn't help find a station.

As a result, he rode all the way back to Crystal City, taking a much longer, and more expensive trip (and missing out on seeing the museums). The cost of the trip increases greatly after the first hour. That's one of the negative aspects of rolling out the system without complete coverage. The system status is changing daily, so it's difficult to post the latest maps, but there could be a better way to help users find current stations.

We talked to several people about the new advocates guide and handed out Fairfax bike maps. It looks like Capital Bikeshare will be a success. Many people were excited by the idea and once the word gets around that it's easy and inexpensive to go by bike, there will be a demand for more bikes and more stations.

Labels: , , ,

Knowing what you know about the rollout of this individual bikeshare location, FABB might consider asking COG to encourage the other planned programs to roll out at one time with a joint regional information campaign. For anyone not sure how bikeshare works, you can see how a system in Milan works on blog at
I'm the gentleman from Wisconsin that ended up having to ride back to Crystal City when I couldn't find a station to drop off the bike near the Mall. I was a bit peeved at the time, but I'll definitely give it another try next time I'm in DC. Knowing in advance to print out a map of current stations to carry with me will help me avoid having the same problem next time. For pure ease of transportation, it's hard to beat the Metro. But biking around town was a blast.
Anonymous from Wisconsin; glad you managed to make the best of an unfortunate situation. We've learned more about why there are no stations on the Mall property and why the maps at the stations are misleading.

Re: the Mall, from an article at entitled Another Reason for D.C. to Own its Parks:

"And looking at the map of Capital Bikeshare, you'll notice that–despite the new program's tourist-friendly pricing-no stations are located on the Mall. DDOT's Chris Holben confirms that there are in fact no bikeshare stations on any NPS land in the District. Part of the reason for that is that most national parks are under concession contracts with companies that have the right of first refusal for services ranging from selling hot dogs to…renting bikes. In D.C., many of these areas–including Fletchers Cove, Thompson's Boat House, tennis centers, ice rinks, and the Rock Creek Horse Center, and the Tidal Basin-are controlled by Fairfax County-based Guest Services International.

So DDOT ruled out putting any bike stations on the 6,776 acres of land owned by the Park Service in D.C.-some of the areas that could use bike-assisted transportation the most. The General Services Administration, meanwhile, has been more accommodating; Holben says DDOT is working closely with the agency and a station has been installed at the Office of Personnel Management."

Re: the maps, from the Capital Bikeshare Facebook page: "Whoops! The wrong regional map got printed and installed in the stations :( All of the local maps are correct. If you want to see all of the live locations - please check the map at or use the Spotcycle app to get accurate listing. We're working on getting the correct maps in there ASAP!"

Post a Comment

Contact FABB via email:

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?