14 Sep 2014
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Capital Bikeshare and the Long Haul

Arlington County is trying to enlist the public’s help in mapping out a long-term strategy for Capital Bikeshare.

Capital Bikeshare and the Long Haul

Arlington County hasn’t been shy about engaging the public over the Capital Bikeshare, or CaBi, system. When deciding on station placement for the last round of expansion, they held public meetings and launched an online crowdsourcing effort. Now the county is asking for help in thinking about the bigger picture: How should CaBi grow in the long term? It’s looking for answers as part of its effort to create a Transit Development Plan for CaBi. 

In Virginia, such plans are normally prepared for bus and rail systems every six years. As Arlington County describes it, they “allow agencies to systematically plan for service expansion and improvements in a strategic and fiscally realistic fashion.” With a CaBi Transit Development Plan, the idea remains the same.

Planning for the long-term growth of the CaBi system involves a lot more than figuring out whether a station should be on the east or west side of a street or who wants one in their neighborhood. The networked nature of the system requires careful consideration of expected demand, traffic patterns and supporting infrastructure. The plan has started looking at all of these things, and you can find the initial reports here

County staffers have developed a number of growth scenarios. The simplest approach involves simply increasing the density of stations in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Crystal City areas. While this is likely the most inexpensive plan, this leaves much of the county unserved by CaBi.

The other alternatives all envision growth to serve more of Arlington. One takes advantage of Arlington’s trails, connecting the existing stations to East Falls Church and Shirlington via the Custis and Washington & Old Dominion trails. Another focuses on bringing service to Columbia Pike. Each of these approaches involves trade-offs between cost, convenience and system revenue.

Arlington County wants the public to weigh in on these approaches. You can help shape the role that Capital Bikeshare plays in Arlington’s transportation future by participating in that process. Details about the proposed scenarios, public input meetings, and submitting comments online can be found here.

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I want to take a moment to offer a hearty bon voyage to honorary Arlington cyclist , who starts a five-day ride from Boston to D.C. this Friday. He’s riding as part of pro cyclist Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington, a fundraiser in support of the Bikes Belong Foundation, which “works to make cycling safer and better across America.”

Commuting by bike from his home in Falls Church to his office in the district every day, Pete’s a fixture in the Arlington cycling scene. And the D.C. cycling scene. And the Falls Church cycling scene, and... well, you get the picture. Pete’s everywhere, and he’s always doing something to help make our streets safer. You might see him handing out lights, marshaling a community ride, or occasionally offering an incredibly zen model of response to aggressive driving. If you’d like to return the favor and support his fundraising efforts, click here.

Also, if you’d like to see what a bunch of cyclists look like after riding at full gas for five days straight, the folks over at the BikeArlington forums are organizing a ride to connect with the Ride on Washington cyclists. They’ll be arriving Tuesday morning, just as the National Bike Summit kicks off.

Mark Blacknell is chairman of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, president of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and a League Cycling Instructor.

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