|You'll be able to use one of these soon. (But not inside, of course.)|
There will be 15 stations and 150 bikes in downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park. You'll be able to rent a bike on Ellsworth Drive and bike to South Silver Spring Old Takoma, or even on into DC. County officials will also place 15 stations in downtown Bethesda and Friendship Heights and another 21 stations in Rockville and Shady Grove, which is part of a pilot program to see whether bikesharing can work in suburban areas, especially for carless low-income residents and reverse commuters.
|Map of bikeshare locations in Silver Spring|
and Takoma Park. Click to enlarge.
However, the maps also show the need for improved bike infrastructure. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and MoBike have proposed a network of new bike lanes to compliment the CaBi stations, but it'll be a while before the county actually builds some.
I'm also skeptical about some of the station locations, particularly the one at Flower Avenue and Piney Branch Road. Not only is it a mile from any other station, but it's at the top of a hill, which will likely discourage many riders. After all, CaBi bikes are big and heavy. Either way, this is a great thing for Montgomery County and I can't wait for it to start.
Department of Transportation officials will hold 3 meetings later this month where residents can learn how Capital Bikeshare works and offer feedback on the proposed stations. On June 25, they'll be at the Silver Spring Fire Station, 8110 Georgia Avenue, from 7 to 9pm. For more information, visit the county's new bikesharing website.
The neighborhoods around Piney Branch and Flower are very population dense, and the fact that these are indeed distant from other CaBi stations and nearly centrally located between SS Metro and Takoma Metro lends a strong basis for it's location. This area is a long walk (30-40 mins) to the either metro and the wider downtown/old town SS and TP areas and bus service, especially on the weekends, can be quite slow, with half an hour between buses.
If there were two or three stations in/around Long Branch, this would be a great idea. Just one is a bad idea.
Here's what I posted on WashCycle:
So let me get this straight...
Nothing at the Takoma Metro
Nothing in the huge apartment complexes in SS (Falkland Chase, Summit Hills, the ones up 16th, and one on the very edge of the Blairs)
Nothing in Fenton Village
Nothing in for the apartments down Thayer Ave (which is a flat road, ideal for biking)
But instead, we put token stations in Long Branch (great idea, but not when it's a haul to get to the nearest station), at the bottom of the hill at Maple & Ritchie (imagine the climb up Maple Ave to the metro station on a bikeshare bike...)
Piney Branch & Flower would make a lot more sense if (as Joe referenced) a couple stations were added to Thayer and also Sligo Avenues. Those two streets are lined with mid-rises and make a lot of sense for bikesharing as that's thousands of people looking to figure out their "last mile". Piney & Flower station wouldn't be so "out there" if those closer in East SS communities were also served. Hopefully there's a phase two....
We will need two things to happen before the system will see enough use to be called a "success". Better bike infrastructure must be put in place - bike lanes, paths, parking. More stations must be added.
Until the bike infrastructure and station density is upgraded, usage may be low. I hope the county will have the patience to fix the problems, and not expect instant success.
The bikes are in the open, where rain will get to the moving parts, including the chain and gears. What keeps rust from forming and destroying the components?
The one at Flower and Piney Branch will be useful to the many people who live near there.
My one question is -- why isn't there a station at the Takoma metro stop? That's where many people will want to bike from/to around the Takoma neighborhood.
Also, once they put in the bikes they will be used. Be sure of that! The new bike lanes will come later after the number of bikers increases due to bike share. It can be in either order.
Takoma Station is in DC. This is about MoCo.
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