Where should we put Capital Bikeshare in College Park?

In all honesty, I was originally hesitant to support Capital Bikeshare in College Park. I thought that if riders were unable to connect to the core of the system in DC, stations in College Park would see very little use. However, after hearing presentations about the future of Capital Bikeshare from DDOT’s Jim Sebastian, Alta Planning and Design’s Charlie Denny, and DC Councilmember, Tommy Wells, I am convinced that College Park can support a successful “satellite” system without having riders connecting to stations in DC. They sold me on the ability for a cluster of stations to support the transportation needs of a given area, even if not linked to the larger network.

Capital Bikeshare cycles

Plans are already underway to establish a satellite system surrounding Shady Grove and Rockville in Montgomery County under the Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program from the Federal Transit Administration. This system will include approximately 20 docking stations and 200 bikes.

Certainly, a similar system could be supported in College Park. In many ways, the city is an ideal location for Capital Bikeshare. First, the metro station is inconveniently located away from key destinations such as downtown and the University. However, the distance is easily covered within minutes on a bicycle. Second, Capital Bikeshare is an ideal way to move faculty, staff, and students across the University’s campus. Walking between destinations on campus can take 30 minutes or more, and becuase of this, many choose to drive, leading to additional congestion on campus and Route 1. Capital Bikeshare could reduce travel times for pedestrians while providing a safe, efficient, and healthy alternative to driving across campus. Finally, Capital Bikeshare could encourage more people to explore the regional trail network in and around the city.

Unfortunately, past attempts to receive funding for Capital Bikeshare in College Park have failed, but the overwhelming popularity of the system should guarantee that the program will continue to expand in the near future.

I now hope that College Park will receive dedicated funding for Bikeshare expansion sooner, rather than later. In that spirit, what are the ideal locations for Capital Bikeshare in College Park? Where can we maximize use and provide the most opportunities for bicycle transportation. For me, the obvious answers are the Metro station, the College Park Shopping Center, and the Stamp Student Union. But precisely where should these be located to maximize visibility and use? Where else should stations be located? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below.

5 thoughts on “Where should we put Capital Bikeshare in College Park?”

  1. CP and PG county have a great trail system to get you in and out of the area but I find the short commute within College Park to be less suitable for biking on those short errands. I think this needs to improve before serious consideration can be given to CaBi stations. Some areas would appear good (shopping strip malls) but they end up having the worst bikeways. The best spots to bike (lake artmesia, etc) don’t have to high popularity to keep bikeshare being used (and especially not for it’s intended purpose).

  2. I was won over to bike share during a trip to Minneapolis this spring. I used their NiceRide system to bike from downtown to the University of Minnesota and to explore the campus. It was very convenient and practical. I described that experience at http://www.silverspringtrails.org/?p=1361

    Minneapolis and the University have invested in their bicycling infrastructure, and it has brought results. Minneapolis is rated as the top bicycle friendly city in the country.

    As Kev notes in his comment above, College Park already has a good system of area trails. But more needs to be done to create a network of bike lanes and routes across town and across the campus to support the short trips that bike share serves best.

  3. What’s the earliest College Park could get capital bikeshare? I use it in DC and love, love, love it. It would be amazing in College Park.

  4. Having Capital Bikeshare in College Park would be fantastic! My top priorities would be a lot of stations on campus and a huge station at the Metro (because there will be so much demand that a small station will always be full or empty). But I bet there are a lot of other good places to put bikeshare stations that I’m not thinking of right now.

  5. Agreed that College Park does not have adequate bicycle infrastructure along Route 1, but the neighborhood streets between the Metro and campus are good for cycling. On campus is not bad and on Rhode Island Ave, there is an adequate shoulder that extends north to the shopping center with Mom’s Organic and REI. Certainly, Route 1 needs a major overhaul and hopefully we will see the beginnings of a bike lane or cycle track with the construction of East Campus, set to start in 2013.

    For now, I certainly think a group of about 5-6 stations, including locations on the west side of the Metro, front of Stamp Student Union, South Campus Commons apartments, Eppley Rec Center, College Park shopping center, and maybe near the engineering buildings would be very well utilized.

    No word yet on when Capital Bikeshare could show up in College Park. The city and the University will likely need to attain a grant similar to the JARC won in Montgomery County.

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