A small group of people who live near Meridian Hill Park have banded together to speak out against a plan to put a bike-sharing hub near their homes.
About seven neighbors showed up to last night’s ANC 1B meeting on U Street to make their voices heard regarding a DDOT plan to install a new Capital Bikeshare station at 15th and W streets NW.
Over the past few weeks, the neighbors have debated with local leaders and DDOT officials over whether a new Bikeshare station should be installed at the southeast corner of the intersection.
Some locals, like Steve Fotiu, say installing the station there would be too noisy and could create safety problems for cyclists traveling through the area.
“This is a very dangerous intersection,” Fotiu warned, “and they’re going to ride right off of a sidewalk into the street to get to the bike lane on 15th.”
The station could also lower home values in the area and help set a precedent for more Bikeshare stations in other residential zones throughout the District, he added.
“If I was to go to DDOT… to put a hot dog stand at this location, DDOT would reject that request on an inappropriateness for this location.”
Fotiu continued: “If we had a referendum of homeowners in the city [asking] if you want a Bikeshare directly in front of your single-family home, I believe majority would say, no thank you.”
Not everyone at the meeting agreed with that assessment, however. Alex Lopez, who lives on the 1300 block of Belmont St. NW, said the neighborhood could use another Bikeshare station.
“There is a serious issue in our neighborhood of bike availability,” Lopez said. “In the morning, there are no bikes, and in the evening there are no stations to park your bike.”
Commissioner LaKisha Brown, who represents that part of the neighborhood, said she sympathizes with some of the neighbors’ concerns.
“I did agree with Steve that I personally wouldn’t want a Bikeshare in front of my home,” she said.
But Brown stopped short of saying she’d ask the city agency to reconsider its plans. Though DDOT was willing to look at several other potential locations for the stations, she said, the most “ideal” alternative spot was in front of the nearby St. Augustine Church.
“It’s a tough decision,” Brown said. “But the other alternative was to remove three parking spaces in front of a church… and I really didn’t want to do that.”
Ultimately, the ANC backed DDOT’s proposal by a vote of 5-1-1, “with the stipulations that DDOT install an angled docking station and reduce the size of the docking station to no more than 37 feet, which is the size of the existing planter.”
A new Capital Bikeshare hub will let cyclists snag a ride along a busy downtown street.
Bikeshare announced today on Twitter the unveiling of a new 23-dock station less than a block north of where 16th and K streets NW intersect.
“All of the lobbying has paid off,” Bikeshare tweeted. “Perfect for meetings.”
All of the lobbying has paid off! New 23-dock station at 16th St & K St NW, on the north side. Perfect for meetings. pic.twitter.com/NTUjBaDjVw
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) August 9, 2016
Capital Bikeshare has greatly expanded its network over the past year. As of Aug. 3, there were nearly 400 stations in the D.C. area, according to Bikeshare.
Some cyclists in Columbia Heights and Bloomingdale will have to rent Bikeshare bikes from new locations, at least temporarily.
The hubs at Florida Ave. and R St. NW and 14th and Harvard streets NW have been relocated nearby so workers can install permeable pavement, according to Capital Bikeshare.
Over the next two months, several Capital Bikeshare stations throughout the district will be temporarily relocated or removed, according to a Bikeshare press release. The stations are set to be relocated “within sight of normal location,” the release reads. Each adjustment is expected to last up to one week.
Here’s a full list of the stations that will be affected:
Capital Bikeshare users now have another place to begin or finish their rides in Columbia Heights.
The neighborhood’s newest location for bicycle sharing is at 14th and Girard streets NW, the D.C. Department of Transportation announced on Twitter today. The stand is about three blocks south of the Columbia Heights Metro station.
The station has space for 23 of the bicycle sharing program’s red two-wheelers.
Another Capital Bikeshare station has rolled into Dupont Circle.
The neighborhood’s newest location to pick up or drop off the bicycle sharing program’s red two-wheelers is at 22nd and P streets NW, the D.C. Department of Transportation announced on Twitter today. The stand is about a block east of Rock Creek, in front of Books for America’s headquarters.
The station has space for 19 bicycles.
Looking for a new option downtown? Here's one – a brand new 19 dock station installed this AM at 14th St & L St NW. pic.twitter.com/S6ZWycEDim
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) April 5, 2016
And the newest Capital Bikeshare station is located . . . one block away from Thomas Circle.
The D.C. Department of Transportation announced on Twitter that a new Capital Bikeshare hub came online at the intersection of 14th and L streets NW earlier this morning.
This new 19 dock station is at 16th & Irving St NW in Columbia Heights. We're guessing it will be used frequently. pic.twitter.com/WELaedoJaX
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) March 10, 2016
(Updated at 4:14 p.m.) It’s possible to snag a Capital Bikeshare bike at two more stops along the busy 16th Street corridor.
The D.C. Department of Transportation announced that its new Bikeshare hubs near the intersection of 16th and Irving and 16th and R streets streets NW officially came online earlier today. (As a point of clarification, we should note that there’s been some hubbub about whether the station is actually located on nearby 15th Street NW. According to Bikeshare, the station’s address is 3101 16th St. NW)
Cyclists and cycling advocates applauded the new stations earlier today on Facebook and on Twitter.
Sam Zimbabwe, an associate director at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), addressed the ANC on behalf of the department to request comment on installing new Bikeshare stations at the intersections of 22nd and P streets NW and 21st and R streets NW.
The intersections, Zimbabwe said, were identified by users as sought-after spots for new stations. “We’re starting the process of community outreach to narrow down the focus of where that will be,” he added.
Commissioner Daniel Warwick, 2B-02, said residents in his single member district (SMD) did not have comments regarding the intersection at 21st and R streets, but added that neighbors suggested the southeast corner by the leading lamppost on P Street, along a street frontage in front of Crios (2120 P St. NW) or next to the bookstore as possible options at the intersection of 22nd and P streets.
Several Dupont residents in the audience weighed in with mixed opinions.
“I think the 22nd and P southeast corner near the bookstore is not a bad idea,” one resident said. “But I don’t know where you’re going to find space at 21st and R.”
Another person in the audience didn’t comment on the proposed locations, but instead asked Zimbabwe to make Bikeshare users better “aware of what the traffic laws are.”
“I live on 17th Street, which is a one-way street, and the bicycles are constantly coming the wrong way,” the resident said. “They don’t stop at stoplights or pedestrian crossings and that’s a concern to the people that live in this area.”
Zimbabwe responded by saying the department does put traffic laws on the bikes themselves “but it’s something that we struggle with and we will try to do better than that.”
Ultimately, the ANC gave its blessing to the proposed stations by a vote of 8 yeas, 0 nays and 0 abstentions.
A plan released by DDOT on Tuesday aims to expand Bikeshare to underserved locations and increase service in areas where the service is already popular. Most of the Borderstan coverage area is within Bikeshare’s “core” area, where the service is already very popular. In the next year, the agency plans to expand some stations in the core area while also adding stations east of the river and in other places with few Bikeshare options.
The plan calls for several additional stations to be built in the next year around Columbia Heights and Logan Circle, two areas that already have high rates of Bikeshare use.
DDOT has already identified locations for some of the stations to be added in the next year, as well as 21 stations to be expanded. Ten of the expanded stations are within the Borderstan area:
- Convention Center at 7th Street NW will add 4 additional bikes
- 11th and M streets NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 15th and P streets NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 14th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 20th Street NW and Florida Avenue NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 7th and T streets NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 14th and Belmont streets NW will add 8 additional bikes
- New Hampshire Avenue NW and T Street NW will add 8 additional bikes
- 18th and M streets NW will add 4 additional bikes
- U and 10th streets NW will add 4 additional bikes
Of the new stations that the agency plans to build in the Borderstan area in 2016, only one location has been announced, at 14th and Irving streets NW in Columbia Heights.
DDOT is seeking public input before finalizing the plan, and comments can be submitted online until Nov. 15.
From John Shannon, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.
DC has fallen in love with Capital Bikeshare (although not everyone in DC loves bikes, bikers or bike lanes). The system has grown in numbers of bikes, stations and users ever since its opening. It has made parts of our city more accessible and helped many Washingtonians get into better shape.
However, in New York City the story might seem different with the opening of Citi Bike, at least according some detractors. New York’s bike sharing plan might even be a totalitarian plot!
Dorothy Rabinowitz, of Wall Street Journal Editorial Board fame, has criticized New York City’s bike share infrastructure plan in a video, which can only be characterized as an indignant rant, complaining that the bikes and ostensibly the people who ride them, are mucking up the scenery for her and her friends.
Apparently, “we now look at a city whose best neighborhoods are absolutely, you know, begrimed, is the word… by these blazing blue Citibank bikes, in all the finest, most picturesque parts of the city.”
She says, “the majority of citizens are appalled by what has happened,” and, “the bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise.”
How all-powerful you may ask? Let’s ‘hit the streets’ to find out! Here are comments that accompanied a New York magazine article.
- Just how powerful is the bike lobby? So powerful that you’ve never heard of it.
- WSJ thinks that the bike lobby is all-powerful, but oil companies, arms manufacturers and Goldman Sachs are just victims.
- “The majority of citizens are appalled by what has happened.” a line often used by someone who is part of a definite minority.
- Truly disturbing interview by Dorothy Rabinowitz. Even the WSJ interviewer inserted a reality check by mentioning that no pedestrians have been killed by NYC cyclists in the past 4 years, yet there have been nearly 600 deaths of cyclists and pedestrians by cars. Dorothy didn’t pause for a split second before starting her rant.
- Love the curmudgeons. If Ms. Rabinowitz looked at one bike, she would see the Rules of biking right on the handlebars. Those poor taxicabs don’t stand a chance against a bike – better watch out.
- bikeshare is great. an urban game changer. only problem is that the smart-dock technology is outdated: http://inventropolis.com/bikeshares-technological-…
- How come no one has noticed that the citibike app continually posts the wrong information about the bikes available at the bike stations? The number of bikes that are supposedly available is off by double or triple the number of bikes — right now E45 and 3rd is supposed to have 4 bikes and it has 13. I just passed 3 stations in Midtown East and all were way off.
- @driverseven – Use Spotcycle app – it’s 10,000 times better. Plus it has all the OTHER cities with bike share.
In a growing city of 8.3 million people, according to an NPR piece on March 13, apparently there is only one disgruntled voice so far to complain about NYC’s new bike-share system.
Even at this early stage of New York City’s bike-share program, that statistic must surely qualify it as a resounding success.
Hats off to New York City, hats off!
Helmets “on” though, riders!
From John Shanno, who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.
We all want to feel healthier, and many people these days ‘want to do their part’ to lower their personal carbon footprint. One way to do both at the same time is to ride a bike whenever you can. It is obviously a good thing to do.
But when you are traveling, it can be difficult to lug your bike around just so that you can take a daily, hour-long ride in Naples, Barcelona, Miami, or other warm and sunny place.
Rapid Growth of Bike Sharing Systems
You may be surprised to know just how many bikes are available for rent at low cost, or are completely free to use, from the so-called Bicycle Sharing Systems (BSS) in many of the world’s cities. The total number of bikes available from these various systems around the world at the end of 2011, was 236,000 bicycles.
That’s right, from five European-only operations with less than 100 bicycles 10 years ago — to more than 375 BSS worldwide, with 236,000 bikes in almost every country as of the end of 2011. BSS is a textbook definition of high growth!
According to Wikipedia, the Hangzhou Public Bicycle program, which was launched in 2008 in China, is the largest bicycle sharing system in the world, with around 61,000 bicycles and more than 2,400 stations. The Vélib in Paris, which encompasses 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 bicycle stations is the largest outside of China. Other countries with similar systems are Spain (100-plus), Italy (80), and Germany (50).
There are many compelling reasons to have a bike-sharing operation in your city or town. If you drive part way to work in the city, many cities have convenient and low cost parking areas for your car which is where you pick up a bike. Done with your bike? Just pull out your smartphone, it will display a drop-off point close to you.
Does your city have a bike-sharing program or low cost bike-rentals? If it doesn’t, ask why not.
CitiBike Coming to New York
Solar powered bike-docking stations are popping up across New York City in preparation for the launch of the United States’ largest bike-sharing program, CitiBike. The initial roll-out of the program will include 300 stations and 5,500 bikes. A few years ago, the city’s department of transportation (otherwise known as NYC DOT) started replacing single-space parking meters with bike parking. Now, many more parking spaces will be converted into CitiBike hubs, according to Meribeth Deen, EnergyBoom.com.
Cities such as Washington, DC can’t install bike stations fast enough to keep up with the demand — even with their time-weighted pricing schedule. The DC program has been called a victim of it’s own success.
Advantages to Society
From a government perspective, having healthier citizens will help to lower total health infrastructure expenditures and overall health care costs, while cleaner air and less traffic congestion in downtown or tourist areas can improve access, lower infrastructure costs and improve the visitor experience — meaning visitors might stay longer and spend more money
For daily commuters or for tourists from outside the immediate area, adding the option of affordable bikes, means lower gasoline and parking costs. It adds convenience, health and enjoyment to their visit
So, the next time you are planning to run errands downtown all day (and trying to find parking spots) or if you are enjoying a weekend at the beach, ask yourself; Would my life be more enjoyable and would I spend less money on parking fees and gasoline, if I simply rented a bike?
Of course it would. Enjoy getting that extra sunshine! It will do you a world of good.
From Maggie Barron. You can reach her at maggie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @rookerysf.
I graduated from kindergarten about 25 years ago, yet I still struggle with its central lesson: sharing.
Back in the day, I looked around at the runny-nosed kids mashing together different play-dough colors, breaking the crayons in half and leaving the caps off the glue sticks. “Ownership…” my five-year-old brain thought, “means having all of the crayons.” And thus a little capitalist was born.
A quarter century later, and my way of thinking is showing signs of age. Today, the mark of a savvy city-dweller isn’t how much they own, but how much they can get away with not owning. It’s no longer a virtue to own a car you only use on weekends, or camping equipment you only use once a year.
There’s certainly a lot of sharing going on in DC. We have the best bike sharing system in the country, and are one of the top 5 cities for car sharing. You can share office space, kitchen space, tools with your neighbor – pretty much anything you can think of you can borrow or rent from someone else in DC. As The Atlantic recently put it, collective ownership is “less a fleeting fad and more an essential piece of how we’ll live in an increasingly dense, urbanized world.”
It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around, which is especially embarrassing because my husband actually works for a peer-to-peer car sharing company. As he talks about trust, community-building and cost-savings, I am secretly thinking to myself “Wait, is someone going to be touching my stuff?”
Is there hope for people like me? The truth is, I want to be the kind of person who likes to share. I agree that it uses resources more efficiently, is more economical and provides an opportunity to meet new people, many of whom have probably evolved from their play-dough mashing days.
I am trying to take baby steps. Recently we rented a neighbor’s car for a few hours, and the whole time I felt oddly transgressive, as if I had borrowed it without asking. “They are really just giving us their car? We could be weirdos!” I said. “But we’re not,” answered my husband. But we could be, I thought.
We have also signed on to DogVacay, a website that matches people who need dog sitters with others willing to host – sort of the “Airbnb for dogs.” Our first hosting experience, for a shar-pei mix named Howard Zinn, was similar to babysitting for a stranger’s child for five days, and about as much fun. (Howard wasn’t so much into being a member of the sharing economy as he was into drooling and chewing on socks.) It did pay almost $200, though. So mixed success.
But I am going to persevere. While I think that in many cases “sharing” is a misnomer for this new trend (many of the services are really “renting” or “paying someone to do something for you,” which is slightly different), in small doses it might even be good for me. As long as I can still keep my own crayons.
Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
As one dear reader has commented, please do not let the title deceive you — I do not have the answer to this either/or question. There’s a good reason for that, though, which has little to do with my daily grind of a job and wine consumption. It’s because it is all in the eye of the beholder. This piece in the Washington Times argues that if you live by a Bikeshare station, it may be loud and noisy.
If you are a commuter leaving a less-traveled area and heading for a busy downtown locale, your docking station may be full. I believe the writer may also have an issue with the color or shape of the bikes, but alas, upon re-reading it’s a simple ad hom. So, does the fact that Capital Bikeshare has expanded (with taxpayer dollars) to be well-ridden, yet require the bikes put away by a dirty truck mean it is a failed Leninist experiment? If the only evidence you have is crowded docking stations and thugs stealing bikes, well, my friend, I think we have answered the question posed previously. (And do be sure to read the critique of the column on DCist by Martin Austermuhle.)
It also gives one a delightful South Park reference, but if you are judging the ‘girly’ red bikes, you may already have succumbed to the cloud of smug.
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From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
If you noticed more bikers out and about last Friday morning, the cause may have been more than just the beautiful spring weather.
The Washington Examiner notes that Friday marked annual Bike to Work Day, and DC officials estimate that 12,700 people participated. This number sets a new record for the event, with twice as many riders as it had five years ago.
“The dramatic growth of this event is an indicator that area commuters view bicycling as a viable commute alternative that can fit into their daily routine,” said Nicholas Ramfos, of sponsor Commuter Connections (do you think he actually talks like that?).
The popularity of biking in the District should come as no surprise to our readers, who have seen use of Capital Bikeshare surge in the two years since its launch. According to TBD.com, Capital Bikeshare has logged a grand total of two million total trips to date.
As long as they stay off the sidewalks, bike away!