Alexandria will begin installing eight Capital Bikeshare stations on Monday, more than 10 months after City Council unanimously agreed to join the popular program that’s put more than 1,600 bikes on the road in Washington, D.C. and Arlington County.
Station installation will continue into early September. Once all the stations are completed, the network in Alexandria will become operational.
The city settled on eight station locations primarily in the Old Town area for its pilot program:
- King Street-Old Town Metro station
- Braddock Road Metro Station
- Corner of Prince Street and Union Street
- Corner of King Street and N. Royal Street
- Corner of King Street and S. Patrick Street
- Corner of Commerce Street and S. Fayette Street
- Near The Henry at Pendleton and N. Henry streets
- Near Trader Joe’s at the intersection of Pendleton and N. St. Asaph streets
The eight station sites vary slightly from the locations presented by the city at an open house in January.
The six-station pilot program council approved in October 2011 was expected to cost $400,000. Additional funds for two more stations were identified in December 2011.
In May, council moved to reallocate $186,000 in unspent city transportation improvement funds to cover the first-year operation costs of the program after the Federal Highway Administration announced that certain federal funds could not be used toward operating expenses associated with bike-share programs.
At the time, some councilmembers questioned confining the pilot network to Old Town.
“I think there should be some by Braddock or in the Del Ray area,” Council Paul Smedberg said in May. “I think we might be going into some of the wrong areas first and that’s my personal opinion and it’s going to be several years before we get into that zone. I’m a little concerned about that because that’s the people we heard from most. … I see more of our residents benefitting in areas like Del Ray or other areas of the city than the King Street Metro.”
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley agreed, adding that putting the stations farther north would put them closer to bike trails and Metro stations outside the city.
Rich Baier, director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, said there’s a desire to put stations in many places but there’s also a focus on clustering the stations in one area to create a network.
“There’s kind of a push and tug,” he said. “Do we cluster them or spread them out?”
To secure more Capital Bikeshare stations, the city is using its Transportation Management Plans, which assess transit improvements around new developments. Stations are planned in several upcoming projects, including the redevelopment of the Mount Vernon Village Center in Arlandria and the Harris Teeter project in North Old Town.
“If someone is building a new apartment building or condo building or some commercial building, if there’s any way conceivable it makes sense to put a Bikeshare [station] nearby, we should do it because it gets more people riding Metro and more people biking to their final destination,” Councilman Rob Krupicka said in May.
The city has also planned to add more stations in 2013.
Capital Bikeshare is the largest public bike system in the U.S. It claims more than 70,000 daily and weekly memberships and 15,000 annual memberships in the District and Arlington. The program has generated more than 2 million rides since launching in 2010.