[That was some rain storm last night. My car was flooded and even pushed about 2 inches over thanks to a flooded Four Mile Run. And I had to detour off a closed NE Branch Trail on my commute. I suspect several trails were closed this morning, anyway...].
So my earlier prediction that pedicabs would be in DC by fall of 2008 wasn't nearly ambitious enough. I got an email shortly thereafter from one of the owners of DC Pedicab telling me that they were planning to start operations by July 4th. Some of you have pointed out that they're running ads on Craig's list and the company had two recruitment parties this month to get drivers (Sorry, I should have posted those before hand). In addition, I've had two others contact me about how to start a pedicab company - like I know how to start a business. If you're interested in becoming a driver for DC Pedicab here's the lowdown.
call us at (202) 345-8065 or [email us at] firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which brings me to my latest bright idea. A little while ago I found out about a subway tunnel in Rochester, NY that the city was going to fill in with dirt. A local group is trying to preserve it - either as an underground rail trail/museum or to convert it to a canal with a river walk type environment. That got me thinking about one of DC's more notorious abandoned subway structures - aka Dupont Down Under.
Below Dupont Circle, but above the Dupont Metro Station is the old Dupont Circle Subway Station (see photo at right) It was built in 1949 to reduce the impact of the old trolley system on Dupont Circle traffic. In 1962 the station was closed when the trolley system was shut down. In 1995 it opened as a food court called "Dupont Down Under" but closed in September of 1996. Back in 2003 there were rumblings that the site might reopen, but I never heard what happened with that.
It turns out people don't want to eat under ground when they could eat outside at one of the city's great public spaces. Nor do people want to work or shop or live or do pretty much anything underground if they can avoid it.
What people don't mind doing underground is parking. That's why the site is ideally suited to be a bike station (like this bike parking facility in the Netherlands - where else?). Unlike the station being built at Union Station and the one not being built at Silver Spring - the structure is already there, it just needs to be converted. Since it was a food court, it's safe to assume that there's already plumbing so that showers and changing rooms would be easy to add in. It's located at a major metro station in one of the busiest parts of the city. It's ill-suited for almost any other use but in an area with extremely expensive land.
I wish I'd submitted this idea to the Solving DC's problems contest. I'd have $5k burning a hole in my pocket right now.