Corral Service in downtown DC has been a big hit throughout our busy season, thanks to the many trips our members took to these stations. We originally announced that corrals would end in September, but due to their popularity, we extended them for two additional months.
However, as temperatures (and ridership) drop this winter, we are adjusting our corral service for the season.
Beginning today, the corral at 21st St & I (Eye) St NW will be CLOSED for the season.
Our corral at 13th & New York Ave NW will operate through December 18, 2015.
Corral Service will resume again in the spring. Until then, be sure to check Spotcycle or your nearest station kiosk for bike and dock availability. Don’t forget that you can get 15 additional minutes of ride time if you arrive at a full stataion. Visit the kiosk for more information.
Capital Bikeshare announced today that due to a software upgrade, you can now use the credit card associated with your membership to check out a bike. This means that if you forget or lose your keyfob, your credit card can act as a back-up. And it means new members can start using the system right away instead of waiting for their keyfob to arrive.
Anecdotally, there have been a few times that I wanted to use CaBi, but couldn't because I didn't have my fob; or did use CaBi but had to buy a 1 day membership to do so (I'd heard you could call and ask for a free code, but I'd never tried that myself). Never again!
Arlington County's Capital Bikeshare planner is looking for input on stations in the Claremont neighborhood.
One is near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and S. Dinwiddie Street, next to the trail that runs alongside Walter Reed. Here's a link to a document with more information, including photographs of the location.
We also seek to get neighborhood-specific input on each site. I've created a brief online survey that shows the location and asks a few questions about your thoughts on the location. If you happen to live in the Claremont neighborhood, please feel free to fill it out.
We're also planning to work with Arlington Public Schools on an additional station that would be located at Wakefield High. That station would serve both the neighborhood and the school community. Right now we don't have a specific site picked out, but I'll be working with the school/APS on identifying a good location.
I'll be talking about both of the locations at the next meeting of the Claremont Citizens Association. That'll be from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Claremont Elementary School Library.
I'd also note that, although it's not technically in Claremont, we are planning to install a station at the Barcroft recreation center. That's likely to happen this spring. Finally, in case it's helpful to look at, here's a link to Arlington's overall expansion map.
In addition, delivery of 8 new stations is scheduled for mid-November. Exact installation dates are pending due to other jurisdictions’ needs and the CaBi warehouse move (I don't know when or where they are moving it to). Pending new station sites include:
Carlin Springs & Thomas
Lynn & Fairfax
Lacey Wood Park in Bluemont
Wilson & Illinois in Bluemont
Va. Hosp Center (G. Mason & 16th)
Wash Blvd & P. Henry
Woodstock & Lee Hwy
Meanwhile, in DC two stations have been expanded/relocated recently.
Kennedy Center, Relocated to F St & New Hampshire Ave NW & expanded to 19 docks
11th & K St NW, Relocated to 10th & K St NW & expanded to 23 docks
Many candidates in Virginia's General election next week are using VDOT's I-66 plan, which would change I-66 inside the beltway from HOV-2 to HOT-3 lanes, improve transit and enhance the bicycle and pedestrian system. Some examples from Dr. Gridlock are below:
Oct. 19 posting by Loudoun County Republican Jeanine Martin on the Bull Elephant blog: “Governor McAuliffe and the Democrats propose transforming one HOV-2 lane along I-66 into a $17 toll lane. And the tolls won’t be used for road improvements; commuters would pay for bike paths and subsidizing mass transit. People in Loudoun would be paying for bike paths in Arlington and their Metro.”
From the campaign Web site of House Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun): “The revenue from this tolling plan isn’t slated to improve I-66 or relieve the massive traffic congestion that Northern Virginia struggles with. Governor McAuliffe’s proposed tolls are going to ‘multimodal transportation’ projects — that means Metro subsidies and bike paths among other things.” The message includes links to Bike Arlington to illustrate “the kind of effort Arlington County goes to to force people onto ‘car diets’ and spend taxpayer money to promote biking!”
Manassas Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II (R), candidate for state Senate in the 29th District, has a 30-second ad in which he says: “The Richmond politicians are at it again. They want us to pay $17 just to drive on I-66 inside the Beltway … Elect me, and we’ll put a stop sign on any new toll on a road that you already paid for.”
House Majority Whip Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) said this in an Oct. 1 statement issued by GOP leaders in the General Assembly: “Asking commuters from Prince William, Manassas, Fairfax and Loudoun to pay such an outrageous amount for the privilege of sitting in the same unmoving lanes of traffic so Arlington can have nice new bike paths is unconscionable. Drivers who use both I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road could be stuck with $9,000 per year in fees. Governor McAuliffe’s plan is a nonstarter.”
But, and this is going to shock you, many of the things these politicians are saying are wrong.
Martin claims that the tolls won't be used for road improvements and that is mostly true, what is not true is that it would pay for bike lanes and subsidizing mass transit. In the report, toll revenue (about $12 million) would be used to offset operating costs for the HOT lanes ($1-$2 million), but the report only says that the revenue may be used to fund operation costs of transit and bike/ped programs IF there is sufficient revenue and even that is "dependent upon jurisdiction-level constraints on modal application", all of which is likely. But, it's all a bit of a shell game, and even if tolling can pay for the capital and operating costs of the tolling, it's not expected to be sufficient to cover the transit operations as well, let alone the bike/ped, TDM and ICM.
Approximately $29 million in capital expenditures are required to implement tolling and it has been assumed that toll revenue will, at a minimum, completely offset the cost of operating the tolling system. Approximately $5 million in capital expenditures are necessary to implement the transit program included in the package, with an ongoing $23 million per year operating cost. Later in this section, priorities are offered for bicycle/pedestrian, TDM, and ICM improvements. The full complement of these improvements, included in all packages, is estimated to cost as follows: bicycle and pedestrian, $42 million capital; TDM, $5 million per year operating cost; and ICM, $6 million capital, $1 million per year operating cost....A conservative estimate of $24 million in annual revenue was calculated, determined solely by multiplying the tolls assumed in the model to maintain the LOS C/D level of traffic on I-66 by the number of non-HOV 3+ vehicles forecast to use the facility.
But the toll revenue would be about half as much, the study concluded, if tolling were only done during peak periods - as is now being proposed.
It's also not entirely true there won't be any road improvements since there will be dynamic merge/junction control, traveler information improvements and a future widening study. Also, this plan dates back to 2012, which means it's not really Governor McAuliffe's.
When LaRock says that money from the tolling isn't slated to relieve traffic congestion he's wrong and ignores the other goals of the project. By paying for tolling, transit, TDM, ICM and bike/ped projects, the complete multi-modal package is expected to reduce congestion as a percentage of VMT (thought total congestion will go up, as there will be more users) when compared to the baseline. In other words, more people will deal with congestion, but each person will have fewer congested miles.
But despite what Miller says, the tolls will not pay for nice new bike paths in Arlington. Most off those paths are already in the plans, and they will likely be paid for by the same sources they were going to be paid for otherwise. But there will not be a straight payment from toll revenue to Arlington bike paths. People will be tolled and revenue gained (theoretically) and then bike paths will be built. But one does not do the other. In fact, in alternatives without tolling, the same bike/ped projects are still recommended.
In addition, right now no one pays these tolls because no one can. If you want to drive on I-66 inside the beltway in an SOV, you can forget about it. Under the VDOT plan, you'd have the OPTION of paying the toll, or as Dr. Gridlock writes if you don't want to pay them, "You could just keep doing what you’re doing." If you're already "sitting in the same unmoving lanes," you won't have to pay because you must already be an HOV user.
I've probably covered this before, since it's three years old, but just to rehash it, many of the bicycle and pedestrian enhancements in the report come from existing plans in the area and others come from stakeholder inputs or identified needs. The report includes 60 bike/ped projects which include trail improvements to the Mt.Vernon, Custis, Four Mile Run, W&OD, Route 110, Washington Blvd and Arlington Blvd Trails; connector trails; bike facilities added to the Route 27 bridge over Route 110 and the Meade Bridge; bikeshare expansion and parking additions along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and in Falls Church; Rosslyn Circle improvements, including a tunnel; bike lanes; and bike parking at Metro Stations. The list is too long to go into, so if curious, you should check it out starting on page 3-76 of the report.
They assigned a benefit for each of these projects and those that rated the highest were (and some others just of interest):
Widen the Mount Vernon shared-use trail between the Roosevelt Island Bridge over the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Four Mile Run Trail
Construct a trail to link the sidewalk along the south side of the Roosevelt Bridge directly to the Mount Vernon Trail
Renovate Custis trail sections with asphalt cracking and washout, and, where feasible, widen the Custis Trail to 12 feet.
Construct a 10-foot wide sidepath from City of Fairfax to existing Arlington Boulevard trail in Arlington (may include some use of existing frontage roads)
Improve the Arlington Boulevard trail from Taft Street to Fort Myer Drive and from Pershing to Queen.
Construct sidepath on west side of Arlington Boulevard from Washington Boulevard to North Fairfax Drive
Rehabilitate Arlington Boulevard Trail from Glebe Road to Park Drive
Construct a short segment of Mount Vernon trail between North Randolph Street and the Fairfax line, following an existing sanitary sewer easement near Pimmit Run. Extend the Mount Vernon Trail from its current terminus at Theodore Roosevelt Island using existing trails, bicycle lanes, and proposed bicycle lanes in Arlington.
Build bicycle/pedestrian crossing of Beltway from George C. Marshall Drive to Tysons Executive Court
The highest priority projects were Capital Bikeshare expansion and bike parking in the R-B Corridor and near select Metro Stations.
In a sprawling, data-rich, draft development plan for bikeshare in DC, DDOT set goals for the system, preformed a market study, and considered various expansion scenarios before developing the plan it's now presenting. They set 12 goals for the program, each with a metric they plan to report on. These goals include improving public health and safety, serving tourists, reducing the environmental impact of transportation in the District and making bikeshare an integral part of the city's transportation system. The market study concluded that CaBi could increase system utility by adding capacity in places where high usage has led to empty and full stations, expanding stations to new areas and making a greater effort to inform and serve tourists. All of this fed into a program expansion planning process wherein DDOT first considered two 5-year expansion scenarios, before settling on a 5-year plan with all of the expansion front-loaded into the first 3 years.
The plan is for Capital Bikeshare to add 99 stations in areas that demonstrated a high bikeshare need when considering how a station would meet current demand, garner revenue, improve health and public welfare and increase accessibility to varied destinations. The first 20 stations on that list are stations that have already been promised, but not delivered due to supplier issues. These include stations at St. Elizabeths, the American University Law School and the Capital South Metro, to name a few. DDOT currently expects to add 47 stations in FY2016, 27 in FY2017 and 25 in FY2018. Station additions into new neighborhoods will occur in clusters so as to keep stations within easy biking distance of other stations. 28 stations will be added to the core with 71 in the outer neighborhoods.
In addition, 21 stations will be expanded. In some cases that is because an expansion would be more effective than placing another station nearby. These locations were determined based on a "lost trip" calculation focused on high use stations that also demonstrated high system downtime, because the station was either completely full or empty. Any station with the equivalent of 600 lost trips or less a month received a four dock expansion, while stations with a lost trip rate greater than 600, expanded by eight docks. All expansions are scheduled for FY 2016 or 2017. 9 of the station expansions will within the system core with 12 outside of it. This should improve utility in hubs such as the U Street Metro, Logan Circle at P Street, and Dupont Circle.
The capital costs of this expansion are estimated at $6.514 million, with operating costs rising from $5.8 million in 2014 to $10.8 million in FY2021. But revenues are also expected to increase such that the operating deficit is actually expected to be lower in 2021 than it is in 2014.
DDOT's study is only the first step in the process, and this is just a draft version of the study - which is accepting comments through November.
Before any new stations are installed, the agency will conduct public outreach, coordinate with key stakeholders, and procure additional funding for stations. Public involvement will be key for DDOT to finalizing station siting. While this plan highlights recommended areas for stations, public feedback will help determine which specific locations are best suited for bikeshare stations.
[I really wanted to call this post "I got 99 stations and Woodridge ain't one", but I thought better of it]
Three types of grants were announced. Transportation Alternatives grants which can go to a wide category of transportation, historic preservation or environmental projects. Recreational Trails projects, which are usually smaller projects like building bathrooms or adding trail counters. And there are the Bikeways programs which are large, bike-specific projects.
10‐station bikeshare construction in Wheaton Central Business District and Wheaton Metro Station ($300,350)
Construction of two 15‐dock bike share stations on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park and in the Takoma Langley Crossroads area ($100,000)
Removal of 10 sections of concrete wall and construction of 100 feet of bike/pedestrian trail in College Park ($95,000) (???)
Installation of bicycle improvements including signage, pavement markings, and bicycle racks along various roads in Mount Rainier ($80,000)
Patuxent River State Park Trail Project: Phase 1 Completion ($40,000)
Montgomery Parks/SCA Trails Project ($40,000)
Hollywood Road Sidewalk Feasibility Study in College Park ($36,000) [I'm going to guess "is feasible" will be the result]
Laurel Place bikeway signage and pavement markings and implementation of an on‐street bike lane or shared roadway in Laurel ($9,600)
The Central Avenue Connector Trail is a big, important project and it's good to see it get heavily funded. Capital Bikeshare expansion into more of Montgomery County will be very welcome I'm sure. The other projects, though smaller, are likely to pay off as well.
Farther out, some notable projects are:
Rehabilitation of the Conococheague Creek Aqueduct for engineering, safety, and accessibility improvements ($6,962,904) [This was the top funded project statewide]
Cross County Connector Trail – Grasonville ($3,431,084) [This was the second highest funded project]
The Cross Island Trail currently extends six miles from the Chesapeake Bay at Terrapin Park in Stevensville across Kent Island High School to Old Love Point Park and along Route 50 east to Kent Narrows north, including a spur to the Chesapeake Exploration Center and Ferry Point Park. The connector trail would link Long Point Park to Kent Narrows north.
Our empirical results indicate that the average treatment effect of the presence of bikeshare docks is a 2 to 3% reduction in traffic congestion. In addition to these results, we also find evidence of a potential spillover effect, in which docks increase congestion in neighboring locations, perhaps as they lead drivers to find alternative routes to avoid bicycle traffic. The magnitude of this impact is substantial relative to the effect in which docks offer transportation alternatives and reduce traffic congestion.
On June 4, 2015, a bike taken out by a founding member from September 2010 traveled from 14th St & D St NW / Reagan Building to 8th St & D St NW to become the 10 millionth trip taken on Capital Bikeshare. Accomplished with a fleet of just over 3,000 bikes, our members have shown that bicycling can get you where you need to go all over this region.
Based on the latest CaBi dashboard data cyclists have ridden more than 14 million miles. That's quite a success and one that's good for the community. In addition to the health and mobility improvements, it means less pollution, and possibly less congestion, too.
A recent study claimed that bikesharing might actually contribute to congestion and pollution because of the rebalancing vehicles. I'm much more confident on pollution than I am on congestion. Based on the latest CaBi member survey, we can see that the CaBi results in the following mode shift.
37% - Shift from walking to bikeshare
6% - Shift from driving
6% - Shift from Taxi/uber/lyft
40% - Shift from bus, metrorail
3% - Shift from no trip
I'll ignore the 3% other and the 5% who would've rode their own bike.
On pollution, we can see that 12% of trips switch from cars to bikes. If year 2 data is applicable, we know that every 10 miles of biking requires 1 mile of rebalance car driving. Looking at this simply, it means that every 12 miles of driving shifted to bikeshare is offset by 10 miles of rebalance vehicle driving. Now, it's likely that the trips shifted from driving were longer than those shifted from walking, but also that the rebalancing vehicles use more gas than the average passenger car, so it gets more complicated in reality. But still I think it points to a modest reduction in pollution from driving alone.
And of course, taking 3.7 million people off of transit should reduce pollution too. Even if you think it means that no fewer buses or trains are needed, carrying extra people requires extra energy. And for buses at least, extra passengers mean more stops. I think it's pretty clear that when all of this is considered it's very likely that bikeshare reduces pollution.
Congestion mitigation is less clear
Using 1 unit of congestion as that which is caused by a car, we can say that before mode shift motorists would've caused 12 units of congestion. While pedestrians and transit users would have caused less congestion than motorists, it wouldn't be nothing. More bus passengers means more bus stops and longer dwell time, and pedestrians delay drivers who are trying to turn at intersections. Unfortunately I can't find any study that defines a conversion factor for the congestion caused by these groups (nor does CaBi break out bus from rail). So, for now, we have unsolved variables x and y.
After the mode shift, we have 0.28 (the bike conversion factor) + 0.10 (Rebalancing vehicles drive about 1 mile for every 10 miles of biking) * 92 (the percentage of people shifted to bikes) which equals about 35 units.
So, without knowing the values of x and y, I can't really say that bike share reduces congestion (or that it doesn't). And again, it gets more complicated, since I'm assuming that rebalancing vehicles drive at the same times of day as the bike share trips happen, which is pretty unlikely. To whatever extent rebalancing trips are shifted from rush hour, that reduces the congestion caused by bikeshare rebalancing.
It's still too early to make any statements about safety.
The death rate per 100 million automobile miles traveled in DC is 0.56, so while it's certainly good that there have been no CaBi deaths in the first ~15 million miles, that would be expected. Once CaBi has 500-600 million miles under its belt, we might be able to make some statements about its copmparative safety. Currently, this is complicated by the fact that CaBi estimates mileage, and while there is talk of using GPS to get a more accurate measure of mileage, no such data is available right now.
What we do know is that there have still been no deaths in the United States by bikesharing cyclists. And that report from last year was after 23 million miles, but there has been a lot of bikeshare miles covered since then.