« Maryland Should Approve Both Versions of the Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign | Main | Wednesday Morning Ride - 'It's Too Late' is a better song »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Those empty stations were caused by a usage spike (46% of all bikes checked out systemwide) exceeding the previous high water mark (4th of July post-fireworks peak). The spike was limited only by capacity and would have been higher if the expansions currently in the pipeline had already occurred.

I've never thought of the bikeshare system as a source of surge capacity but it helped where it could.

Roads were saturated and I was easily the fastest moving vehicle on FL Avenue NW and NE. Since the bikeshare portion of my daily commute runs against the normal CaBi flow my destination station was empty and I was happy to make another subscriber's day by simply showing up.

wash -- a key problem for you I'm sure was that the Capitol Police treated the earthquake like a security incident, and blocked off several streets near the Capitol. So things immediately backed up on to nearby roads and highways.

I understand evacuating masonry buildings for inspection, but blocking off all the local streets was ridiculous. After all, USGS had a preliminary earthquake report up within a minute or two -- so it was very easy to tell that it was not a security incident. Somebody needs to get the Capitol Policy smart phones so they can use Google to figure out what's going on!

I concur with Greenbelt, in trying to get back home to inspect the brick, and then to go pickup my wife (by bike), I passed the Capitol 3 times. The Capitol cops were pretty discourteous and aggressive. I think they were falling back on their homeland security incident training, which didn't seem appropriate given the incident was geological. One cop wouldn't permit me to ride around one of the two traffic circles in front of the Capitol, and closing both Constitution and Independence made traffic on Mass & I-295 even worse. Another cop yelled at my wife and I for walking in the (closed)road on C street next to Dirksen three hours after the earthquake.

The whole paradigm for national security in this situation seemed to be badly applied. I'm fine if they're keeping people off the sidewalks near masonry buildings, but shooing pedestrians and cyclists out of closed roadways in the AOC area was not necessary once they'd determined it was not an attack.

I think that DCs emergency plans need to be revamped to take bikes into account. The cops (all flavors - secret service, park police, capitol police) were all really hostile towards bikes. One threatened to arrest me if I rode down the 15th street bikepath past the WH, despite the fact that cars were driving in the same direction and pedestrians were on the sidewalk! Towards the Capitol, I was also told not to ride, despite the fact that cars were driving in the same lanes. The only helpful authority was an MTA Transit Police directing traffic on Penn Ave, who seemed to see his role as getting everyone home.

There were plenty of bikeshare bikes around Farragut in the hour after the quake -- I guess it took a while for people to figure out that getting home by other means was going to be very hard. Luckily, I beat the herd and grabbed a bike at around 2:30 ...

On my way home I noticed several folks who obviously weren't planning to ride (suits, dress shoes etc) taking a CaBi home. A couple were south of Crystal City on the MV trail. They must have been planning to take the bikes back later.

Having my own bike served me well, except where people wanted to sandwich me as they switched lanes frantically without checking their side mirrors or blind spots. I was proceeding cautiously between the "straight" lane and right-turn lane on I St. SW heading west and too many cars tried to take right turns from that straight lane, moving over into the gap - one close enough that I thought it side-swiped the car next to me. Other than that, and the police telling us the cycletrack on Penn Ave. was closed to all users (except us scofflaws, I guess), all was cool and I only added 5 minutes to my commute home, due to my exercising caution toward panicking motorists.

Some car blew through the light at 8th and G SE, which was out, while most others treated it like a 4-way stop. I almost got my back tire clipped.

Thanks for the cabitracker.com plug/screen-grab. Meanwhile, check out a graph I created of station outages for yesterday between 1 PM and 11 PM versus the previous day. Look how quickly things returned to normal after the massive surge in station outages (full or empty stations) that started at 2:30 PM.


Updated the above mentioned site with a screen-capture of the homepage at 5:20 yesterday.

M -- I agree on the hostility toward bikes thing. Where else were we supposed to go? Traffic was stopped. Because they closed all the streets. Duh. I'm supposed to get sandwiched in a traffic line between panicky drivers for an hour while they figure out it was just a small earthquake not an attack? I just (illegally, but whatever) rode on the sidewalk, and dismounted and walked a little ways when the sidewalks in Capitol Hill were too crowded. Got home with only the slightest delay.

Great post. I agree with M. I was thinking about this on my ride home yesterday afternoon (while dodging all the suits walking on the MV Trail). Bikes should be factored into emergency planning as extra transportation capacity. True, it's limited capacity, but it takes some of the short distance commuters out of the mix for public transportation and gets them off the roads. CaBi can be a huge part of that plan. I was glad that I rode in yesterday. I was able to get out of town without any problem. My commute was normal except that I stopped halfway to look at my Blackberry and answer some e-mails. All my co-workers had commutes of 3-4 hours.

There was a study done about 5 years ago. It ignored bikes and peds


I and some of my office mates immediately thought about CaBi becoming instantly popular--but with this kind of event, wouldn't there be massive dock blocking on the other end?

That one-day spike is quite noticeable in the rolling 7-day availability-vs-usage comparison against other systems

  • bar height: number of stations
  • bar width: in-service station coverage area
    (narrower bars indicate higher station density)
  • circles: daily peak usage

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader