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Do not park in this bike lane: http://jalopnik.com/5826496/

ugg. much like the rockville plans, this doesn't sound good. Throwing down a few docks does not make for a good bikeshare system.

I think we'll have to see the proposed siting for the stations.

I can imagine one take might be to duplicate the Rosslyn - Ballston approach with stations in Friendship Heights, Bethesda and NIH and centered around the Wisconsin Ave corridor.

A big problem though is that Wisconsin Ave is an unfriendly patch of pavement for cyclists as they come. And I don't know if there is a suitable alternative.

How does one apply urban active transportation concepts to car-centric suburban sprawl?

From the article:
However, further infrastructure like bike lanes may be needed in order to ensure biker safety, Dabney said.

Re: your aside - you can get an RSS feed of a Google search that specifically looks at patch.com for bike-related words.

DDOT will need to extend its system in Upper Northwest to make the Bethesda stations more useful. I don't think the current expansion plans include any stations in the Friendship Heights area. And there are only a few stations north of Georgetown, spaced far apart. I could see a denser Bethesda/Friendship Heights/Chevy Chase/Tenleytown mini-hub working. A solo Bethesda mini-hub, not as much.

Bike lanes would definitely help.

JeffB, I think you need to include a close "i" tag in your post. The italics formatting is bleeding over into all subsequent posts.

@charlie -- agreed, but it all depends on how many "a few" is. It seems like 4 or 5 stations wouldn't lead to much of a good user experience. But 10 stations well placed in and around downtown, the medical center, and 1-2 other key spots, would seem to be enough to develop "native" ridership, while (similar to the Crystal City stations) providing some longer-distance links to the edge of the DC system. (Tenleytown, and via the CCT, Georgetown).

It would also provide some incentives for DC to expand northward, such as Friendship Heights and the much-called-for Connecticut and Nebraska site.

I'm curious (and I don't know that there's any data available right now to support this) what kind of a network effect you would see in Bethesda, based on the number of stations and bikes already available in the Metro area. Would a small footprint of Bethesda stations push a Bethesda resident who works in downtown DC over the edge to purchase an annual membership (based on workday utility in DC and weekend possibilities in Bethesda)?

I don't know the answers, but my sense is that the more jurisdictions bikeshare is available in, the fewer stations are necessary to gain initial interest in a new jurisdiction (e.g., Bethesda, Silver Spring, or Old Town Alexandria), as long as there are tenuous links to the existing system. For example, I wouldn't see that network effect providing a boost for potential memberships in Rockville or Reston.

I agree with a lot of what Jacques wrote. I think some people who were on the edge of getting one because they work in DC will break down and get one there. A system that just centered around one or two Metro stations could work because of the existing system in DC/Arlington. I think you could even build a two station system with one at the Bethesda Metro and one at Silver Spring that would at get some people trying to cut the horseshoe or make it the edge of DC.

@jacques; I think you are over-estimating the network effects. However, there is another angle. Right now, does Virginia get money from all Virginia residents who sign up? Likewise, would Maryland get money from ALL maryland residents? There are a lot of them already.

That would be a powerful reason to dump a few stations in Bethesda.

And I still wouldn't point to the crystal city ur-Pod as a success. Bikeshare on the whole might just break even this year, but that is largely based on people taking 2-3 hour rides in DC to see the sites.

@charlie -- good question about the revenues.

I don't want to overstate the network effects, although I do think that a 5-station system would have more takers given the nearby DC system, than a 5-station system built in total isolation. (How many more takers, and whether it would be worth the expense to build a 5-station system? I have no idea, though as you mentioned, the registration revenues piece becomes relevant).

You also raise a good point, about what makes a successful station. I don't know what the metrics are that the decisionmakers are using (and I would guess that they're trying to hold off for at least a year before moving/decommissioning stations), but to what extent should density vs. reach calculations be made?

If Bikeshare breaks even this year (which I think would be several years ahead of schedule), it seems to me that the use/overuse by tourists is a feature, not a bug. Tourists in DC are a pretty stable source of ridership, and if DDOT/Arlington can partner with more hotels, that ridership/revenue flow will only go up. Particularly in the (for now unlikely) event that they're able to get some stations on the Mall.

If you put a station in Bethesda Row wouldn't all the bikes be removed and ridden down the CCT to Georgetown - never to return under their own power?


According to my calculations, bikeshare should bring in somewhere around 1.7M in revenue, and expenses might be in the 2M range. The expenses are very much a guess.

As of last month, there was about $600K in usage fees. About 500K of that is from using the bike more than 2 hours. I don't think that level of usage was exactly predicted, and I also don't think it stable. A large chunk of that revenue is from more than 5 hours.

Jon, the problem with that search is that I get every Patch in the united states. No way to filter it only to dc area ones.

Jacques, I agree with your general points, however, for an addition of stations to Bethesda, the service footprint and number of stations have to make sense for getting around Bethesda.

So I would argue it isn't a matter of being able to introduce new areas to bikeshare with fewer stations than the original complement, but by rightsizing the footprint for each area in terms of the "intra-district" potential and worrying less about the ability to bike across the system, e.g., from Bethesda to Friendship Heights DC or Chevy Chase DC.

By focusing on node development in roughly contiguous areas, I do believe that the network effect that you suggest will occur, will actually occur.

The scary thing about Charlie's points about the revenue from usage fees is that level wasn't planned. Clearly a lot of people don't care about the add'l fees, they build that into the usage profile. The issue is how much of that is from permanent members vs. temporary users.

Note that Hubway introduced a usage fee schedule that charges temporary users 25% more than permanent members.

No need to read patch (which seems to be mostly content farmed anyway), just use this Google news category which includes material from there.

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