Bike Share in MoCo?

WashCycle called my attention to this in the Gazette article Cardin touches on Pepco, transportation issues during visit with Montgomery council:

Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring questioned whether some federal funding could be secured for a Montgomery County bike-share program, similar to one in Washington, D.C., that has 110 stations in the District and Arlington, Va.

“Anyway we can get these projects moving,” Cardin said. “We need them, and we need them now.”

I’d like to see bike share come to Montgomery County, and bike share would have much better success here if the Capital Crescent Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail were complete.

In August 2010 The Washington Area Council of Governments submitted an application for Tiger II funding to expand the new D.C. bike share program into the surrounding counties. Unfortunately the application was not funded, but the COG bike share proposal made a strong case that bike share would work in parts of Montgomery County.

Click on map for larger view
Source: A Regional Bike-sharing System for
the National Capital Region

The map above shows the ideal bike share locations in red. These locations have the highest combined attributes of employment density, population density, bike-to-work rate and rail/bus availability. Two conclusions are supported by this map:

1) The Bethesda/Silver Spring/Takoma Park urban centers are good candidates for bike share. These urban centers each have good bike share attributes when standing alone. But they are also within close trip distance by bike to each other and to parts of upper D.C. that already have bike share, so they can work as part of a regional bike share system.

2) The highest use and community benefit from an off-road trail in Montgomery County will come from a trail that connects Bethesda, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Completing the CCT and completing the MetBranch should be the highest priority bike/ped project in the County, based upon employment and population density, bike-to-work rate, and the potential for shared bike/walk/transit trip modes.

I commented on WashCycle that I’m unsure whether MoCo has the density it needs to support bike share, and I continue to believe that may be an issue for communities like Rockville and Gaithersburg that are not near D.C. But there does appear to be good potential downcounty – and that will be especially true if the CCT/MetBranch Trails are completed. There are already many neighborhood streets in Bethesda and Silver Spring that are acceptible for cyclists who are comfortable with riding in traffic. But many potential bike share users are put off by traffic and by the at-grade crossings of the busy highways like Colesville Road, 16th Street, and Connecticut Avenue that cut through the area. Completing the CCT/MetBranch trail network will give a direct, all off-road bike route between the downcounty urban centers that is free from any at-grade highway crossings. Completing these trails can make bike share work for MoCo.

One Response to “Bike Share in MoCo?”

  1. excellent news — bike share would definitely be a win for downtown Silver Spring and similar/nearby areas — please keep us informed about it, esp. if any hearings or requests for public comments occur — tnx Wayne!