D.C. Bike Station opens

Mayor Fenty speaking before the ribbon cutting

Mayor Fenty speaking before the ribbon cutting.

Washcycle has a full description of the ribbon cutting ceremony, and much more. Washcycle also calls attention to the pre-opening controversy on the $4M cost of this station, reported by NBC 4.

Silver Spring has a great location for a bike station at the future “Jughandle Park”, next to the new multi-modal transit center now under construction. But convincing Montgomery County to program funds to design and build a bike station will be especially challenging during these difficult budget years. We can make a compelling case that the bike station is badly needed, and can be most economically built at the same time the Jughandle Park is created. But a $4M price tag will create sticker shock, even in good budget times.

Bike station

The bike station was carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing alongside the historic Union Station.

The D.C. Bike Station cost was driven up by the challenging location. The bike station had to give a pleasing look that did not detract from the historic Union Station very close by. I think the designers did a great job of creating a very unique structure with the right look. But that unique look came with a much higher price tag to design and build than a more traditional structure would have.

Bike station interior

The two level bike storage racks can not extend to the ends, where the ceiling is low. There are only inverted “U” racks at the end.

Another cost that comes with such a unique design is lost bike storage space. The D.C. Bike Station has a low ceiling and tapered ends to fit in the space without detracting from Union Station. The bike station is on a little over 1600 sq. ft., and can store 130 bikes. Bikes cannot be stored on two levels near the end because of the tapered shape.

M-NCPPC Planning Staff have suggested that a Silver Spring bike station of 1500 sq. ft. would fit into the Jughandle Park location. The Discovery Headquarters building dominates the location, so the bike station must look good near the Discovery Building. A bike station of a rectangular design and with a high ceiling for multiple levels of bike parking can look like it belongs here. A simpler, taller bike station design here can have a much lower cost and a much higher storage capacity than was possible for the D.C. Bike Station.

The D.C. Bike Station has an absolutely fantastic design – perfect for the difficult location. But when we talk to Mont. Co. planners about finding funds to build a Silver Spring bike station, we must be clear that we are not asking for a copy of the D.C. bike station. We can have an attractive bike station with higher bike storage and retail capacity for much less than $4M.

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