Station placement is key to connecting bikeshare to the transportation grid

A typical bikeshare member might often face an easy choice in trying to get from her home to downtown: pick up a bike and pedal with the wind in her hair, or sit in traffic and search in vain for a parking space.

In the Washington D.C. region, with the spread of Capital Bikeshare stations, more trips that might otherwise be driven can now be diverted to two wheels.

While the above scenario may be simplified and romanticized, Capital Bikeshare members say, as very clearly evidenced by their responses to the 2016 Capital Bikeshare survey, that they would use the system more often if it expanded even further (more docks, more bikes, and more stations).

Most notably, overall, more than half (55 percent) of members want there to be more docks and bikes at existing stations. This may suggest unmet demand for bike trips to be taken by members.

[Editor’s note: The above image is of new Capital Bikeshare stations in 2017, with different colors based on their jurisdictions.]

When gauging preferences across specific jurisdictions, members who live in the District say they would use Capital Bikeshare more frequently if there were more docks and bikes at existing stations (65 percent) and more stations in residential neighborhoods (43 percent).

By contrast, members outside of the District of Columbia want Capital Bikeshare to expand into areas where it currently does not operate and where bikeshare stations are not currently located near Metrorail. This further underlines how bikeshare provides potentially crucial access to Metrorail (the same could be said for access to bus routes too).

These answers are based off the question: “What Capital Bikeshare changes would encourage you to use the service more often? (Select up to three options).” Percentages may sum to more than 100 percent. The “n=” notation represents the total number of Capital Bikeshare members who responded to the survey for each jurisdiction.

Now a year after the survey was taken, Capital Bikeshare is moving aggressively to add more stations in both high-demand and edge areas. If you are familiar with the metro area, you’ll notice that the following list represents an expansion in bikeshare stations reflecting nicely on what members recommended in the 2016 Capital Bikeshare Study. The following is a rollout of the new bikeshare stations so far in 2017 (as also shown in the image at the top of the page):

Arlington County:

  • Washington-Lee High School/N Stafford St & Generals Way
  • Westover Library/Washington Blvd. & N. McKinley Rd
  • Columbia Pike & S. Taylor St.
  • Wilson Blvd & N. Troy St.

Washington, D.C.:

  • 15th & W St NW
  • 3rd & Underwood St NW
  • 18th & Monroe St NE
  • Georgia Ave. & Piney Branch Rd.
  • 31st & Water Street NW
  • 7th & E Street SW
  • Potomac & M St NW
  • Columbia & Ontario Rd. NW
  • Virginia Ave. & 25th St NW
  • 15th & M St NW
  • 2nd St & Seaton Pl NE
  • Connecticut Ave. & R ST NW
  • 11th & Girard St. NW
  • 15th & Constitution Ave. NW
  • Nebraska Ave/AU E. Campus

Montgomery County:

  • Pooks Hill Rd. & Linden Ave.
  • Takoma Park Rec Center
  • New Hampshire & Kirklynn Ave.
  • Wheaton Metro/Georgia Ave. & Reedie Drive
  • Amherst Avenue & Elkins Street
  • Amherst Avenue & Prichard Rd.
  • Grandview & Blueridge Avenue
  • Windham Ln & Amherst Avenue
  • Shady Grove Metro East
  • Columbus Avenue & Tribeca Street
  • Columbia Avenue & Gramercy Blvd.
  • Key West Avenue & Great Seneca Hwy

Fairfax County:

  • Tysons One Pl & Chain Bridge Rd
  • North Shore & Cameron Crescent Dr/Crescent Apartments
  • Sunset Hills Rd & Discovery Square
  • North Shore Dr. & Village Rd.
  • Sunset Hills Rd. & Isaac Newton Square
  • Town Center Pkwy & Sunset Hills Rd.
  • Reston Pkwy & Spectrum Dr.

Along with the survey, Capital Bikeshare relies partially on crowdsourced suggestions to provide insight into selecting new station locations at its customer-service website. According to this website, a few of the more desirable locations for future bikeshare stations in Washington, D.C., include:

  • New York Avenue, NW & 17th NW (Near the Corcoran School of The Arts & Design)
  • 1st Street & F Street NW- (Near Georgetown University Law Center)
  • Union Station Drive NE & First Street NE (Near Union Station and its Metro station)
  • 17th Street NE & Gales Street NE (Near Rosedale Neighborhood Library)

To read more about best practices for bikeshare-station placement, the National Association of City Transportation Officials has created a Bike Share Station Sharing Guide.

“Getting bikeshare-station placement right propels success,” said Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and NACTO president, in a press release last year.

Featured map of new Capital Bikeshare stations by Adam Russell of Mobility Lab.

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