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Rosslyn, Courthouse CaBi Stations To Open This Week

by ARLnow.com April 11, 2011 at 11:42 am 2,671 49 Comments

Update at 4:15 p.m. on 4/12/11 — The opening of the first four CaBi stations will be delayed, county officials say. No revised opening date was given.

It’s official: four Capital Bikeshare stations will open in Rosslyn and Courthouse on Wednesday.

The long-anticipated CaBi roll-out along the Orange Line will eventually result in 30 stations and 200 bikes added by the end of 2011, according to Arlington County. Crystal City and Pentagon City are already home to 14 CaBi stations.

“Capital Bikeshare is an integral part of Arlington’s commitment to cycling and to providing transportation options,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement this morning. “Bringing the red bikes to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor this year will make cycling more convenient for Metro area commuters, and will offer our community another car-free, healthy transportation choice.”

The four stations that are scheduled to open on Wednesday include:

  • North Lynn Street and 19th Street in Rosslyn
  • Wilson Boulevard and North Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn
  • North Pierce Street and Clarendon Boulevard in Rosslyn
  • 15th Street and North Uhle Street in Courthouse

Courtesy photo

  • ACG

    Where’s the SoArl love??! We need a station near Columbia Pike and Walter Reed!

    • KalashniKEV

      Don’t you guys already get all the stolen bikes from North Arlington?

      • Max

        Do any of your comments have a point anymore, or are you on a mission to let everyone know your hatred of everyone? If so, arlnow.com is not the place for you to do so.

    • Southeast Ben

      I love KalashniKEV’s response to stolen bicycles. I still say you guys have it better in South Arlington…you’re getting a fricking trolley!

      • 4Arl

        North or South, you’d better make sure the bike doesn’t get stolen on your checkout. According to the user agreement, you agree to pay $1,000 if it is stolen or not returned in 24 hours! They should roll in some kind of insurance with a deductible into the fee like ZipCar rather than just charging your credit card the full amount.

    • Chris R

      Hopefully Alta/Arlington County are planning on expanding not just to the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor but to a couple key points along the 4 Mile Run trail corridor. Having some some stations at N Wilson, 50/Lubber Run Park, 4Mile run/Columbia Pike, 4 mile run/George Mason, Walter Reed etc , will allow users to link in not only with the new stations in R/B corridor but also with the many existing stations in Crystal City further increasing the utility of the system.

  • CrystalMikey

    Hey ladies, don’t go on the sidewalk! I know for a fact there are 2 nice comfy bike lanes right there on Crystal Drive.

    • CW

      Seriously. I’ve had some recent discussions with coworkers about what the long-term implications of the increased bike traffic and diversified demographic makeup of cyclists due to CaBi will be with respect to the perception of cycling in the area. In the short term, I think it consists of a lot of frustration from drivers and pedestrians because a lot of people who are not very regular cyclists (and thus which are not as versed in the rules of the road) are taking to the streets. LOTS of sidewalk riding going on in the golden triangle, that’s for sure. But I think that in the long-term, increased awareness of cyclists, as well as a realization by the general population that cyclists aren’t just the spandex crowd, will be a good thing.

      • Of course they are self-identified with the big red bikes. I would probably have them in the same category as I put drivers of U-Hauls and Zip Cars, people unfamiliar with the transportation system they are using and probably worthy of a higher paranoia level in regards to reckless or random actions.

        • CW

          Right now, yes. But hopefully, as more and more cyclists learn the rules of the road and more and more drivers learn to be more cognizant of cyclists being about, we’ll get a more peaceful coexistence.

  • steve

    I don’t understand the point of these bikeshare things if you look at the pricing. Anything over 1.5 hours and it becomes incredibly expensive. There’s no basket, so if you want to use it for grocery shopping, forget it. What’s the point, just short term exercise? it would be better to get your own bike. If it is used for commuting, gettint to some place with the stations nearby, then you aren’t assured of there being even a spot to park it in to return it, or being another one for the way back.

    • David F-H

      The point is to ride it for short periods of time; under half an hour is covered by your membership. So, grab a bike from near your home, ride to the store, drop the bike at a station there, do your shopping, grab a bike from out front and ride home. Two trips, both under half an hour. If you need more carrying ability–incidentally you can put a bag out front–bring a backpack.
      I own a road bike and don’t want to put the wear-and-tear on it. Besides, this way I can walk or metro or bus around town and not have to worry about returning to my bike. ‘Assured’ a spot? No, not yet, we need greater density of stations… but that’s coming.

      • steve

        But they may have no open spots at a station, or no bikes available on your return trip. It’s like me going to the redbox and trying to return a DVD and the machine is full and cannot accept any more DVDs. You wind up paying more through no fault of your own. It gets REALLY expsensive on these things after 2 hours…

        • David F-H

          Correct, they may have no spots open at the station.
          Here’s how CaBi themselves tackle that issue: you get 15 more minutes free.

          For more:
          http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/faq#no_empty

          This is why we need high density stations. I live within about a five minute walk of three stations. I know two of them are very popular and both more convenient for me, but if they’re full, I just ride on to the next one. This is more difficult for the far flung stations (like near where I work).

          Here are my personal stats:
          First ride: 11/12/10.
          Number of rides: 120.
          Number over 30 minutes: 0.
          Number where I found a full station: 3. (that stat from memory, the others are tracked by CaBi)
          Total cost (after annual membership): $0.

          • steve

            Can I keep on returning a bike every 30 minutes and never incurr a charge?

          • Rosslyner

            Yes. This is called daisy chaining.

        • MIchael H.

          You can check bike and station availability online or through the free SpotCycle smartphone app. (I know it’s available on Android and iPhone. Not sure about other mobile OSes.) There is a slight delay, but the stats are usually pretty close to being accurate.

          CaBi employees try to redistribute bikes throughout the day to clear up space at full stations or to bring bikes to empty stations. The system isn’t perfect but it should continue to improve as the system gets built out. Some of the D.C. stations will be located close to other stations, to help avoid the problem of over-full or empty stations.

          It’s a work in progress. You can’t expect such a large system to avoid growing pains when it has only been up and running for less than 7 months. It’s getting there.

    • KalashniKEV

      It’s stupid. It’s supposed to make you feel good. But it only works if you’re stupid.

      • mehoo

        People who don’t spend their money exactly the way you would are stupid.

    • OX4

      CaBi annual membership = $75
      Personal bike = $750 + Maintenance

      Yea, real stupid.

    • MIchael H.

      I use CaBi for short trips to the grocery all the time. Not sure why it’s supposed to be unsuitable for running errands. Hundreds of people have been using them for that purpose for the last 7 months.

      As for the pricing, CaBi is not intended for long trips. That’s why the stations are relatively close to each other, so that you don’t have to ride for more than 30 minutes. I have two bikes of my own, but I prefer to use CaBi because I don’t have to worry about locking up my own bike for these short trips.

      Once the Rosslyn/Court House stations open, and then the additional stations in Clarendon and Ballston, I’ll use the CaBi bikes to run errands up there or to just look around at some different stores/restaurants. The bikes are very useful and convenient for frequent short trips.

  • David F-H

    http://goo.gl/maps/yyTH for a nice view of all four stations (because I don’t know the street names in Arlington… yet!)

  • Lacy Forest

    Interesting, but I just saw on TheWashCycle website that Alta Bicycles, the parent of CaBi, has made all their employees part-timers and canceled their benefits. If this is true, CaBi is certainly not something I want to be supporting.

  • LyonSteve

    When will the bikes come out further west?

    • MIchael H.

      I think many of the Clarendon and Ballston stations are supposed to be installed by this summer, but I’m not exactly sure about the timetable.

  • Sophia

    Alexandria please. North Old Town and Old Town to be specific.

    I work in Rosslyn and I could hop on the Mt Vernon trail for a ride.

    • MIchael H.

      CaBi stations in Alexandria would be a great addition. There have been discussions about putting stations in Old Town, King St. and/or near the USPTO, but no finalized plans yet. Personally I think stations in Old Town and in the Alexandria section of Potomac Yards would be the best place to start. There are plenty of residents, businesses and attractions in that area. There is convenient access to the Mt. Vernon Trail and many low-traffic neighborhood streets. And those areas are within riding distance of the Crystal City/Potomac yards stations, making it possible to ride between the two areas within the 30-min. time limit (before racking up over-time fees).

      Hopefully it won’t be too long before Alexandria jumps on board. Contact your local representatives to add your support for CaBi stations in those areas.

  • OX4

    I don’t understand CaBi’s map on their site. There’s nothing on these four stations, not even as “planned” on the map. But planned stations like the one near Metro Center and Foggy Bottom have been on the map as “planned” for months. What gives?

    • MIchael H.

      Some of those “planned stations” are at the old SmartBike locations. It took a while to remove the SmartBike stations, for whatever reason. Apparently there isn’t a lot of space at some of those spots, so CaBi has to wait for SmartBike to be removed before installing the new stations there. The two types of bike stations are not compatible.

  • Un_Hip_Harry

    I don’t really get the appeal. The only time I could see this being useful is if you lived far enough away from a metro that biking there made more sense than walking, and you didn’t want to have to worry picking up your own bike later. Even then, when it’s hot in the summer or the weather is bad I’d be more likely to cab it than risk showing up all sweaty or drenched in rain if I was going out to eat or to meet up with people. For most short errands around town or biking to work I’d be far more inclined to use my own bike. For the few times it might be convenient, it’s not worth the trouble of yet another membership and another monthly bill.

    I’m not understanding who the target audience is – people that don’t own their own bike or car and don’t like to walk? People that don’t feel like getting out their own bike and would rather pay a few bucks to ride somebody else’s? Maybe I’m wrong but it surprises me there’s enough of a market for this to make it profitable. Could someone explain what I’m missing?

    • OX4

      Well, for me at least, here’s the appeal: 1) I don’t want to spend money on my own bike. 2) Even when I did own a bike, I hated dragging it in and out of my apartment building. 3) My commute on CaBi from Foggy Bottom to Gallery Place takes the same amount of time as it does taking the same Red Line and Orange/Blue route underground. 4) Sunshine and fresh air versus filth and coughing subway riders. 5) Girls dig a guy in a suit on a bike.

    • Confused

      I don’t get it either. Seems like a very small target demo but if youre CaBi, you have no upfront cost and really no risk, so why not talk the local govts into funding it all and then you get to enjoy the benefit. Should they not get used, it’s not loss to CaBi.

      • I think the demographic may be larger than you think. In the places where there are stations, it basically replaces a lot of potential short cab rides (I have used it as much to run quick errands during the work day as I have for any commute purposes), at no marginal cost per ride.

        Is bike riding sweaty in the summer? Sure, but depending on your a 5-10 minute ride from work to meet friends for happy hour can be less sweaty, less costly, and take less time, than a combination of walking, metro and/or cabs.

    • bob

      Think biking one way. And you don’t have to deal with a lock.

      • MIchael H.

        Exactly. The past few years have shown that there is a very large potential user base, for bikesharing and cycling in general. I think recent reports stated that bike commuting or bike trips at certain locations in D.C. has gone up by over 80 percent in a 4 or 5-year period. That’s because the bike infrastructure (bike lanes, sharrows, bike parking and now bikesharing) has made it more convenient for people to ride for commuting, errands and recreational riding.

        That rapid rate of increase in bike traffic shows that there was a lot of pent-up demand for cycling. Likewise, the decent subscriber numbers shows that there is definitely a market for bikesharing in D.C. and Arlington. Bikesharing works better in denser, close-in areas. It probably wouldn’t work as well in the outer suburbs. But there are still plenty of areas in the inner core of the metro area that could use CaBi stations. Fortunately there are already concrete plans to install the new stations in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as well as in D.C. (I’m not sure where the D.C. stations will be located.)

    • MIchael H.

      I don’t think the primary goal is to be profitable, though that would be nice. (It seems like D.C. wants to use advertising on CaBi stations to help contribute to the general government budget, though there may be some legal issues with that strategy.) Highways and local roads are not profitable for governments. They are built to enable other activities that are profitable or desirable for various reasons.

      In high-density areas like D.C. and Arlington, it isn’t always efficient to use a car for short trips. It can be much faster to use a CaBi bike instead of walking to a parking space, getting stuck in traffic, finding another parking space at the destination and walking to the location. Public transit is an option but trains and buses don’t always run that frequently in off-peak hours. Metro doesn’t operate in the early morning or at night either.

      For some people, it can be faster to commute on CaBi than to drive or to take public transit. Others simply prefer to get some fresh air and exercise instead of sitting in a car or train for two hours every day. With the well-known obesity and health problems in the country (which may be costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars in avoidable medical expenses related to inactivity and poor nutrition-which leads to obesity, diabetes, early heart disease, etc.), cycling is a good choice. Walking is not practical for most people because it takes too long.

      With all of these short trips on bike, that means far fewer people driving around for short trips, which benefits those who do choose to drive. They have less automobile traffic to deal with. Rush-hour traffic is already bad here. It would be even worse if everyone who biked, got into a car and joined the gridlock.

      CaBi users also drive and take transit. CaBi just gives them another transportation option.

      This primarily describes local residents. I’ve also read about many out-of-town visitors/tourists riding around D.C. and Arlington on CaBi bikes (mostly in D.C.). Though most of the tourist sites are in D.C., many visitors stay in Arlington. CaBi gives them an option to travel between Arlington and D.C. without using expensive taxis or Metro. Or they can use CaBi to supplement Metro trips.

      The Nat’l Park Service hasn’t allowed any CaBi stations on areas under its administration, which explains why there are no stations on the Mall or near the main monuments. But tourists can still use CaBi bikes to move quickly from one end of the Mall to another. There are no Metro lines that run the length of the Mall. It’s a bit far to walk for most people, say from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial. (There aren’t any CaBi stations next to the Lincoln Memorial, but there is one at 19th & Constitution.)

  • Carmen

    Great! I just signed up over the weekend.

  • eosacritic

    For something that doesn’t make sense to some people, there are surely a lot of riders where there ARE stations! I see them every time I’m downtown, Dupont Circle, etc

    • RosRes

      +1 I see CaBi bikes all around town these days! More transportation options is better for all concerned. We do not all have to use every option in order for it to make sense to offer the options. Car, Metro, bus, streetcar, walking, biking, CaBi… its all good.

    • MIchael H.

      +2

      Anecdotal evidence indicates that the bikes are popular with both area residents and out-of-town visitors. I’ve used the bikes for hundreds of short trips since the system opened last September.

  • Chris Eatough

    Lots of reasons to like CaBi:
    Biking if fun, convenient, and healthy.
    Bikeshare aleviagtes many of the difficulties with bike ownership (cost, storage, maintenance, security, etc).
    Bikeshare allows one way trips (bike to work and take another mode home if it’s raining later in day).
    Bikeshare can be spontaneous (your friend calls to invite you to a movie just as you leave the restarant – viola, CaBi is there ready and waiting to go).
    Bikeshare works well with other transit modes (first and last miles of Metro and bus trips).
    Bikeshare is ubiquitous (well, not quite yet, but more bikes and stations are being added).
    Bikeshare increases the visibilty of bikes as a travel mode which is good for cycling safety.
    Many of these are mentioned already by folks that already enjoy CaBi. 250,000 rides in the first 6 months and currently around 3000 rides most days. 98% of trips from annual members are less than 30 minutes, so very few usage fees incurred and a very inexpensive choice.
    Capital Bikeshare is government owned by DDOT and Arlington County. Alta Bicycle Share is the vendor that won the contract to operate the system. All three are working hard to make this the best service possible. We certainly welcome all input and encourage you to try the system out.
    Thanks for the interest and great discussion.
    Chris Eatough
    BikeArlington Program Manager

    • bob

      One reason not to: their inability to put stations in Rosslyn-Ballston.

      • CrystalMikey

        Now don’t be jealous that S. Arl got something for first for a change!

  • I wish local governments would require these stations to provide racks for non-cabi bikes, since they are using public resources for private business.

    • Max

      you and I don’t agree often. But I agree with you on this.

  • OX4

    CaBi will be installed in the R-B corridor just as soon as I get my quantum computer in the mail, delivered by a FedEx truck covered in a carbon-nanotube layered protective skin.

  • ArlLiver4

    Delayed? Why?

    Guess its time to hold off on activating membership for those who bought the livingsocial deal…

  • Rosslyner

    The station on Lynn St has been installed, picture attached. A crew is installing the Ft Myer station now. Here’s to Capital Bikeshare working on a rainy weekend.

  • bradley saaks

    Capitol Bike Share/alta bicycles denies health insurance to employees who ride bikes for the job.

    THIS ONLY HAPPENED TO EMPLOYEES WHO RIDE BIKES FOR THE JOB!!!.

    i quit my job today and i am so happy not to be working for a bunch of incompetent people anymore. when i was hired in november i was a full time employee with benefits and an option to have health insurance after a set amount of time. starting feb. Alta bikes, who is the mother company of Capitol Bike Share, changed thier policy and made me and all of the people in my position a part time employee with out benefits. i/we was also denied any buy in on the health plan they ues for full time employees. then a week or so later, they gave back everything TO ONLY THREE of the 8 people effected and called them managers. the rest were paid the amount of PTO they were alotted for the year (i had around 27 hours) and no longer allowed to work a 40 hour week capping out at 32hrs.
    THIS ONLY HAPPENED TO EMPLOYEES WHO RIDE BIKES FOR THE JOB!!!. the employees who drive vans (rebalancing the system), and station technitions were NOT affected by this change in policy. they all still have a full timer with insurance and benefits.

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