Spring Already? 2012 Bike Projects Already Underway
Signs of spring come as new bike share stations and bike racks are installed around Arlington.
The big Capital Bikeshare expansion down the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor announced last year was scheduled to begin in “the spring”. Well, it must be spring, as the new stations are already starting to appear. On top of that, almost 40 new bike racks were recently installed all over Arlington. With good weather and a bit of luck, it seems the spring infrastructure push for bikes is well underway.
Over the past weekend, the Virginia Square Metro station saw the addition of a 19 space Capital Bikeshare station. The Central Library also received an 11 space station. These two stations represent the furthest westward expansion of the Capital Bikeshare system to date.
New stations will be installed as bikes arrive from the manufacturer. The expectation is that the next one will be at the corner of Fairfax and Wilson, near Northside Social.
The planned growth of the system is much like that of a tree, with the base of the trunk planted in Rosslyn and currently growing toward Ballston. When that trunk is strong enough, it can then support the growth of branches away from the corridor.
Unfortunately for those who would like to see another “tree” planted along Columbia Pike, its geographic distance from the rest of the CaBi network can’t efficiently support such a move. However, faster growth of the Crystal City or R-B Corridor systems towards Columbia Pike will bring the network density required to make Columbia Pike stations viable.
New bike racks have been appearing throughout Arlington, filling in gaps where bike parking has been difficult to find (beyond the usual signpost or parking meter stopgaps). Roughly 40 racks have been installed along the R-B Corridor, and County staffers tell me that another 20 racks are scheduled to be installed in the near future. Thankfully, a number of those racks will be installed along Columbia Pike. Arlington County remains interested in suggestions for placement of additional racks in publicly-owned right of way.
These developments are a solid step forward for Arlington. The CaBi expansion westward is going to bring a new wave of cyclists onto Arlington’s streets. With greater numbers will come greater safety for all cyclists. By adding new bike racks, we get closer to the ideal of ubiquitous bike parking, which in turn makes cycling more convenient and attractive for all.
If this is what early spring brings, just imagine what we might see this summer.
Mark Blacknell is chair of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, president of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and a League Cycling Instructor