The recently launched Capital Bikeshare program that gives District and Arlington residents a way to get around on rented wheels for short trips just lost out on a bid for funding from TIGER II, a grant program run by the Department of Transportation. If it were awarded this bid, Arlington County could have gained funding for a thousand bikes, including an expansion of stations from Rosslyn to Ballston.
But with the absence of this funding, does the Orange Line Corridor have a chance of getting bikes anytime soon? Chris Eatough, Program Manager for BikeArlington, says that while the program was hopeful for funds from TIGER II, they were not relying on them. "Arlington County is still committed to expanding the program to the R-B Corridor," Eatough said. The county has funding committed for building stations in Rosslyn in Spring 2011, the first phase of expansion after the initial 14 stations in Crystal City.
BikeArlington, which partnered with DDOT for the expansion of Capital Bikeshare (or CaBi, as it is affectionately referred to), uses their own point system to judge which areas in the county are most in demand of bikesharing. Looking at population density, employment density, solid bike facilities such as lanes and trails, and proximity to transit, Rosslyn came out as the logical choice for the next leg of expansion into Arlington. "A huge aspect of the usage is people going from transit to that last mile or so to their destination," Eatough said. The area's proximity to DC and to Crystal City via existing bike trails means that Rosslyn could also build off of the existing CaBi density of these areas.
Crystal City's stations were sponsored in part by the Crystal City BID, whose contribution was matched 2 for 1 by Arlington County. Angie Fox, president of the Crystal City BID, says the system is working beautifully so far. "It gives the county more of a justification for growing it into other areas of the county," Fox said. While 11% of the CaBi users are Arlington County residents, 14% of the total system usage comes from these residents, according to Fox.
Building the CaBi system beyond Rosslyn to Court House and other Metro stations could come with the aid of BIDs, as well as local businesses, organizations, and property owners. "If they're keen on getting the bikes [to their area], they can explore funding options" with BikeArlington, Eatough said.