Montgomery County’s implementation of a downcounty Bikeshare network shouldn’t be affected by equipment delays in other cities despite the use of the same vendor, said Department of Transportation manager Sande Brecher.
The Washington Post reported last week that expansion of the popular Capital Bikeshare system in D.C. slated for this fall was pushed back because Portland, Ore.-based vendor Alta Bicycle Share couldn’t provide enough equipment. Other cities using Alta, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Nashville, have had to delay their Bikeshare networks because of a technical glitch.
Brecher said she’s received no indication that the county’s spring and summer rollout of 29 downcounty Bikeshare stations (11 of which will be in Bethesda) will be affected by the needs of other cities. Alta officials did not return requests for comment.
“We’re aware of it. We don’t anticipate that’s going to cause a lot of issues,” Brecher said. “I think the reason it did for D.C. was they were ready to roll. We’re not there yet.”
A $2.4 million budget appropriation will be introduced today (Tuesday) at County Council that if approved would allow the DOT to place the order for the downcounty Bikeshare equipment. The public hearing for the appropriation is scheduled for Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m.
A grant from the state of Maryland accounts for $1 million of the appropriation. The required county match of $252,000 was raised through private donors including developer Chevy Chase Land Company. The remaining roughly $1.1 million will be provided through membership fees and the Mass Transit Facilities Fund.
The County Council has shown strong support for the Bikeshare program, unanimously approving a pair of measures that will make it easier to develop Bikeshare stations and divert part of the developer’s transportation tax into the project.
Brecher said the DOT has a list of potential sites (mostly around Metro stations) for the Bikeshare stations but that a final list won’t be ready until funding is approved.
“We’ve been doing a little bit of that. We’re talking with some of the folks,” Brecher said. “The formal push on that can’t happen until we have the funding for the Bikeshare consultants and also our engineering folks to go out and look at sites.”