SILVER SPRING, Md. – Biking around Montgomery County could get a little easier with the help of 51 proposed Capital Bikeshare stations, which transportation representatives detailed Tuesday evening in one of three meetings on the new program.
The Bikeshare program will launch in August or September with stations in the down-county and mid-county areas in places, including Bethesda, Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Rockville and the Shady Grove Life Sciences area.
“We are very excited about the launch of Bikeshare, and we’re very confident that people will enjoy the program,” said Montgomery County Bikeshare Program Manager Anne Root.
The lower portion of Montgomery County (down-county) will have 30 stations with 250 bikes and the mid portion (mid-county) will have 21 stations and 180 bikes.
The breakdown goes like this:
Bethesda: 12 stations
Silver Spring: 9 stations
Takoma Park: 6 stations
Friendship Heights: 3 stations
Rockville: 13 stations
Shady Grove: 8 stations
Each station will have between 11 and 19 docks for bikes, said Paul DeMaio, who works for MetroBike and consulted with Arlington County, Va., on Bikeshare as well.
“In the locations with higher demand, such as next to a Metro station, there will be 19 docks. Other locations that we think will have less demand will probably have 11 docks,” DeMaio said.
Montgomery County transportation officials are asking the public for input about the 51 proposed Bikeshare locations.
“We are looking at every single comment, we are weighing every single comment and, in some cases, we may move stations based on these meetings,” Root said.
Although only about a dozen residents attended a meeting in Silver Spring Tuesday evening, a few asked county officials to consider moving a few of the nine stations to alternative locations.
“We are going to look at all these suggestions, and then hopefully have a final list of Bikeshare locations in the next three to four weeks,” said DeMaio, who rode his bicycle around the county to develop the initial list of 51 locations.
Once the locations are chosen, Montgomery County officials will work on infrastructure improvements to get ready for Bikeshare. It will include studies to determine where “sharrows,” also known as the road markings that show when motorists need to share the path with bicyclists, could be placed. Councilmember Roger Berliner, who chairs the Transportation and Energy Committee, has championed the sharrows as an option.
Montgomery County Deputy Transportation Director Al Roshdieh says safety will be a top priority.
“We want people to share the road,” he said. “In some locations, we may do the sharrow to share the road. In some locations, we may have the width on the street that we can narrow other lanes and create a bicycle line. In other cases, we may have to take away parking spaces to add a bike lane. These are all in the tool box for us.”
Emil Wolanin, chief of traffic engineering for Montgomery County, is tasked with determining whether additional lanes or sharrows will be on the roads.
“We don’t have a lot of stripped dedicated bike lanes, but we are going to implement more. We are looking at roads where Paul DeMaio feels most of the cyclists will use to get between stations, and we’ll determine whether the locations are better for sharrows or whether we can re-engineer the road to get a dedicated lane,” he said.
Capital Bikeshare will cost $2.5 million to launch, with the Maryland Department of Transportation funding the down-county network and the Federal Transit Administration funding the mid-county network. Montgomery County officials say it will take $1761.45 per station, per month to operate the program.
Tuesday’s event took place following a similar meeting in Bethesda Monday. The third and final meeting is set to to place from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Shady Grove and the Life Sciences Center in its Executive Office Building Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe St. in Rockville, Wednesday.