I can’t think of a much better way to spend a gorgeous Monday morning than showing up to an event where several hundred spiffy new red bikes are lined up outside the US Department of Transportation headquarters ready to be ridden. Today was the launch of the Capital Bikeshare program – DC’s long-awaited expanded bike sharing program that will have 1,100 bikes in 100 stations around DC and Arlington. On hand for the launch was outgoing DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Arlington County board member Jay Fissette, and the USDOT Assistant Secretary for Transportation Polly Trottenberg – and of course they all had glowing things to say about the project. Which was a good thing because the BIXI public bike folks from Montreal were also there in force. Roger Plamondon, chairman of the board for the Public Bike System Company spoke about the impact of such programs on people in cities around the world.
Then we got to ride! In a cunning plan, the organizers had convoys of riders deliver bikes to the stations around the city. I rode with Group 6 over to the RFK Stadium location, led by Caron Whitaker of America Bikes fame and in the esteemed company of Mr Plamondon and Alain Ayotte, president of the company. We learned about the impact of having 3 million trips on the Montreal system this year (incredible); the feedback they are getting from riders (fantastic); and the interest from cities around the world (phenomenal).
So a big thanks to the District Department of Transportation, Arlington County, Alta Bike Share, and everyone involved in pulling this off. And thanks for a great way to start the week.
Here’s a video showing you how to use the system. (Thanks WashCycle.)
Andy Clarke was appointed to the position of Executive Director in April of 2004 after successfully leading efforts to create, interpret and implement the various transportation programs that are available to improve conditions for bicycling and walking as the League’s State and Local Advocacy Director. Before joining the League in February 2003, Clarke was on contract to provide technical assistance to the highly regarded Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center on site at the Federal Highway Administration. He is on the Board of Directors for America Bikes, and a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling Professionals.