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MoCo Hoping For September Bikeshare Opening

by Aaron Kraut | April 16, 2013 at 10:05 am | 173 views | 1 Comment

Flickr photo by James D. SchwartzIf all goes smoothly this summer, most downcounty Capital Bikeshare facilities will be open by September 21.

That was the best-case scenario offered Monday by Montgomery County Department of Transportation manager Sande Brecher at a meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.

Brecher said MCDOT still hasn’t finalized specific locations for 11 Bethesda and 18 other downcounty (Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights) stations.

Brecher said the county signed the contract with Portland, Ore.-based vendor Alta Bicycle Share in the first week of April after a hold-up with the state, which funded part of the project through a $1 million grant and $250,000 bond. Because the state used federal dollars, the signing of the contract was put on hold until the state was sure it had complied with federal requirements.

That held up the county’s end of the process, said Brecher, who last year had hoped for a spring or summer opening.

Once Alta signs the contract, it must provide the Bikeshare equipment within a little more than 100 days. Brecher said it will take four or five months to have the equipment come in, finalize the station locations and put the bikes and equipment down.

The stations are expected to be near Metro stations and other widely used public spaces, much like the successful systems in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria. One private developer has suggested Woodmont Triangle’s Veterans Park as a station site.

“We hope to have sites on the ground. Will we have all 30 or so? Probably not,” Brecher said. “We hope to have a critical mass of stations in place so we can proceed with opening the system.”

Flickr photo by James D. Schwartz

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tomasbridle Tomas Bridle

    Bike share is great but its not going to work unless there is a well thought-out network of bike paths – ideally separated from traffic – that people can actually use to get from place to place. Whats in Bethesda now is mostly patchwork of disconnected white lines on the road. Its nice that Bethesda got “Bronze” certification as bicycle-friendly, but that’s the lowest of five levels of certification – about the same as “good effort, keep trying”. (Also: Nice that the developer at Bethesda Center on Wisconsin is supposed to pay $57k towards installation of a bike sharing facility near the site, but who knows when that will be done.)

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