DDOT is looking at locations for a Capital Bikeshare station around Grant Circle. This document will hopefully answer any questions about where they can be placed and future plans. This document has been put together by Commissioner Jonah Goodman, 4C10, and reflects his work with DDOT on this project and is not representative of the full ANC.
Where is it going to be placed?
DDOT needs to install the bikeshare station on a street with an existing bike lane. Because you have to back the bikes out of the stations they want users backing that into a bike lane instead of a lane of traffic. Currently, only a few roads around Grant Circle meet this requirement:
1. Grant Circle
3. Upshur St
Where is DDOT recommending this be placed?
DDOT released final recommendations to utilize the 4200 block of Illinois in April, 2019.
Where about existing bikeshare stations on streets without bike lanes?
DDOT has updated their bikeshare regulations to require installation on a street with a bike lane. Some stations previously installed don’t conform to the current requirements.
What about Varnum, Webster, or New Hampshire?
They don’t have bike lanes. But it would be great if they did. If you are interested in helping us expand bike lanes on your block please contact your ANC Commissioner.
Why don’t we put it in another neighborhood?
Grant Circle was selected based on a survey of Capital Bikeshare users. Neighbors in our community who use the bikeshare have requested the Grant Circle location.
Why doesn’t it go inside Grant Circle or inside the triangle park?
Grant Circle and the triangle parks are managed by the National Parks Service. At this time they will not allow DDOT to place a bikeshare station on this land. NPS wrote to DDOT on 4/9/2019:
“NPS is not supportive of CaBi in this location because of the impact to the landscape of the circle.”
Additionally, the community knows it can be very difficult to cross Grant Circle. So it would be inherently difficult to access the bike station and then walk the bikes back across the road to access the bike lane if placed inside the circle.
Why doesn’t it go on a sidewalk somewhere?
DDOT does install bikeshare stations on some sidewalks that are wide enough for the docking station, pedestrian usage of the sidewalk, and any store/building access. There are no sidewalks that are wide enough to accomodate all of those needs in the vicinity of Grant Circle.
Can we put it in the empty bus stop spaces?
No. The WMATA 60 bus that services Upshur Street needs the bus stop lane to be fully clear to reach the curb. We have many neighbors who rely on the bus, some who have mobility issues. The bus needs to be able to have both the front and back doors reach to curb to allow riders to enter and exit. That includes wheelchair accessibility, strollers, canes and other assistive walking devices.
How much space does it take up?
The standard station has space for 19 bicycles. It is 52’ long by 6’ wide. This is roughly the equivalent of three parking spaces.
Can they place them in no parking areas?
Yes! DDOT has agreed to place them partially in these areas, often near corners, if the ANC approves of a station. The only requirement is that the station not extend over the vehicle stop bar (crosswalk) that indicates where cars must stop before intersections.
What if there are fire hydrants? Will they be blocked?
No. DDOT has regulations that don’t allow bikeshare stations to be placed in front of a fire hydrant.
Why don’t they use smaller stations?
DDOT requires their contracted company to ensure bikes are available, and any service gap of more than three hours is a contract violation. That company contends that stations smaller than 19 docks are impossible to maintain at that level of service because the reduced capacity means that they would require significantly more rebalancing attention. In order to install a smaller station we have to waive the rebalancing requirement. So while it is technically feasible to install a smaller station, it would likely be chronically full or empty.
Re-balancing is moving bikes around the District to make sure docking stations are not regularly full or empty. Empty stations mean there are no bikes available. A full station is a problem because someone commuting home on a bike has no where to dock their bike. Both of these decrease user activity and make the stations much less appealing.
Are people going to leave bikes all over?
Capital Bikeshare bikes are not dockless. They have to be placed back in a locked docking station to complete a ride and end a user’s fee.
Do they support local residents who need financial assistance to use the bikes?
Capital Bikeshare has a Community Partners Program that enables local nonprofits, government agencies and social services organizations to offer their clients a steeply discounted Capital Bikeshare Annual Membership.
Why do we give bicycles so much space?
Sadly we don’t give much space to bicycles. There are 1,500 miles of roads in Washington, DC. There are only 84 miles of bike lanes. Most of these are north and south stretches of bike lanes that are fragmented. In our community there are no east and west routes into Northeast or across Rock Creek Park.
Where are other stations in our community?
Current stations. Blue lines indicate bike lanes.
Concerns Raised by Community
Can it be Addressed?
Removal of parking used by senior residents
Councilmember Todd’s office has offered support for residents who want to apply for reserved parking through DDOT’s program.
Bikeshare service vehicle noise
DDOT controls this contract and can control hours of service.
Bikeshare service vehicle double parking or blocking streets
DDOT already requires the bikeshare vehicles be parked legally when servicing bikeshare stations.
Loss of Parking (4200 Illinois)
DDOT has a net zero loss plan adding equal or more parking to 5th St to offset lost parking on Illinois. Because this street has a larger no parking zone near Upshur less of the current parking lane would be needed than any other locations.
Loss of Parking (430-432 Upshur)
Loss of Parking (4200 5th)
DDOT is exploring adding a new lane of parking on the east side of the street.
Residents use street parking instead of existing alley parking pads because of lack of alley lighting
DDOT can increase lighting.
Residents use street parking instead of existing alley parking pads because of rats
DPW can do focused rat abatement. DPW can work with blocks to address contributing factors (trash, abandoned vehicles).
On-street parking: N/A
Alley access: N/A
Grant Circle is not a likely candidate due to the curvature of the road. A 52’ station would have few if any locations where it could fit. Locating the station inside of Grant Circle is not an option because it is managed by National Parks Service and not the District. NPS has said placement in the park area is not permitted.
Area: 4200 block of 5th Street (between Grant Circle and Upshur)
On-street parking: 10 (5 on New Hampshire, 4 on 5th St, 1 space on Upshur)
Alley access: None
5th Street south of Grant Circle (the 4200 block) was the original recommendation from DDOT. However, this housing block (4200 block of New Hampshire, 500 block of Upshur, and 4200 block of 5th) only has street parking. These houses have no alleys and are already limited with on-street parking by the New Hampshire lane restrictions and the route 60 bus stop on Upshur. I asked DDOT if they would consider adding parking to the east side of 5th Street and to place a station here rather than on the west side to offset any lost parking. Unfortunately, DDOT has stated this is not an option in the near future. DDOT is however looking to eventually add parking on the east side and move the bike lane to the east side as part of the Crosstown Protected Bicycle Lane Project (https://www.dccycletrack.com/crosstown). Implementation is tentatively scheduled for 2020-21.
DDOT has said we could find a temporary location for the bikeshare docking station and then move it to 5th Street when the cycletrack is open. Placing it on 5th Street before the cycletrack would require placing it on the west side of the street. Due to an existing fire hydrant here and the length of the block all the parking would be removed.
Area: 430-432 Upshur Street (south side of the triangle park)
On-street parking: 3
Alley access: Yes
The stretch of Upshur is between Illinois and 5th. However, this is the only street parking for the houses 430 and 432 Upshur. They do not have any street parking on the south side of Upshur because of the route 60 bus stop. Placing the bikeshare station on the north side would remove their only street parking. The no parking zone on the south side is not large enough for the bikeshare station.
Area: 4300 block of Illinois (between Grant Circle and Webster Street)
On-street parking: Yes
Alley access: N/A
Illinois on the north side in front of St. Gabriel’s Church could be an option however it does not have a full bike lane. Illinois north of the circle uses a sharrows system which is a shared vehicle and bike lane offering no protection to users of the station. This therefore is not a feasible option. If DDOT were to install a full bike lane on Illinois this could be a future option.
Area: 4200 block of Illinois (between Grant Circle and Upshur Street)
On-street parking: 11
Alley access: Yes
The stretch of Illinois on the south side of Grant Circle is the last road on this list. This location is nearly identical to the site chosen for the Sherman Circle bikeshare station. Both have housing on one side of the street and park space on the other. Both have alley access for potential off-street parking.
Illinois has housing only on the east side of the street and parking on both the east and west sides. Most, though not all, of these houses also have alley access for potential off-street parking. Two of the houses do no have parking immediately in front of their houses because of the parking restrictions near the intersections to provide sight lines. There is more on-street and off-street parking per house on this block than the Upshur or 5th Street location options. Additionally, this is also an appealing option because DDOT is looking to convert this block to one way northbound. Due to pedestrian safety issues and frequency of crashes from southbound traffic, DDOT put out a Notice of Intent in 2017 (NOI #17-160-TOA) to study this change: https://noiadmin.hostpilot.com/Shared%20Documents/Rock%20Creek%20Church%20Rd%20NW%20(Illinois%20Ave%20NW)2.pdf
Petworth News has covered the pedestrian safety issues with this street previously:
Currently, the 4200 block of Illinois has a sharrows shared lane. The rest of Illinois south of Upshur has dedicated bike lanes. If this location is selected DDOT would complete a full bike lane up to Grant Circle. DDOT has also confirmed they would change the traffic flow to northbound only at the same time that they installed a bikeshare station. There may be a lag between striping and station installation depending on timing and contractor schedules. This road would have much less traffic than Upshur and likely mean a much safer area for cyclists to access a bikeshare station. DDOT is currently completing a striping plan and won’t know how much space a bikeshare station will take up until this is complete. They shared it might be the equivalent of two parking spaces but will confirm once the striping plans are complete.
The 4200 block of Illinois is not wide enough to allow diagonal parking to be placed on the west side of the street.
DDOT does install counter-flow bike lanes, where the vehicular traffic moves in one direction and a bike lane moves in the opposition. With this road eventually becoming one way northbound it is important to have a southbound bikelane for a potential bikeshare station to access Upshur or 5th St bike lanes.
If this location is selected DDOT has agreed to use the no parking area near the corner to ensure we are minimizing the loss of parking as much as we can.
Orange rectangle represents potential station at actual size.