Smoothing the Way for Bikeshare in Montgomery County

Posted by & filed under Design.

Since 2008, when Washington, D.C. rolled out bicycles for short-term, commuter-oriented trips, it has grown to one of the largest systems in the U.S. With more than 175 stations and 1,700 bicycles, bikesharing has changed the way people get around in the city and inner suburbs. The growth in bikesharing reflects a wave of interest in cycling – for commuting, weekend sight-seeing and even running errands. Its business model focused on convenience – inexpensive rentals, hassle-free memberships, flexible pick-up and return locations – taps into a need to get around quickly in traffic. It also provides a green option for environmentally conscious urbanites. The bright red cruisers and rows of bike docks provided by Capital Bikeshare are now ubiquitous throughout… Read more »

Bikeshare Coming to Silver Spring, etc.

Posted by & filed under Design.

I have a confession: i don’t own a bike. The bus and metro are a bit too convenient for me. And with DC’s Bikeshare program and the soon to come Silver Spring program, why would I need one? (And we’re beginning to reserve spaces on land in White Flint.) With a grant in place and plans under way, the first project to propose a bikeshare station with integrated public art, Fenwick Station (on the corner of Second Avenue and Spring Street), was reviewed by the Planning Board on April 26. This is just in time for national bike month! So maybe we can give DC, named the 6th most bikeable city by walkscore.com, a run (ride?) for their money. And… Read more »

Deco Bikes

Posted by & filed under Planning, Public spaces.

Bike sharing is a natural for Miami Beach. Yup, even in a place where Lamborghinis jostle with Bentleys in the public parking lots, a bike is cool. The island is flat, warm, laid out in a gridded street pattern, and partially ringed with off-road bike routes that pass by a marina, Government Cut, South Pointe Park, and the beach. If you live and work on the Beach, a $15.00 monthly Deco Bikes membership gets you unlimited access. If you’re a tourist, just swipe your credit card, choose a bike, and pedal off. The docking stations are located all over the island, and I wonder if there will be an obvious pattern of use. In Montreal, Bixi bikes all go downhill with… Read more »

Bikes and Cars, Traveling Together

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New York continues to open its streets to all users, rethinking its infrastrcutre in a way that makes the city enjoyable for more people, and a bit greener. There is hardly a more iconic street than Broadway and if you’re a cyclist, it’s where your dreams might in fact come true. After testing lane closures to make squares and bike routes, the city is making the closures official. Two quotes in the article caught my eye: “You do these things incrementally, and over time they build.” and “I think it was their strategy to introduce this piecemeal, see if it worked, and then go further.” These comments remind me of what Richard Layman said in our Rethink Montgomery speakers series–that… Read more »

Capital Bikeshare Begins

Posted by & filed under Planning.

DC has taken an early step in becoming a more bike-friendly community (a la Montreal). See the press release below: Sign Up Today for Capital Bikeshare Discount Memberships Now Available at www.capitalbikeshare.com Become a Founding Member (Washington, D.C.) – Cyclists in the Washington area can now sign up in advance for Capital Bikeshare, the regional bikesharing network that is scheduled to start service in September in the District and Arlington, Virginia. The program’s website is now live at www.capitalbikeshare.com and by signing up online now individuals can take advantage of a special introductory offer. Here are the details: For a limited time, Capital Bikeshare is offering annual memberships for $50. That is $25 off the regular annual price. In addition,… Read more »

Planning Department’s Painted Purple Pathway: A How-to Guide

Posted by & filed under Design, Public spaces.

Sometimes a parking lot lies between you and your heart’s desire – reaching the café to buy a frappucino, enjoying a quiet moment along a shaded stream, dropping by your favorite lunch spot.  Or perhaps the car-choked lot is the gateway to your workplace. Parking lots are rarely places of delight and walking through one often feels like being trapped in a nasty computer game. Well, a couple of us who regularly advocate for squeezing every possible bit of walkability into communities decided to get our own house in order. Witness the bright new path through our parking lot at the Planning Department’s headquarters in Silver Spring. This walkway connects the Woodside Park neighborhood to the north with Downtown Silver… Read more »

Un-graying Infrastructure

Posted by & filed under Architecture, Design, Planning.

Roads, parking garages, even trails rarely have the urban glamour of Italian hill towns, grand plazas, or museums and symphony halls. For many planners and architects, they are the unfortunate necessities that make a place work and are often treated accordingly. But as this article in Better Cities and Towns shows, infrastructure can add drama to the urban profile and fun to daily life. What particulalry got me interested in the topic was looking at how we talk about parking garages. The only solution appears to be hiding them, screening them, making them look like something else. While some of these examples in Miami are truly extraordinary, more of them are replicable and through their design, location, and tenanting, add… Read more »

Biking Benefits

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By the end of the summer, the first Capital bikeshare will be open in Montgomery County. In the meantime, here are some interesting statistics about bike riding and bike-friendly places. Capital Bikeshare has released the second part of its user’s survey–who report spending less money on transportation, and being more physically fit. But it takes some infrastrucutre investment to get those benefits. American Bicyclists have released some nice infographics on increasingly bike-friendly places–the DC metro region has increased by 315%. Ding, ding–on your left!

Transit improvements Should Not Be Considered Anything Paved

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In response to the article, “The year ahead: A top 10 list of transportation projects to watch“, I have to say I’m quite disappointed. Not by the content per se, but the title. Of the 10 projects listed, only 4 are truly “transit” projects; the other 6 are highway projects/roadway improvements (all 10 of which are “transportation” projects). The problem that drives some of us in the design and planning business crazy is that it is precisely because these two concepts are conflated, that we miss the opportunity to truly assess progress for more sustainable, congestion-reducing transportation solutions. Words matter because there is so much baggage attached to them. While, broadly speaking, “transit” is the movement of something from one… Read more »

A new(ish) Park in DC

Posted by & filed under Design, Places, Public spaces.

The Yards Park has already won a list of awards, but I’ve just discovered it. I can see why it’s won awards–there are so many things I love about it–the variety of spaces, the classic Holly Whyte bits of urbanism (movable chairs, touchable water, something to eat, people to watch), and its connections, running from Diamond Teague Park at National’s Stadium and through the Navy Yard, with a few bikeshare docks along the way.