The Gazette reports this week that Shared Bikes Could Come to Bethesda. Cities around the world and around the country are finding that bike share programs add a new level of livability and possibly contribute to reducing traffic congestion.
While it could be fun to just bike around Bethesda, the proposed bike station could be the start of a bike share network throughout the County. Why not pick up a bike in Bethesda and pedal down to Friendship Heights or Silver Spring. I can imagine small fleets of biking scientists pedaling from Bethesda to NIH.
Bike sharing could also be the start of thinking about suburban transportation in a broader way. It doesn’t have to be solely about congestion. Some congestion is inevitable, but even more is inevitable if we don’t think about our individual trips differently, and as a community think about serving walkers, cyclists, and transit riders, as well as drivers.
The Planning Department’s forthcoming Mobility Access Report recognizes the need to move beyond measuring auto congestion and takes an initial step with a bicycle “heat” map that estimates where people might want to go on their bikes, whether it’s commuting or recreation. The report will also propose ways to gather data about bike use that will contribute to understanding how get around now and how we could in the future.