Sprouting up, seemingly suddenly like mushrooms after a rain shower in a lush forest, over the last week have been an array of nine Capital Bikeshare racks that have become operational for City residents and visitors, making the City the seventh regional jurisdiction to participate in a D.C. Metro-wide program now totalling over 550 stations overall.
A public ribbon cutting featuring an array of City A-Listers to inaugurate the system in Falls Church will be held this Monday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the new station at N. Washington and Park Place, next to the State Theatre.
The launch has been the culmination of “a long journey in the ongoing effort to make Falls Church a ‘multimodal’ city, one that is friendly to all modes of transportation — pedestrian, bicycle, transit and automobile,” wrote F.C.’s Planning Director Paul Stoddard in a guest commentary in this week’s edition.
“Following the direction set by Council, city staff has worked with the elected officials, boards and commissions, community at large, and regional, state and federal partners to deliver on the goals of increased safety and increased transportation options,” Stoddard wrote.
Capital Bikeshare is a regional bike sharing program jointly owned by the District, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria. It is operated under a contract with Motivate International, Inc.
Launched in 2010, the system gives members access to thousands of bikes at the 550 locations. Access is available for a single trip, for 24 hours, three days, 30 days or a year. Users can also purchase a “Day Key” with 24-hour access to the system. Trips of up to 30 minutes are free. Each additional 30 minute period incurs additional usage fees.
The location of the bikeshare stations in the City of Falls Church are at George Mason High on the corner of Haycock Road and Leesburg Pike, at N. Oak and W. Broad, Pennsylvania Ave. at W. Broad, City Hall at Park Ave. and Little Falls St., W. Broad at Little Falls St., S. Maple at S. Washington St., E. Fairfax at S. Washington St., Park Place at N. Washington St. and W. Columbia St. at N. Washington St.
Tenth and 11th locations, which have been in operation for some time already, are at the nearby East and West Falls Church Metro stations just outside the City.
The roll out of the City’s stations in rapid order in the last week has raised eyebrows of some not aware they were coming, and some have already complained about the sacrifice of parking spaces involved.
But as Stoddard wrote, “Growing awareness of the public health and environmental impacts of transportation choices is increasing the desire of more transportation options….the City will continue to support increased economic activity and vibrancy while also reducing environmental and neighborhood impacts and strengthening the walkability, bike ability and safety of the City’s transportation network.”
At Monday’s work session of the Falls Church City Council, it was discussed that bike share options be extended to the new development projects underway, including the Founders Row under construction at N. West and W. Broad Streets and the West End development currently in the approval process.
It was also noted that scooters are a new mode of alternative transportation that the City will have to address in the coming period, and the City’s Community Planning Chief Jim Snyder noted to the News-Press that electric battery-driven golf carts are legal modes of transportation in Virginia on all roads with speed limits under 25 miles per hour.