Over Previous Objections, Bike Share Is Coming to the National Mall

Bikeshare is coming. Photo: ##http://thecityfix.com/blog/capital-bikeshare-expansion-stunted-in-the-national-mall/##Mr. T in DC via The City Fix##

Readers, all that awful news about Republicans trying to kill active transportation’s tiny share of federal support is getting me down. So even though I don’t normally post anything new this late in the day, I just can’t leave you without some good news.

In July, the Park Service made an inscrutably ridiculous decision to keep Capital Bikeshare off the National Mall because it would “violate the National Historic Preservation Act” — because, you know, there wasn’t bikeshare in the time of our forefathers, but there sure were lots of cars and charter buses!

If you’ve never been to the National Mall, let me say this: it’s a little over a mile from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, and then another half mile to the Lincoln Memorial. That’s a lot of walking, and please believe you can’t drive it — you’ll end up parking a mile away anyway. Bikeshare is the perfect way to get around the Mall, and with daily memberships of just $5, it’s tailor-made for tourists.

Luckily, the Park Service seems to be coming to its senses. A spokeswoman for the National Mall and Memorials Park branch of the National Park Service was quoted in the Washington Post acknowledging that the question is no longer “if” but “how and when” the iconic red bikes will appear. “There are still a number of issues we need to work out, but we are hoping we can resolve those issues so we can start it up early next year,” said spokeswoman Carol Johnson. “Earlier, we were looking at whether they can get on the Mall, but now we are looking for a way to get them on the Mall.”

According to the Post, the only bike-share station currently located on Park Service property is on the grounds of the White House, accessible only to its staff.

  • This is good news indeed!  There’s so much to see in Washington but the distances involved making biking far preferable to walking. A bike ride from the Capitol Building, down the Mall, around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial would be glorious.  Will that be possible? And a bike ride at night with the lit-up monuments would also be fabulous. The big issue may be creating bikeways on the Mall separate from pedestrian-ways so as to keep bike-ped conflict to a minimum. Or are bikes expected to ride on the streets with cars? (Are there bike lanes on streets adjacent to/through the Mall? What routes do bicyclists normally take? Haven’t been to DC in a while.)

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