Can Capital Bikeshare get up and running in time for Metro shutdown?

(Photo by M. V. Jantzen)
I recently sent this note to the contact person at DDOT working on the new Capital Bikeshare system.

Just in case you were not aware, Metro is planning major maintenance and a huge shutdown on the Orange & Blue lines for Columbus Day weekend.
Farragut West, McPherson & Metro Center will be closed (Red line in Metro Center will be open, though). People will be shuttled from Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle.

This is an enormous opportunity to show the value of Capital Bikeshare.  All those Orange & Blue Line riders who deboard at Foggy Bottom or Federal Triangle are going to be trying to get somewhere from there. Also Red line riders downtown wanting to transfer. Waiting for the shuttles is going to be a nightmare I'm certain. As you deploy the new stations, it would be really smart to focus on those that serve the affected areas before Columbus Day weekend (which is 11 days away). Think of the awesome marketing when your members deboard at Foggy Bottom, hop on a bike and happily ride off while everyone else stands in an enormous crowd of people trying to shove onto a line of buses. PR and media dream, too.  Don't miss this chance of a lifetime.   Perform well and you will gain hundreds of members just by being in the right place at the right time.

If I were you, I would totally focus on these stations for the next week:
  • South of Massachusetts
  • West of 6th St. NW
  • North of Constitution
  • East of New Hampshire/24th St.
I count 17 stations in that area, but almost none are up and running except around GW.  At the very least you will want to have the metro stations covered along with the station at RRB not far from Federal Triangle.  Better would be to have all 17 in full service.

I'd like to post something on Greater Greater Washington and CommuterPage about how CaBi is the solution to the shutdown, so if you can let me know which stations will be in service before October 8, that will help a lot.  I hope it's all of them.
Good luck,

Monday What's on the Web: Street Films

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.

Street Films is an awesome site filled with hundreds of videos related to the urban form--particularly transportation.  Based in New York, many of the films feature New York City, but one can find interesting perspectives from around the world.

They categorize their content under these topics:
One of my favorites, which injects a good deal of humor and satire, is this one:

Capital Bikeshare launch - Some photos

Yesterday's launch of Capital Bikeshare was a great success, underscored by perfect weather: cool temperatures and blue skies.  I rode with a caravan of riders who delivered bikes to the Crystal City bikesharing stations.  Here are a few photos from the event:

Station at 15th and Crystal Drive before it is populated with bikes
The brand new bikes all lined up on Tingey Plaza
DDOT chief Gabe Klein (at mic), Arlington County Board Chair, Jay Fisette (in black shirt) and Mayor Adrian Fenty (right) at the launch event
All the riders saddling up for the inaugural ride

Riding along the Southwest waterfront in DC
Our caravan of riders turning onto the 14th Street Bridge access ramp
The Crystal City station now populated with bikes thanks to these riders

Monday What's on the Web: The Story of Stuff

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.

If you have never seen Annie Leonard's video about the environmental costs of consumerism, then please watch it right now.  It's an entertaining but also sobering look at how our current economic system is zooming us along a pathway to certain environmental catastrophe.  As though climate change isn't enough on its own!

There are several videos on the Story of Stuff Project web site.   I'm good with three of them, but I disagree with many of the points in the Cap and Trade one.  So watch the other three.

Reports on Costs of Dulles Stop on Silver Line are Absurd

Today's Washington Post reported that the estimated costs for Phase 2 of the Silver Line are much higher than originally estimated.  The part of those estimates associated with the Dulles station, $640 million higher to place it immediately adjacent to the terminal, must be highly inflated.

The original costs of Phase 2 were in the $2.5 - $3 billion range.  The new estimates add about $600 million. Keep in mind that these are preliminary engineering studies and are thus subject to significant revision.

Specifically, though, this article reports that the costs associated with the Dulles stop would be $640 million lower by putting the stop 600 feet away rather than immediately in front of the terminal as originally planned.
This is a recent issue, and here are two recent GGW posts that deal with this:
The $640 million cost associated with this is totally absurd.  That is more than the Woodrow Wilson Bridge cost, which is two superstructures across a major river over a mile long.  Give me a break.  It will not cost $1,000,000 per foot.  The reason this cost estimate is so high is because the people doing the estimates are being constrained and not allowed to think outside the box.  I am way out of my league here, since I am no engineeer.  But I suspect that the costs are being driven by the assumption that the rail line and station need to be shoehorned in without making any changes to the existing access to Dulles by cars. 

However, if one were to instead look at the situation as a clean slate and redesign access for all modes as part of the project, it would have to cost way less than that.  I imagine one could demolish the entire infrastructure in front of the terminal and completely rebuild it for less than $640 million.  What is needed is vision.  Ask the simpler question, "How could easy and optimal access for the rail line and cars be accomplished most effectively given the existing space?"  If it's cheaper to tear out some of the roads and then put them back somewhere else than to try to dig a tunnel for the train, then do that instead.  There has to be creative solutions that will put the terminal where it belongs--inside--for a lot, lot less than $640 million.

Regardless, I stand by my comment I posted to GGW back on August 13:
"I cannot imagine an airport siting its automobile passenger drop-off 600 feet from the terminal entrance. It's the accumulation of these little "compromises" that eventually add up to a system that is inconvenient, as Reza rants about above. Where do we stop? If 600 feet is no big deal, then what about 700? or 800? The mindset is just wrong.
"It's no different than making 10-minute headways into 14-minute headways on a train line (average waiting time goes up 2 minutes). Hey, it saves some money and is only a *minor* inconvenience, why not? Well, if it's already 14 minutes, then make it a round 15 for simplicity's sake. And you know the rest.
"Design and architecture send signals. The signal being sent by this design will be--for the decades it is in existence--that Metro is the second-class mode people ought to use to travel to the airport. On the other hand, imagine that the station for the Silver Line were actually MORE convenient than being dropped at the curb. Imagine that! A station located and designed so that every airport user says, 'Wow! Look how convenient and cool that is.' As it is with this new proposal, it will be essentially completely out of sight, and many people probably won't even know it exists. Then what signal is being sent? That, in my opinion, is the much bigger value."

Meet the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee (and Me) Next Monday

OnCapitol-city-1[1] Monday, September 20, members of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee will be gathering at Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington.  This is not a formal meeting; it's a social gathering.  All are welcome.  We will be arriving about 7:00 PM.  There is no scheduled end time, but presumably we will all leave at some point later that night.

Anyone with interest in cycling in Arlington is welcome and encouraged to join us to talk about whatever comes to mind.  It doesn't even have to be about cycling.

There's no particular reserved place in the restaurant.  Just come in and look for a group of ordinary looking Arlingtonians who appear to be very knowledgeable about bikes (I'm not sure what that means).  Or look for the table that has some bike maps and other literature on it.

Location and venue info is here -   Bike parking is plentiful in the area.

Monday What's on the Web: The Washcycle

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.
The WashCycle is DC's most well-known blog specifically dedicated to bicycling in the region.  It takes a very partisan view (of which I am pretty much on board with) that cyclists and cycling could benefit from much more support from all angles: funding, government, business, media, etc.

It covers the news related to cycling as well as issues.  Most posts get from a few to numerous comments--primarily from the bicycling community.  It's very worthwhile to follow if you are a resident of the DC area and cycle even just occasionally.  Also, if you are interested in transportation issues in general and how cycling fits in with them. . .and how the cycling community views these issues.

Recent posts include:

15th Street Expansion and redesign

Are shower requirements like minimum parking requirements

More on trail crossings of roads



Deutsche Bank Crushes Skeptic Arguments

Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors issued the report, Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments.  In it, they deconstruct the main arguments skeptics have been using over the last decade to resist the need for stronger action on climate change.  Climate Progress also has a good post on this paper.

The last paragraph of the Executive Summary reads:
Simply put, the science shows us that climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases is a serious problem.  Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years.  Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking. (emphasis added)

It deals with each of these skeptic arguments and finds all of them lacking:
  • The climate has not warmed since 1998
  • It's all a hoax
  • Climate models are defective
  • The signature of greenhouse gases causing warming is missing in the atmosphere
  • The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than now
  • GHG increases lag temperature increases, they don't cause them
  • It's the sun
  • Water vapor is way, way more important than CO2
  • The sensitivity in the models is wrong
  • Increased CO2 is actually good
  • We've adapted before, so we can again
Although the paper is long, the Executive Summary is not too long.  I strongly recommend it.

Monday What's on the Web: Next American City

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.
Next American City is a quarterly magazine focusing on how to improve cities.  It also maintains an impressive web site that includes columns, posts and lots of other information on many topics related to improving cities.  The five key topic areas with links on the top page are: Infratructure, Governance, Culture, Economy and Built Environment.  They maintain a monthly podcast called Metro Matters.  People interested in cities, how they function and where they are going will find a lot to keep their interest here.
Recent and interesting columns include:

If Transit Investment Produces Jobs, Why Isn’t There More of It?

Knoxville’s Market Square Shows Pedestrian-Only Spaces Can Work, Too

Smart Stimulus Spending: HUD’s Green Retrofit Program