Yes, replacing street car parking with bike parking is a good idea.

Over the last week there has been a small controversy regarding the expansion of Capital Bikeshare into Arlington County, VA.  In particular the Arlington County GOP has complained that as many as eight metered parking spaces have been replaced with CaBi stations.

This is virtually a non-issue.  Prior to this, 100% of street parking in Arlington was for cars; now it's maybe 98-99%.  That still seems remarkably unbalanced toward automobiles.  Watch this video (yours truly appears near the beginning).

The contention that replacing these parking spots with bikeshare parking costs the county money and is a bad idea is wrong in so many ways.

First, the only way it costs the county money is if EVERY SINGLE spot within blocks is completely parked up.  That's because someone seeking street parking (like the woman in the video) will likely find another spot and pay there, albeit may be less conveniently located.

Second, these spaces will get utilized much more than a car parking spot.  If even 2-3 people use the bikeshare station over a two-hour period, that's likely more people than would have used the metered spot it replaced anyway.

Third, it's good for business.  As this recent economic article clarifies, the use of public space for bike parking is far more cost effective than for car parking.

Last (for now), it actually can make it more convenient, even for car drivers.  As I point out in the video, I parked my car near a CaBi station with plenty of street parking adjacent to it and then took the CaBi bike the 5-6 blocks to where I needed to meet my friend.  This undoubtedly was quicker and easier than trying to find a spot (whether or not any had been given to bikes) near the intersection of Moore and Wilson in Rosslyn.  I would have almost certainly circled the block at least once and, if I had found a spot, it would have been not that close to where I was trying to go--forcing me to walk several blocks anyway.  What I did was much faster and more convenient.

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