Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Yes, really: NPS proposes five Capital Bikeshare stations on the National Mall

November 22, 2011 - 12:38 PM
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Here comes bikeshare. (Photo: NPS)

The National Park Service is a puzzling entity. One day, they'll seemingly let you down for no communication or follow-up regarding a bicycle hit-and-run on the GW Parkway. The next, NPS invites public comment on the five proposed Capital Bikeshare stations for the National Mall. Yes, really.

NPS had initially rejected the notion that Capital Bikeshare could come to the Mall earlier this year. The park service controls the land and didn't think bikeshare stations would be proper. But now NPS is presenting an aerial map of proposed locations, with specific dimensions and plans, and has opened a public comment period from today, November 22, to December 28. Submit your own comment for the proposal here.

The proposed locations were picked "based on their proximity to visitor destinations, access to compatible modes of transportation such as Metro and bike paths, and connectivity to other Capital Bikeshare stations. They are located in the vicinity of 'Visitor Transportation Stops' as shown on the Circulation Map for the Preferred Alternative in the National Mall Plan." Sounds good and fine. Bikeshare strikes me as a perfect way to navigate the monuments of the National Mall, particularly in warmer weather. The Mall stretches great lengths but a wealth of cultural treasures is packed relatively close. It's walkable but tiring and time-consuming, hence the rise of pedicabs and other ways to quickly move people from one spot of the Mall to another. Not far enough for car or Metro ride but not always close enough to easily walk? Biking may be the answer. Capital Bikeshare has already begun targeting tourists by partnering with hotels. Bikeshare stations make more sense on the Mall, perhaps, than anywhere else.

NPS had announced an openness to Capital Bikeshare in recent months, and it's wonderful to see follow-up as the organization's National Mall plans move forward. Here's the five spots the NPS imagines right now:

(1) Smithsonian Metro Station entrance area on National Mall
Location: West of the existing information kiosk on Jefferson Drive, in the gravel area, adjacent to paved sidewalk.
Size: Single load station - 60' long x 6' wide

(2) Lincoln Memorial area
Location: On Lincoln Memorial Circle between 23rd and Daniel French Drive at the former interpretive transportation kiosk area.
Size: Double load station – 32' long x 15' wide

(3) Jefferson Memorial area
Location: South of East Basin Drive from the bus pull-off between the curb and existing sidewalk, west of crosswalk intersection.
Size: Single loaded station - 60' long x 6' wide

(4) Washington Monument area
Location: Jefferson Drive between 14th and 15th streets at the bus pull-off along the sidewalk east of kiosk.
Size: Single loaded station - 60' long x 6' wide

(5) FDR/MLK Memorial area
Location: Ohio Drive at West Basin Drive, at the bus pull-off, on the sidewalk west of existing kiosk and water fountain.
Size: Single loaded station - 50' long x 6' wide

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