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Dear PoP – Shouldn’t SmartBike Expand to more Neighborhoods?

by Prince Of Petworth May 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm 17 Comments

“Dear PoP,

I’ve always thought it would make sense for Smartbike to have stations at some farther locations in DC. I mean, isn’t the point to cut down on traffic? If so, they’re not going to do the trick by only offering bikes in such a small radius! Any way to start a community petition (on your website ;-) to get a bank of bikes in Petworth?”

You are in luck – DDOT just released a press release this morning (Bike to work day and all) announcing Bike Sharing’s expansion. I know Columbia Heights is slated to get some but I’m not sure about Petworth. If folks want Petworth to get a spot as well be sure to leave that sentiment in the comments and I’ll be sure to forward to DDOT.

Here’s the press release:

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and District Department of Transportation Director (DDOT) Gabe Klein today announced a joint effort to expand bike sharing tenfold in the Washington area. Both Arlington and the District have each signed contracts for what will become a regional bike sharing system later this year.

“We are extremely excited to lead the nation once again in bike sharing,” said Mayor Fenty. “The response to the bike sharing program has been unprecedented and we are pleased to be able to join with Arlington in our expansion efforts.”

This expanded, regional system follows the success of SmartBikeDC, launched in 2008. The new system will launch later this year with roughly 1100 bikes at 114 stations and will be largest of its kind in the U.S.

Continues after the jump including a naming contest for the new system at the bottom of press release.

“It will be terrific for residents and visitors to be able to pick up a bike in DC and drop it off in Arlington, and vice versa,” commented Chairman Fisette. “This new system will connect with our existing transit network, and provide even more options for people to get around. This is a wonderful example of regional cooperation.”

“The District continues to move forward with our initiatives to provide a more balanced approach to transportation,” said DDOT Director Klein. “Biking provides a healthy and efficient way to get around town and with the installation of this new system almost anyone who can ride a bike will enjoy the benefits.”

The new system will be similar to the one the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), based in Montreal, produced, commonly known as BIXI. The BIXI system has been running in Montreal since 2009 and will be arriving soon in Minneapolis, London, and Melbourne, Australia. BIXI bike sharing stations are solar powered and use wireless technology to allow for easy installation and adjustments. It may look different, but the BIXI bicycle has many of the same features as the Smartbike: 3-speed, internal hub gears, fenders, chain guard, lights, and a front rack. Annual, monthly, and daily memberships will be available for area residents and visitors.

Alta Bicycle Share will operate the system. Alta Bicycle Share is a US-based company focused on management and operation of bicycle share systems globally. Its sister company, Alta Planning + Design, is the largest bicycle and pedestrian consulting company in the United States. Alta Bicycle Share is implementing or consulting on similar programs in Australia, Europe, China, and other locations in the United States.

Name that bike

The District and Arlington County are also asking the public to get involved by participating in a survey to help pick the name of the new bike sharing system. Go to www.goDCgo.com to vote for your favorite name or to suggest a new one. Everyone gets only one vote but you should vote quickly. The voting will only be open for a limited time and all votes must be submitted by 5 p.m. on June 4, 2010.

Visit the following websites for more information on the partners and their bike programs or products mentioned in this release:

DDOT www.ddot.dc.gov

BikeArlington www.bikearlington.com

Public Bike Share Company – BIXI System www.bixisystem.com

Alta Bicycle Share Company www.altabicycleshare.com

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