News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bikeshare: Where the Bikes Aren't

Bikeshare map

With Reston now slated to get its bikeshare stations by late 2016 or early 2017, we've gotten our first glimpse at what is likely to transform our midrise suburban community into something like Sweden, only with more midscale chain dining options that don't offer lutefisk. V. v. exciting! (The bikes. Not the lutefisk.)

But we digress. Right now, it looks like the loaner bikes will only ply their way between Reston's gritty urban core and the Metro station. It's not too much of a leap to imagine that during peak times cyclists will be able to get between those two points faster than in a car, even with a pitstop for some felt swatches and potpourri at Michaels (bikeshare station #2).

Of course, there's a teensy five-lane problem with this plan, and its name is Sunset Hills. People will need to bike it, or at least cross it to get to the W&OD trail. But maybe that won't be so bad. Just check out this photo:

Screen Shot 2015 11 17 at 10 37 24 AM  2

Which, judging by the position of the sun, was taken very very early in the morning. On a Sunday. On a leap year. Actual road conditions may vary.

But county officials have, as they say in the movies, A Plan. Give us some sweeeet blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:

Fairfax County plans additional bike improvements (lanes, signage) countywide, as well as an awareness and safety campaign prior to the system opening.
We're still waiting on a W&OD bridge over Wiehle Avenue, but a few helpful signs will be good too!

And, of course, there's the question of why there are no bikeshare stations planned for Less Sought After South Reston. (There also aren't any in the works for fancypants North Reston, but that's because you're required to be riding this bike -- or better -- if you venture north of Baron Cameron.) Here's the official explanation for snubbing South Reston, courtesy of Reston Now:

The county looked into stations at various office buildings in south Reston, but decided the locations would throw off the balance of bikes throughout the day.

“People would ride to work on the south side and there would not be any constant flow,” he said. “Bikes would just sit by the workplaces all day.”

But from the same article, we also have this:
The design will not have to go through Reston Association’s Design Review Board as no stations are on RA land.
Hmmm.

Still, this is all very exciting. Our only request is they consider opening a bikeshare station at the Tall Oaks Stucco Wasteland Village Center while there's still time (and space) to do this:

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for pointing out that this network is designed only to service white-collar people arriving at Wiehle metro and transiting to workplaces in RTC. As a south Reston resident, I find it appalling there is not one bike station here despite significantly higher population density and notably lower income levels suggesting that rental bikes would be a cost-effective option. The "equity" map on page 33 in the Reston bikeshare study shows a broad swath of red (the people who would benefit the most from bike share access) south of the toll road, vs none between Wiehle and RTC: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/pdf/bike/reston_bikeshare_study.pdf

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    1. bike share is a 'last mile' solution. There aren't enough people in south Reston to make it work yet. The only really viable place where people might come and go from the Wiehle station is South Lakes Village Center, but the hilly path is a deterrent, as are the speeds on Sunrise Valley. I'm a southsider and a cyclist myself, and believe me, if there was a way to justify putting one over here, I'd be an advocate for it. The only possible place I can see one is at the corner of Soapstone & Sunrise Valley in that strip center but it would have to draw from the nearby neighborhoods and I just don't see that happening. Yet.

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  2. Just wondering why Fairfax County is so hot to put in Metro-oriented bikeshare 3 years before Metro arrives at Reston Town Center.

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  3. I'm A Road Runner, HoneyNovember 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    Personally, I am glad that south Reston does not have a Bikeshare bike kiosk scheduled. The bikes themselves are clunky, heavy and clumsy. Better off for one to have one's own bicycle for getting around. Just look out for the kamikaze drivers at rush hour which can be found almost everywhere in Reston! Major conflicts and bone crunching accidents are bound to happen between cyclists and drivers, even if there are dedicated bike lanes.

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  4. Wednesdays I bike from South Reston to the farm market in Wiehle Metro. Both Sunrise Valley and Wiehle are "adventure" crossings. I have a zippy bike. Wouldn't care to try it on a Bikeshare.

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  5. Biking in these dark areas without street lighting is a hazard at best especially during the winter months.

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