Capital Bikeshare installed a new docking station in Burleith at the beginning of January, expanding transportation options within the neighborhood.
Capital Bikeshare, Washington, D.C.’s citywide bikeshare and rental transportation service, announced the new station in a Jan. 2 tweet. The station docks 19 bikes and is located on 38th Street and Reservoir Road across the street from the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
The station sits directly next to a stop for the D6 bus service, which runs from upper Northwest D.C. to the Capitol Building. The station’s strategic location will improve commuter access to the city, according to Advisory Neighborhood 2E Commissioner Kishan Putta.
“People can take the bus there, and then get on a bike, and go into the neighborhood or vice versa; they can go from the neighborhood to the bus stop and then they can get on the bus,” Putta said in an interview with The Hoya. “You get these connections that never existed before. That’s really nice and working out well.”
The ANC has been focused on providing input to the District Department of Transportation on the docking station’s location and addressing concerns from residents, according to ANC 2E Commissioner Matias Burdman (COL ’21). (Full disclosure: Burdman previously served on the editorial board of The Hoya.)
“We had been in contact with DDOT regarding the installation of the new Capital Bikeshare station at 38th and Reservoir Road since its conception,” Burdman wrote in an email to The Hoya. “There were some concerns regarding its exact location due to the impact it could have on vehicular traffic (especially during routine maintenance) and on accessibility.”
In 2017, over 100 Burleith residents signed a petition sent to DDOT requesting a Capital Bikeshare station in Burleith, according to a May 2019 ANC resolution detailing the proposed Burleith Capital Bikeshare Station. In 2018, Burleith residents answered a transportation survey distributed by the Burleith Citizens Association and indicated strong support for a bikeshare station in Burleith.
In late 2018, DDOT and the ANC worked to propose a location for the docking station on the 1600 block of 36th Street NW, according to the May 2019 resolution. Following concerns about accessibility, however, DDOT changed the station’s planned location to the northwest corner of 38th Street and Reservoir Road.
Georgetown students are eligible for a discounted annual bike membership of $25, in partnership with Capital Bikeshare Universities Program, according to a Nov. 18 schoolwide email from Ben Kuo, vice president of the Office of Planning and Facilities Management.
“As a designated Bicycle Friendly University, Georgetown University is excited for our students to have access to the discounted membership,” Kuo wrote. “We hope you will take advantage of the membership to commute and explore the city on two wheels.”
The station will be beneficial for students, providing a cheaper transportation alternative in an underserved area, according to Burdman.
“Capital Bikeshare stations, coupled with bike friendly infrastructure such as bike lanes, give students the means to get around the city cheaply and efficiently,” Burdman wrote. “The addition of the new station is especially relevant since students now have the option to purchase a new yearly membership—available exclusively to them—for only $25 dollars. This should help students bike to places that are otherwise inadequately served by public transportation.”
As of August 2019, D.C. was ranked as the U.S. city with the third-highest level of traffic congestion, following only Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland region, according to a report released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
In order to bring down congestion levels, which plays a role in the city’s impact on the climate, residents must be able to take advantage of city transportation, according to Putta.
“We need to be giving people many more incentives to not drive,” Putta said. “Our city’s congestion is only going to get worse if we do not. We have to think boldly and act boldly in this climate crisis. We all have to do our part and public transportation is a great way to do that.”
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s December draft budget report for the 2021 fiscal year proposed the cancellation of bus routes that service the Georgetown, Burleith and Glover Park neighborhoods.
Considering these neighborhoods’ lack of access to Metro stations, coupled with the possible elimination of essential bus routes, the new Capital Bikeshare Station, while important, is not a complete solution, according to Putta.
“It is a welcome addition to have that bikeshare option because whatever happens with the buses, at least you would have the option of biking down to Georgetown and connecting to other buses or biking to Dupont Circle,” Putta said. “But nobody should say that that means we should reduce bus services. That’s absolutely not true.”