Want a Bikeshare in Reston? Talk About It Jan. 29

Capital Bikeshare, Pentagon City, Arlington/Credit: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Creative CommonsReston-area bike advocates are looking towards a bikeshare system in Reston, and now they are ready for community input on the topic.

There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at Lake Anne Elementary School. Meeting topics will include an overview of the bicycle sharing program, bicycle operations, infrastructure needs, and bicycle station locations.

A bikeshare in Reston would be the first system in Fairfax County. Biking advocates — as well as Fairfax County officials — say Reston’s existing system of trails and its future as a transit-oriented development makes it an excellent place to test such a program. Arlington and Montgomery County are among other suburban areas with bikeshares.

In December, about 25 stakeholders representing Reston, Fairfax County, developers, bike advocacy groups, Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Plaza met with representatives from Alta Planning & Design, the firm that developed Capital Bikeshare.

The meeting was the beginning of a feasibility study for a Reston bikeshare program. Last spring, Fairfax County applied for and received study funds from Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Transportation/Land Use Connections (TLC) Technical Assistance Program.

Meanwhile, Bixi, the company that manufactures bikeshare bikes for more than a dozen cities, including Washington, DC, announced this week that it has filed for bankruptcy. That could lead to delays in procuring bikes in many programs.

The grant will look at creative ways bikesharing can work in Reston. In its grant application, the county said Reston would be an ideal test case for a Fairfax County bikeshare:

“Reston area has the highest concentration of active bicyclists in the County, there is an emerging bike culture forming.  Reston embraced our first two road-diet projects which included bike lanes, and there is strong corporate and residential support to initiate bike sharing in Reston. Furthermore, the findings developed from conducting this study can assist other areas of the region in making sound decisions regarding bike sharing.”

Bruce Wright, Reston resident and chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Biking, says he envisions a bikeshare working here with stations at the Metro Silver Line stations at Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway, at Reston Town Center and the village centers. Also necessary, to get major employers such as Oracle, United States Geological Survey and others on board to incentive employees using bikeshare in Reston, he said.

The involvement of developers as Reston expands commercially and residentially is also key. Wright said Republic Land Development, which has been awarded the redevelopment of Crescent Apartments and the Lake Anne area, has offered recreational proffers for two bikeshare stations, which would cost $50,000-$70,000 each. Each bike station would house about 20 bikes, said Wright.

“[Bikeshare] is a crucial element in making Reston more transit-oriented and more urban,” says Wright. “If people decided to do it, pretty well situated in Reston to putting in bikeshare and making it easier for everyone.  I think it is key going to be be huge in changing people’s minds about biking.”

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