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Fairfax County Approves Reston Bikeshare; Adds Tysons Plan

by Karen Goff January 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm 33 Comments

Reston bikeshare stations/Credit: Fairfax County

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a $1.7 million plan to bring a bikeshare network to Reston and Tysons.

The approval, at the supervisors’ regular meeting on Tuesday, was the final step in getting financing in place for the project, which could be operational by late 2016.

In October, the supervisors OKed the county’s application for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s FY 2017 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant Application. The grant will give the bike program $400,000 as seed money for bike share program. The money will go to pay for needed equipment such as bicycles and station hardware.

Sharon Bulova, chair of the Board of Supervisors says the county’s investment will help get cars off the road, boost local economy and contribute to a healthier community.

“With the transformation of Reston and Tysons into more urban centers, Fairfax County is investing in infrastructure needed to make it easy to get around.” Bulova said. “More people are living and working in these areas than ever before. ‘Downtown’ areas by definition are not designed to accommodate high volumes of car traffic and parking. Creating the right atmosphere that encourages walking and biking is important for these areas to continue to be attractive and highly sought after by residents and businesses alike.”

The county plans to use Capital Bikeshare, which is in place in Arlington and D.C. for the system. While it has been discussing a Reston system since early 2014, the county now says it is adding Tysons to the initial project. There had been talk of adding Tysons service in the future.

From the county:

There will be 132 bicycles available in Reston at 15 stations located between the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station and Reston Town Center; and 80 bicycles available in Tysons at 11 stations located east of Route 7, north of Route 123, and south of the Dulles Toll Road.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is working to identify and refine the exact locations for the stations in Reston and Tysons, and will be moving forward with the equipment purchase for the program. The first phase of the system is expected to open in the fall of 2016.

The Board’s action comes after the approval of 31 pedestrian and bicycle projects in Herndon and Reston in December.

County Bicycle Program Coordinator Adam Lind said in October the project is still seeking local funding, as well as sponsorships, as the total estimated cost of system is close to $800,000.

Lind said the county is in the process of land acquisition, completing the design plan, and finalizing funding. Different sites have different challenges, such as whether they are on private property (i.e., Reston Town Center, Reston Hospital) or public land, and whether there is already a hard surface in place or one needs to be constructed.

In 2014, a transportation and land use grant from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) showed a bikeshare for Fairfax County would be feasible in Reston.

However, in the summer of 2015, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with Fairfax County, and with the support of the Tysons Partnership, implemented several miles of bike lanes in Tysons.

This new infrastructure sparked the idea that a bikeshare system could succeed in Tysons, as well as in Reston, said a county release. The Tysons Partnership approached FCDOT with a proposal to bring bikeshare to Tysons, and to make a financial contribution to the initial capital cost, as well as operating costs.

Graphic: Tentative bikeshare stations in Reston/Credit: Fairfax County

  • TheRealODB

    The whole bikeshare concept is ridiculous for Reston. 10 of the 13 sites are in the town center, for god’s sake. What a complete waste of $800k. Soon those bikes will all be littering the paths of Hunter’s Woods.

    • Matt

      For every bikeshare program implemented around the country, there’s someone who says “what a ridiculous concept”. Then, with two years, the program is up and running smoothly, reducing traffic, and improving lives.

      I can’t wait to see some red bikes out on the road in Reston- it’s what Reston was designed for!

      • TheRealODB

        Imagine no possessions
        I wonder if you can
        No need for greed or hunger
        A brotherhood of man
        Imagine all the people
        Sharing all the world…

        • Matt

          Deep in the hundred acre woods,
          Where Christopher Robin plays,
          You’ll find an enchanted neighborhood
          From Christopher’s childhood days

          • TheRealODB

            You’re making my point for me.

          • Matt

            I’m not sure we’re involved in the same conversation.

          • TheRealODB

            From your comment track record, its very clear you’re pro bikeshare. I’d say a little obsessed, actually. A “fan-boy”, perhaps. Doesnt mean it’s right for Reston. Reston isnt DC, Baltimore, Alexandria or Arlington, you know, a high-density urban area. THERE IS NO WHERE TO RIDE THE BIKES TO. You have RTC and the Metro (and there are buses in between for now, and soon will be ANOTHER metro station). No one needs to rent a bike from one side of RTC to the other. The concept is a silly liberal fantasy, illustrated by my John Lennon (and your Winnie the Pooh) allusions. This is a waste of money, and a failure of leadership. But, I hope it helps your “feels”.

          • Matt

            No secrets. I’m an advocate for bikeshare. A fan-boy? No.

            I’m a fan-boy of data and proven results. I’m fortunate enough to work in the transportation industry and have seen first hand- in cities and small towns and universities and individual business campuses- how bikeshare works. .

            Bikeshare isn’t just for gettin ayou to your local ice cream parlor. It’s for filling the gap known as “the last mile”. Connecting you to other transit options. It’s a mode of transportation, not just a leisure activity. And it works- over, and over, and over again.

            Bikeshare is a catalyst for improved infrastructure and increases the awareness of bikes on the road. And the amount spent on bikeshare is roughly 1% of what is spent on roads every year.

            But please, continue to preach your opinions which are based on absolutely nothing at all!

      • Mike M

        Google pedestrian strike Reston.

        • Matt

          Hey Mike. Bikeshare statistically lowers cycle accidents in every city where a program is implemented. The reason behind that is the increased bikes on the road lead to a much higher awareness by drivers, coupled with the fact that bikeshare acts as a catalyst for improved walking and biking infrastructure.

          More so, a quick google search about car-related deaths will yield a much higher response. If we’re going to discuss deaths in America, then we really should be comparing apples to apples.

          • Mike M

            So, having more bikes on the road in an area where more than a few bike riders have been hit by cars in the past two years will lower the collision rate? Sorry, that fails the sniff test. This isn’t a city, despite the fantasy that some have about Reston. It is highly auto-centric suburbia. By the way, why don’t you buy your own bike. The thing about leftists is they pretty much assume the government should provide everything. I don’t agree with that either.

          • Matt

            It doesn’t fail the “sniff test”. It has passed that test repeatedly. But it’s not worth anyone’s time to argue with the opinions of someone which are based on absolutely nothing, when literally all of the hard data out there says otherwise.

            If you want to get educated, get educated. Because you’re wrong. If you just want to post on comment boards without doing any research and in turn continue to talk about things inaccurately, I suppose that’s just your choice.

          • Mike M

            I’m wrong because you say so? Clearly you want bikes, and sharing, and utopia. Best of luck with that. I guess I am a mean-spirited non-believer if I don’t see things your hispter/metrosexual way. What you want will clearly shape your interpretation and liberal application of “hard data.” Those others cities were cities. Reston is not. So your science is a little short. But thanks for the “education.” PS: As a highly educated guy with lots of life experience, I am never lost on the informative value of taking a good look around from the ground. It can be far more informative than “hard data. “

          • Chuck Morningwood

            First, if you look at the locations of the stands, it’s clear that BikeShare is geared towards commuters, not Restonians. The bulk of the bike traffic will be going from the Metro to RTC and back. Nobody will be renting a bike to go to Lake Anne or Hunter Woods because there are no stands there.

            With that said, most of the traffic will be off of the roads. Instead, the most likely route of travel will be along the W&OD. During rush hours on the nice weather days, that strip of the W&OD between Wiehle and Reston Parkway is going to have more Red on it than a frigging Communist Solidarity Parade.

            So, RODBs common is correct. Few if any will use BikeShare to shuttle around RTC. But once you rent a bike, there’s no place ECONOMICALLY to go but to either RTC or Wiehle…

            …or maybe Plaza America for the .Wings at the new Hooters in the old Chaamps restaurant spot.

          • TheRealODB

            My brother!

      • NormVA

        Matt, you are are right on. I have seen BikeShare in Washington, DC, NY and CA and all are great successes. Biking leads to a healthier lifestyle, improves the environment and reduces traffic congestion.

        Reston Now seems to draw a lot of negative thinker — at least the people who consistently comment. The people who have done the research and studied the facts conclude that BikeShare will be a positive for Reston.

        • Mike M

          I ride my bike. Why can’t everyone be just like me?

      • Nyla J.

        The design may be there but education for motorists on right of way, crosswalks, etc. is not. Just a bunch of idiots behind the wheel texting, eating and not paying any attention.

  • Nyla J.

    It’s delusional to think that Reston is a bike and pedestrian friendly community.

    • Matt

      Nyla you’re constantly bashing on Reston for this. No place, literally not place, was perfect on day one. The problem with negativity like yours, is you either assume there’s no chance to improve it, or you don’t care to. Either way, there obviously isn’t going to be any way to appease you.

      These changes are for the naysayers. In 20 years, without changes like these that are helping to shift Reston into a very bike and walk friendly community, you’re going to have another Tysons. You may not be able to picture it or believe it, but that’s what Reston would be headed towards if not for forward thinking people who are being proactive instead of reactive as is the case with Tysons.

      I walk and bike in Tysons all the time by the way, as do many other people.

      • Mike M

        Matt, you are on point. We are headed toward being another Tysons. We are moving like a steam train and picking up speed. We can agree on that and that it is not desirable. We disagree that this sort of change will make a dang bit of difference. My point is this: Imagine bikeshare in Tysons! Not a good match. Other more fundamental changes are needed.

        • zstewart

          Bikeshare is coming to Tysons. As new development happens in Tysons a new street grid is going to form which should make biking around Tysons much easier than it is now.

          It will take years for it to reach critical mass, however.

    • Don’tBeAHater

      It won’t be if we don’t start– for goodness sake, give it a chance!

    • bike rider

      Have you never been on the miles and miles and miles of bike paths then?

      • Nyla J.

        There’s a difference between “there’s a path I can ride a bike on” and a bike-friendly community.

  • cRAzy

    So, let me get this right: That’s 132 bicycles to accommodate 60,000 jobs now and another 50,000 in the plan, plus thousands of current and future residents. And all those crazy town center shoppers too!

    That’ll really solve the transportation problem.

    • Mike M

      You need a shot of the kool-aid, quick!

    • zstewart

      While 132 bikes will certainly not cover all those users, it will cover more than you think. Part of the benefit of bikeshare is the same bike can be used by multiple people for different trips. One person might ride from the Town Center to the Metro, only to have another person ride the same bike back to the Town Center. All of these trips would be trips not taken in a car.

      Even just a small reduction of just a few percentage points in traffic volume can make a big difference in terms of congestion.

  • Guest

    Think of this as a long-term proposition. Today, Rideshare service will be limited to the locations shown, but tomorrow, this small start should be expanded, along with more bike trails and pedestrian facilities everywhere in Reston. Then again, I am opposed to the public subsidy of providing the bikes themselves. This should be a short term subsidy, and ppl should rely upon their own bikes.

  • Wings!!

    Reston may not be a bike friendly community, but it sure could be a Hooters friendly community!!


  • Matt

    First, bikeshare has worked in cities, towns, universities, individual businesses of all sizes. Reston is no different. I reference Chicago or New York because they have recognizable programs like Capital Bikeshare- but there are over 550 bikeshare systems operating in the US alone. They work.

    I didn’t choose to like bikeshare. I was a skeptic and openly critical of the concept several years ago. I’m not forcing my hopes and wants into the data that exists. The data exists and it shapes my thoughts on the subject matter. If I was continuously reading reports of failed bikeshare systems or areas made worse by bikeshare, I’d have a different opinion. That’s not the case, because bikeshare works.

    It is NOT a quick fix. Bikeshare is one of many components that need to take place- requirements for developers to contribute to a grid of streets, updated infrastructure, better access to bus and metro stations, increased vanpool/carpool options, employer transit benefits, proper education, and the list goes on. By giving people education, and improved options to use other forms of transportation, traffic decreases. You can’t see that kind of trend by looking “around on the ground”. It’s a process and it takes time and it won’t happen over night. Bikeshare is one piece of a larger plan.

    This much I can guarantee you- without efforts like bikeshare, transit oriented development, updated and connected infrastructure- Reston would be a ticking time bomb. It will fail and it will be miserable. More highways and more streets are not the answer- they’ll just be flooded with people trying to avoid other roads and highways meaning more roads and highways are now congested.

    The only way to improve traffic is to actually reduce the amount of cars on the road. It’s just that simple. And yes, bikeshare does HELP with that. It won’t solve it- but when done in conjunction with other efforts, it has been and will continue to be successful.

  • I hope the “Tysons Corner” stations include some of McLean. My office (in downtown McLean) is exactly two miles from the McLean Silver Line station. Being able to bike from the station to the office and back (since non-folding-bicycles are prohibited on Metro trains during rush hour) would be fantastic.

    • Matt

      At the moment, there aren’t any plans for it unfortunately. There was some talk of a Cap One or MITRE station and possibly one at the McLean Metro for connectivity purposes, but they were scrapped. That entire side of 495 is either under redevelopment or about to be, so there was no easy way to put anything in place at the moment- especially given the lack of connectivity to the other side of 495.

      In a few years (by 2020) there’s going to be a bike/pedestrian bridge that goes over 495 and by then Scotts Run, Cap One, Anderson Park, etc. should be finalized and that will become phase II for bikeshare in Tysons.

      McLean has a separate group that oversees their biking initiatives, and are interested in bikeshare, but they aren’t at a point where they can make things happen.


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