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Reston Expansion Planned for Capital Bikeshare Over the Next Two Years

A little over two years after Capital Bikeshare launched in Fairfax County, the program is planning to expand across Reston. But details on where the new stations, which were proposed last year, are pending.

According to Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the bike-share expansion is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.

“We are still working on the exact locations,” said Wynands, “but additional stations are planned to be added in both North and South Reston.”

A list of sites in Reston had been proposed last year, but Wynands said further study found some of the sites did not meet federal criteria for grant funding.

“The previously proposed stations [were] a concept proposal which [is] always subject to final engineering,” said Wynands. “We have since conducted surveys and developed preliminary design concepts. As the expansion is funded through a federal grant, each location has to meet a long list of criteria stipulated by federal requirements, state requirements and operator requirements. The surveys revealed that some of the originally proposed stations did not meet all siting criteria, so alternative sites are being considered.”

Additionally, Wynands said sites are being reconsidered based on proximity to new bike trails built through Reston over the last year.

“We will be able to announce the new station locations after we have received all needed permits,” said Wynands. “We are still planning on adding up to 11 new stations in Reston”

At its busiest, typically during June, Wynands said there were 1,861 trips starting or ending in Reston. Capital Bikeshare also recently implemented a pilot project to add new battery-operated bikes to Reston. The program will continue through the end of the month.

Wynands said the most popular stations in Reston are the ones at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, followed by the Reston Town Center Transit Station and the Sunset Hill Road/Isaac Newton Square Station.

“The system is designed primarily to cover the first and last mile between the origin/destination and transit,” said Wynands. “This is evident in the popularity of the bike share station at Wiehle Metro, which serves both as an origin and a destination for commuters in the morning and afternoon, as people working near Reston Town Center are arriving by Metro and continuing their trip to Reston Town Center via the W&OD, while at the same time Reston Town Center residents commute via the W&OD to the Metro station to continue their trip to Tysons, Arlington or DC.”

The station with the lowest use is at North Shore and Cameron Crescent, a station which primarily serves as an overflow to the busy Lake Anne station down the hill at North Shore and Village Road.

According to Wynands, the system is continuing to grow in ridership, with a seven percent year-over-over growth recorded thus far.

“It takes a few years for a new system to establish itself, and we expect additional growth through the expansions as we will serve additional riders and destinations.”

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New Battery-Operated Bikes Coming to Capital Bikeshare in Reston

New black, battery-operated bikes are coming to Reston’s Capital Bikeshare fleet tomorrow (September 5) through a pilot program by Fairfax County Government.

Roughly 80 bikes will be added to Reston and Tysons Capital Bikeshare locations through a program called Capital Bikeshares Plus. The new pedal-assist bicycles, called e-bikes, allow users to get a small boost and make it easier to pedal uphill and across longer distances.

With the pedal assist feature of e-bikes, shared active mobility will be accessible to a greater variety of riders,” said Fairfax County Bicycle Program Manager Nicole Wynands. “We hope that e-bikes will open the door for more Fairfax County residents and visitors to enjoy the many benefits of getting around by bicycle.”

The new bikes are black and marked with a lightning bolt symbol in the Capital Bikeshare app. But unlike traditional bikes, the e-bikes must be powered on before the start of the trip. Current Capital Bikeshare members can use the bikes at no additional charge.

The pilot program will run through November. County officials expect they will “integrate seamlessly” with the existing Capital Bikeshare system in the county.

Photo via Capital Bikeshare

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Thursday Morning Notes

Capital savings — Fairfax County residents can save 50 percent off their annual capital bikeshare membership. Members must be county residents and have new memberships. [Fairfax County Government]

Opinion: unfair treatment — An opinion piece alleges that the Fairfax County library system treats Friends groups, including the Friends of Reston Library, unfairly. [InsideNOVA]

‘Take a Break’ concert tonightIn this week’s “Take a Break” concert, Bad Influence brings audiences blues and roots. The concert at Lake Anne Plaza is open to all ages. [Reston Community Center]

Soaring to national heights — Austin Miller, a pole vaulter from Herndon, placed eighth at the 2018 USA Track & Field outdoor championships. [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Bikeshare Marks First Anniversary in Fairfax County, More Locations on the Way

Fairfax County is celebrating the first year anniversary of Capital Bikeshare this month as more stations in Reston are on the horizon.

County officials laud the program as a success. According to the Capital Bikeshare’s website, more than 1,000 people have signed up to become members and more than 27,150 miles have been travelled overall. More than 10,000 trips have also been taken with the bikes.

Adam Lind, the county’s bicycle program coordinator, said the county sees the program as a success so far, especially compared to counties like Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County overall.

“Memberships and trips taken have continued to increase and we expect this to continue as we expand bikeshare to new areas of Reston and the county,” Lind said.

Currently, there are 15 stations installed in Reston. Within the next few months, a new station will be on the way near the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. A dozen additional stations are planned for next year in 2019, 11 of which will be funded by a federal grant and pone of which will be funded by a development. Ten of these stations are planned on the south of Toll Road, he said.

Funding is also available for expanding Bikeshare to the west of both sides of the Toll Road within phase two of the Silver Line extension.

The most popular stations are at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and the Reston Town Center Transit station is the 2nd most busy. The county expects bikeshare to continue to grow as more bike infrastructure is built in the community.

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Fairfax County Officials Seek Input on Prioritizing Unfunded Transportation Projects

Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials are seeking public input on nearly 300 transportation projects that are vying for roughly $100 million in funding.

Local residents can provide feedback on proposed projects at a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 7-9 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The meeting will include a formal presentation about unfunded projects and a question-and-answer session.

Residents can also take an online survey by Nov. 9 to indicate preferred projects, or mail a printed copy of the survey to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033).

Feedback will allow the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to prioritize unfunded transportation projects in line for funding through fiscal year 2023, according to the county’s website.

Unfunded projects in Reston include those listed below:

  • Installation of roundabout at the intersection of Sunset Hills and Hunter Mill Road ($73.1 million)
  • The extension and addition of the grid of streets in the Reston Transit Station area ($500,000)
  • Construction of turn lanes and installation of a traffic signal in the area of Fox Mill Road and Pinecrest Road. ($1.7 million)
  • Extension of southbound left turn lane on Reston Parkway at Temporary Road ($280,000)
  • Addition of left turn lane and traffic signal on Lawyers Road at Twin Branches Road ($1.7 million)
  • Construction of a bike and pedestrian trail on Baron Cameron Drive from Cameron Heath Drive to Gatesmeadow Way. ($1.5 million)
  • Addition of walkway on Center Harbor Road from Heritage Oak Way to North Village ($1.4 million)
  • Addition of bike lanes or trail on Lawyers Road from existing bike lanes to Twin Branches Road ($5 million)
  • Addition of bike lanes or trail on Lawyers Road from Twin Branches Road to Hunter Mill Road ($7.5 million)
  • Expansion of Reston Capital Bikeshare ($500,000)
  • Construction of sidewalk on Ridge Heights Road from Lakewinds Drive to South Lakes Drive ($600,000)
  • Construction of walkway on the south side of South Lakes Drive from Pine Cone Court to Tanbark Drive. ($1.5 million)
  • Installation of bike lanes on South Lakes Drive from Reston Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive ($5 million)
  • Addition of walkway on the east side of South Lakes Drive from Thoreau Place to Sunrise Valley Drive ($550,000)
  • Addition of shared use pathway or bike lanes on Wiehle Avenue from Baron Cameron Avenue to Reston Station Boulevard ($12 million)

Other projects of local interest include:

  • Construct sidewalk on north side of Fox Mill Road (Herndon) from Monroe Street to Greg Roy Lane ($600,000)
  • Roadway widening from West Ox Road to Fairfax County Parkway (To be determined)
  • Addition of pedestrian refuge islands on Beulah Road from the entrance of Wolf Trap Elementary School to Talisman Drive (To be determined)

Countywide projects include:

  • Improvements on two existing bus routes in the Herndon and Centreville Road areas ($1.3 million)
  • Addition of five new recommended bus routes that provide north-south and east-west connections ($55.6 million)
  • Expansion of the Tysons Capital Bikeshare ($500,000)
  • Completion of identified bike roadway spots. ($1.1 million)

All project costs are based on estimates.

For more information, call 703-877-5600 or email [email protected].

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Friday Morning Notes

Dominion Rates Going Down as of Today –The net impact of the changes for the monthly bill for the typical Dominion Energy residential customer is a decrease of 1.1 percent, lowering the typical bill from $117.20 to $115.65, which is 30 cents lower than in February 2015. [Dominion Energy]

Bechtel Selected to Complete Georgia Nuclear Plant Expansion — Bechtel has been chosen by Georgia Power to complete construction of a two-reactor expansion of a nuclear power plant near Augusta, Georgia. These will be the first new units built in the U.S. in the last three decades. [Markets Insider]

King, Browns Finish Preseason Undefeated — Deon King, a South Lakes High School graduate, recorded one tackle Thursday night as the Cleveland Browns shut out the Chicago Bears, 25-0. The Browns finish the preseason with a 4-0 record. In the four games, King recorded nine tackles (including seven solo) and a fumble recovery. ESPN’s roster projection has him making the cut and being part of the 53-man regular-season squad. [ESPN]

Fairfax Crew Making Rescues in Flooded Texas — Fairfax Fire and Rescue provided an update Thursday of its efforts to help with rescue operations in flood-ravaged southeast Texas. They have helped save six people and two pets from flooded areas, and they have also assisted an owner with accessing and retrieving three more pets. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Last Day to Get Comments In on BikeShare Locations — Comments on plans for 10 new Captial BikeShare stations in Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road, must be in by close of business today. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

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Thursday Morning Notes

Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by pan-Celtic group Iona. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Outreach Session on Bikeshare Today — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to bring 10 new locations of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road. A public outreach session on the proposed locations is scheduled for today from 1-5 p.m. at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive). [FCDOT]

SAIC Gets $39M Task Order to Support Marines — The Reston-based technology integrator has received the order, from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, to provide engineering services in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Operations Center. [SAIC]

Verity Commercial Again Named to Inc. 5000 — For the second consecutive year, the Reston-based commercial real estate company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. [Verity Commercial]

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New Capital Bikeshare App Gives Users More Opportunities To Plan, Track Rides

As Capital Bikeshare looks toward increasing its presence in Reston, a new app for iPhone and Android is allowing its users to better manage their rides.

The free app, which launched last week, allows users to find a bike, purchase a pass, time their rides to avoid late charges and much more. In a press release, Capital Bikeshare General Manager Eric Gilliland extolled the virtues of the app.

“The new Capital Bikeshare mobile app will open up new possibilities for CaBi riders — providing a convenient and quick way to find a bike or a dock, keep track of exercise, and make it easier to know that you’ve properly docked your bike,” he said. “It’s never been easier to give Capital Bikeshare a try, and we look forward to providing our riders a more seamless experience than ever before.”

The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. It can be used for rides from all stations throughout the DC Metro area.

Capital Bikeshare launched in Reston last fall, and there are currently 15 stations here. Public outreach sessions are being held throughout August to discuss the addition of 10 new stations south of the Dulles Toll Road. The next is Thursday from 1-5 p.m. at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive); another is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market in Lake Anne Plaza.

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Friday Morning Notes

Hook Road Project Info Session  Anyone interested in learning about the Hook Road Recreation Area project and the forming of a working group may attend an information session on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Email [email protected] for more about serving on the working group. [Reston Association]

Third Outreach Session on Bikeshare Announced — The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a third public outreach event to gather community input on the proposed sites for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Reston. It will be Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market. [VDOT]

Aquatics Center To Close for Annual Maintenance — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will be closed from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. It is scheduled to reopen at noon Sept. 16. [Reston Community Center]

County Short-Term Rental Survey Ongoing — Fairfax County is developing regulations to govern the use of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb). It is gathering community input through Aug. 31. [Fairfax County/Survey Monkey]

Column: Virginia Should Not Pay for ‘Skins Stadium — Regular ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote this week about how the costs of bringing a new Washington Redskins home field to Virginia would far outweigh the benefits for taxpayers. [ARLnow]

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Public Outreach Sessions Slated on Expansion of Capital Bikeshare to South Reston

(This article was updated at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, with information about the third outreach session.)

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to bring 10 new locations of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road.

Phase II of the expansion of Capital Bikeshare to the area is intended to “increase the number of destinations within the system, while also taking advantage of new bike infrastructure in 2017 to make riding safer and more enjoyable for all,” according to FCDOT. Fifteen Capital Bikeshare locations have already been installed in Reston, all in the northern part of the community.

The proposed new locations for Capital Bikeshare stations include Baron Cameron Avenue/Hampton Avenue North, as well as nine in South Reston:

  • Soapstone Drive/Sunrise Valley Drive
  • Soapstone Drive/South Lakes Drive
  • Campus Commons Drive
  • South Lakes Village Center
  • Hunters Woods Village Center
  • Barton Hill Park
  • Lake Audubon Pool
  • Glade Pool
  • Hunters Woods Park

Public outreach events to gather community input on the proposed sites are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10 at Lake Audubon Pool (2070 Twin Branches Road) and Thursday, Aug 17 at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive). Both are slated for 1-5 p.m.

A third outreach session will be held Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market in Lake Anne Plaza.

Phase II of the Bikeshare project is federally funded, with 10 new stations being paid for by a TAP grant. Because of this, they all must be located in the public right of way. Therefore, FCDOT plans to replace some of the locally funded Phase I stations that are on public rights of way with federally funded stations, and then relocate the Phase I stations to South Reston sites (Campus Commons Drive, South Lakes Village Center and Hunters Woods Village Center) where public right of way is not available.

Anyone who cannot attend an outreach session but would like to submit feedback on proposed stations can use the FCDOT comment form, email [email protected] or call 703-877-5600.

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Another New Capital Bikeshare Location Opens in Reston

The Capital Bikeshare’s presence in Reston increased this week with the opening of another location.

Capital Bikeshare celebrated the opening of a new station at Reston Parkway and Spectrum Drive by tweeting a photo and thanking hard-working staff for their work in installing it.

The new location was stocked with eight available bikes, plus seven empty slots for returning bikes.

Since its debut in October, Capital Bikeshare has been thriving in Reston. Representatives have reported that usership has been enjoying big numbers since the first nine stations opened. Since then, three more were immediately approved, and just in March, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation approved another 10 locations with funding from a TAP grant (Transportation Alternatives Program).

Studies have shown that Reston users have not only been using the bikeshare to travel to and from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station and local commercial areas, but also to take many “longer, more recreational rides.”

Residents interested in having a Bikeshare station installed in their neighborhood can email their request to [email protected] or use the interactive map at www.cabistations.com.

Image courtesy of Capital Bikeshare via Twitter

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Friday Morning Notes

Giving Back to Emergency Responders — Firefighters from Station 25 presented a certificate to a Reston woman who adopted a fire hydrant in her neighborhood. The woman was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in 1994 and credits emergency crews including fire units with saving her life, and she has loved and supported them ever since. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Guinea Pigs on Twitter Thanks to Local Students — At Ideaventions Academy, a specialized STEM school in Reston, students have built a computer and are using censors to get classroom pets to tweet out randomized messages. You can follow along @PepperNCaramel. [WUSA]

County Map Shows Youth Crash Locations — A map released Thursday by Fairfax County plots the locations of all 1,840 vehicle crashes involving youth drivers (ages 15-20) in 2016. In Reston, locations including Sunrise Valley Drive, the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, and the intersection of Reston Parkway and Route 7 had the most incidents. [Fairfax County]

Another Capital BikeShare Station Opens — An 11-dock Capital BikeShare location has opened on Town Center Parkway near Sunset Hills Road, at the RTC West complex. [Capital BikeShare/Twitter]

Map courtesy Fairfax County

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FCDOT Happy With Reston Bikeshare Usage, Has Plans for 10 Additional Stations

Usage of Capital Bikeshare in Reston has reportedly been strong, and the program will likely be expanding even further in Reston.

Adam Lind, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s bicycle program coordinator, says FCDOT is working toward using a previously received federal TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant to add 10 additional stations to Reston. Those will be on top of the 12 already installed and the three more that have been previously scheduled for implementation.

“We are happy with the ridership we have seen so far [in Reston], especially since we haven’t fully built out the network with the first 15 stations and as we’ve only been open through the fall and winter,” Lind said. “We anticipate seeing an increase in members and ridership as we transition to the spring and summer, when bicycling in general picks up.”

Nine stations opened in Reston in October, while three more have opened so far this year. FCDOT is funding the operations in Reston and Tysons, as approved by the Board of Supervisors last year.

Data released earlier this week by Mobility Lab, an Arlington-based transportation-demand analyzer, showed strong usage of Bikeshare in Reston in the last quarter of 2016. Mobility Lab’s analysis of the numbers suggested, among other findings, that riders are taking “longer, more recreational” rides in the Town Center area as well as using Bikeshare to travel from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station to commercial and residential centers.

Lind said it was expected that the stations at Reston Town Center and the Metro station would have the most ridership, but other numbers have also been encouraging.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised that the station at Sunset Hills and Old Reston Avenue (near the W&OD) has seen such high usage (third-most trips),” he said. “We’ve also seen good usage out of the new stations near Lake Anne, which we expected as well.”

Lind said adding more bike lanes, a topic discussed at a recent community meeting, would “greatly assist the continued growth and expansion of Capital Bikeshare in Reston both north and south of the Toll Road.” There are currently no Bikeshare stations in the southern part of Reston.

Residents interested in having a Bikeshare station installed in their neighborhood can email their request to [email protected] or use the interactive map at www.cabistations.com. Lind said public outreach will also take place in the coming months to discuss suggestions about where the future stations will be placed.

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New Bikeshare Location Arrives at Lake Anne Plaza

Bikeshare rental at Lake Anne Plaza

Another Capital Bikeshare location recently opened in Reston, this one at the intersection of North Shore Drive and Village Road at Lake Anne.

The first nine Capital Bikeshare sites in Reston were unveiled in October. Fifteen in total are planned for the community, with 132 bicycles among them. Along with 14 sites in Tysons, these are the first Bikeshare locations in Fairfax County. There are more than 400 in the entire network.

“We are pleased to have Capital Bikeshare arrive to Lake Anne Plaza,” said Maurisa Potts, public relations representative, on behalf of the Lake Anne Plaza Merchants. “With Lake Anne being the original birthplace of Reston surrounded by so many wonderful trails, it’s great to have this amenity available to Restonians, commuters and local tourists to explore our communities.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in January 2016 approved a $1.7 million plan to bring the bikeshare network to the county.

Bikeshare users can rent the bikes for $2 for 30 minutes or $8 for a day. Three-day, 30-day and annual passes can also be purchased.

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Planners Looking At How Bikeshare Could Help Reston Residents, Workers

Fionnuala Quinn of Alta Planning + Design shoes features of a Capital Bikeshare bicycle

Could Reston become a transit-oriented community where residents and visitors use bikeshare as another arm of transportation?

That’s what Fairfax County transportation staffers and consultants from Alta Planning and Design are trying to determine. Fairfax County received a grant from Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Transportation/Land Use Connections (TLC) Technical Assistance Program to study the feasibility of a bikeshare here.

With one of three planned Metrorail Silver Line Stations set to open later this year, new transit-oriented construction planned and thousands of new workers and residents expected to relocate here, Reston seems like a natural fit for two-wheeled transportation.

Charlie Strunk, bicycle coordinator for Fairfax County, said his department has been thinking about a bikeshare in Fairfax since 2009.

“I get calls from Westfield, Chantily, asking when can we get a bikeshare,” Strunk told participants in a community meeting at Lake Anne Elementary on Wednesday. “The easy answer, probably not. Those places don’t have the density.”We picked Reston because we think Reston is the best choice. Tysons is a way off. Reston has fairly good density, mixed use, a mix of shopping, office and residential.”

Alta Planning + Design, organizers of Capital Bikeshare and others nationwide, is working on the study with the county. They are seeking input from the community to help determine where to put potential bikeshare stations.

They concentrated on a couple of main points on Wednesday:

* Bikeshare is not a recreational system; it is an extension of the transportation grid. Alta’s Fionnuala Quinn showed participants a Capital Bikeshare bike — a sturdy, three-speed bicycle with safety lights that flash when bicycle is in motion — and explained the difference.

“Bikeshare is a service that has bicycles as a component to getting around,” she said “There are many benefits — it adds critical links to the network. Reston about to undergo a real transformation to transportation network with the [Metro] Silver Line. Reston already has a lot of good features — a bus network, trails, park-and-ride lots. This would add a layer for short trips. It is fast, cheap and puts you out in the community.”

* The capital funding for other suburban-area bikeshares (Arlington, Montgomery County) came from a combination of  federal, state and local money, as well as developer proffers. Those networks are owned by the jurisdictions but operated by Alta Bikeshare, which oversees maintenance, rebalancing, and the warehouse, among other things. Operations are partially funded by user fees. Membership fees range from $7 an hour to $75 annually, with additional charges per use.

* County officials see the initial use as one where Silver Line commuters could disembark at Reston-Wiehle Avenue then hop on a bike to ride the additional distance (usually less than a mile) to their Reston workplace. In Rockville, where Capital Bikeshare opened in October, COG awarded Montgomery County a job access grant. The money helped create access to more jobs as employees could ride to the end of the red line, then use a  bike to get to biotech jobs a short distance away.

* Alta’s Charlie Denney says safety, topography and demand, as well as demographic data from the American Community Survey, will all be part of the study.

Audience members, many of whom were avid cyclists and bike commuters, had some questions about whether Restonians would use the system on a regular basis.

Among the concerns: Would this replace cars for short trips? Maybe, but there would have to be stations at the places riders were going (such as by grocery stores). Would there be outreach to the low-income community, who could embrace it bikeshare as an alternative to taking a bus? Capital bikeshare in DC is heavily used by tourists, yet Reston is not a tourist spot, so it may be of limited use.

Officials conducting the feasibility study want to hear from Restonians on two major points — where should stations be located and how would people use the system?

If you have feedback or suggestions about a bikeshare in Reston, contact [email protected].

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