Leggett made the announcement in Rockville at one of the 21 stations in the Rockville, Shady Grove and the Life Sciences area designed to encourage low income reverse commuters and job trainees. Those who qualify will receive a free, one-year membership in Capital Bikeshare that will enable them to use any bikeshare station in Montgomery County, as well as receive a free bike helmet, safety training and route planning assistance. These stations were partially funded by a $1.3 million Federal Transit Administration Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant approved by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board and $300,000 in local matching funds from the city of Rockville.
“The addition of the Capital Bikeshare system to Rockville will help increase the visibility of bicycling as a legitimate mode of transportation in Rockville and help us become an even more Bike Friendly Community,” said city of Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio.
Other supporters of the Rockville / Shady Grove / Life Sciences Center Bikeshare program include the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; MontgomeryWorks; Montgomery College; The Universities at Shady Grove; Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County campus; Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; and the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.
For the Downcounty Bikeshare program in Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Takoma Park and Silver Spring, the Maryland Department of Transportation provided a $1 million grant. In addition, the Maryland legislature approved a bill that provides a $250,000 bond to the bikeshare program. Montgomery County received a $112,000 funding commitment towards the cost of the Downcounty bikeshare stations from Chevy Chase Land Company and $140,000 from other developer payments made to the Montgomery County Planning Board and dedicated to Bikeshare.
“As part of Gov. O’Malley’s Cycle Maryland Initiative, we created Maryland’s Bikeshare Program two years ago to help local jurisdictions provide residents with an easy and inexpensive way to take short trips and connect transit riders to their final destinations,” said Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr. “Our $1 million investment in Montgomery County’s program is paying off with today’s opening of the State’s first year-round bikeshare stations, and we look forward to celebrating the opening of state-funded programs in Baltimore City and College Park.”
“We are proud to support Bikeshare in Montgomery County,” said David Smith, president, The Chevy Chase Land Co. “Its popularity and success in D.C. and Virginia demonstrates the importance of bicycling as part of an effective urban transportation network, and we expect that residents and commuters in Montgomery County will embrace this option.”
The Downcounty system will expand the reach of Metrorail, Metrobus, MARC and MTA bus services; provide low-cost transportation options in the most urbanized and congested portion of Montgomery County; help get people out of their cars for short trips; and produce environmental benefits while enhancing economic activity.
In April, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) signed a contract with Alta Bicycle Share to bring the popular Capital Bikeshare program to Montgomery County. The contract provides for equipment purchase and operating costs for the program.
MCDOT’s top priority is to ensure the safety of riders by locating stations in areas with safe connections to activity centers and other stations, including bike paths, bike lanes and sidewalks, or on streets that are less congested by traffic. MCDOT is working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on locating Bikeshare stations at each of the Metrorail stations in the areas to be served.
Bikesharing provides short-term bicycle rentals at self-service, automated, solar-powered docking stations sited at publicly accessible locations. Bikes may be picked up at one location and returned to another, creating a system that allows for one-way trips. Bikeshare is considered ideal for short trips of less than five miles. Trips under 30 minutes are included in the membership fee, while longer trips are charged based on their duration.