Washington DC Launches SmartBikeDC Pilot Program
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Washington DC Launches SmartBikeDC Pilot Program

by VeloNation Press at 10:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Northeast
 

Continuing to work toward the District’s goal of providing innovative, alternative transportation for residents andDC Mayor and avid cyclist Adrian Fenty commuters, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty launched the District’s highly anticipated SmartBikeDC program today. SmartBikeDC is the first self-service, public bike rental program in North America. Similar to popular and highly successful projects in Barcelona and Paris, the environmentally friendly transportation option will further enhance the District’s public transportation system.

Led by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., the SmartBikeDC program is already being hailed as a success by bicyclists, residents, workers and commuters looking for alternative means to traverse the city during these times of high gas prices, congestion and poor air quality.

DDOT’s pilot program boasts 10 racks located strategically in the downtown area allowing for easy bike pickup and drop off. Rack locations were identified using a number of factors including access to Metro, employment and residential density, popular destinations, customer survey feedback and proximity to other racks (approximately 5 blocks apart). Members can rent the bikes for up to 3 hours. Membership is $40 per year and applicants can sign up on line at www.smartbikedc.com. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and hold a valid credit card.

The bikes are described as a “no excuse” bike. Equipped with chain guards, a basket/rack on the front for briefcases, purses, or groceries, etc., 3 gears, and adjustable, comfortable seats, the bikes make it easy for anyone to ride. Both business men and women can traverse the city without fear of ruining their pant leg or skirt. In today’s economically fuel-challenged society, the attractive red and white bikes provide a great alternative mode of transportation to move around downtown for meetings or errands. The SmartBikeDC web site was designed to be user friendly and it is easy for applicants to sign up. Once a person receives their card in the mail (may take up to two weeks) they simply return to the website, activate the card, and they are on their way.

To rent a bike, a member follows the instructions on the easy-to-use rental screen located at the rack. The bikes are equipped with a computer chip located in the bike handle bar. The user swipes their card to release the bike from the rack. Members must supply their own helmet and lock. The District does not currently have a helmet law for adults, but strongly encourages all members to wear a helmet when riding a bike.

SmartBikeDC is open from 6am to 10pm, Monday through Sunday. The last rental can be made at 10pm. Bikes can be dropped off 24 hours a day; however, one rental may not exceed three consecutive hours.

Clear Channel Outdoor operates SmartBikeDC as part of the bus shelter advertising program for DDOT. The bikes and stations are cleaned and repaired by Clear Channel Outdoor's service teams. SmartBikeDC uses supervision tools and remote processing to analyze the condition of each bike station. To ensure availability of bikes and parking slots, bike redistribution is performed by a service team in the SmartBike Van. Minor repairs on bikes are carried out onsite and all others are performed in the service workshop.

Plans to further expand the program are currently under way. DDOT is planning to place additional stations in other neighborhoods in spherical paths working towards the outer parts of the city. For more information on the SmartBikeDC program or to sign up for membership, visit the web site at www.smartbikedc.com .

SmartBikeDC is just one of many pedestrian and bicycle initiatives currently underway at DDOT. In addition to the highly publicized Draft Pedestrian Master Plan which was released in May 2008 and is currently undergoing its final public review process, DDOT is scheduled to install 4 more miles of bike lanes by the end of 2008 bringing the total bike lane mileage in the District to 39. 100 more bicycle parking racks are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year bringing that total to 900. With the new school year approaching, DDOT representatives will begin visiting schools as part of the DDOT pedestrian/bicycle education program. This program looks to educate both children and adults on safe pedestrian and bicycle practices. DDOT is also planning for a groundbreaking later this year for the new DC Bike Station at Union Station. The DC Bike Station will be the first of its kind in the District and will provide parking, rentals, repairs and retail accessories for bicyclists.

For more information on DDOT’s bike program or this press release, visit the DDOT web site at www.ddot.dc.gov.

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