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View Full Version : College Park staff recommend non-CaBi bikeshare system



PotomacCyclist
09-02-2015, 11:23 PM
http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/college-park-revives-plans-for-bike-share-program-following-setbacks/article_5e881474-50f4-11e5-9010-a3cc347cd221.html

(reposted on Greater Greater Washington)

...

Although no bid has been awarded yet, city staff recommended Monday that the City Council choose a Massachusetts-based firm called Zagster, Schum said.

The next steps will be for the council to vote on awarding the bid — which will take place next Tuesday — and for the city to then enter negotiations with the chosen provider.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to finalize the details,” Schum said. “But it’s exciting.”

Upon launch, which is expected to take place sometime next semester, the bike-share system will follow the initial plan for 125 bikes, 250 docks and 14 stations, Schum said.

Original plans to move forward with Capital Bikeshare — the company responsible for bike-share systems in Arlington County, Washington, D.C., Montgomery County and Alexandria — were derailed after six months of discussion when the company’s supplier went out of business early last year, Schum said.

“We were unable to move forward with them because their supplier went into bankruptcy so they couldn’t take any new orders,” Schum said. “We had been negotiating with them for what seemed like forever.”

As a result, Schum said, time limits on the state grant intended to fund the project forced the city to make other arrangements.

...

Brünø Moore
09-07-2015, 08:04 PM
It's not yet a done deal—I know that at least a few CP city council members and several residents are in favor of a CaBi compatible system. The city council meeting is tomorrow; I'll keep an eye out for how things go, and probably end up talking to Our Friends on the Council. While the Council usually follows the recommendations of its planning staff, this isn't universally true. If I recall correctly, the city staff's recommendations were made back when Alta went belly up and a Bixi-style system was not under consideration; we'll see what the Council decides based on current information.

Terpfan
09-11-2015, 09:34 AM
I rode my bike to a tailgate last year only to be greeted with signs about campus requiring bike registration. (Needless to say, i didn't register and had no problems locking my bike up to the bike parking). I'm curious about when they're starting the lanes along Rt 1?

Brünø Moore
09-11-2015, 11:23 PM
Campus bike registration is mostly for students/staff/faculty and probably not visitors/community members—I know I lock up at UMD all the time, and have never registered with DOTS. I think I may be right on the edge of "really should register," though, given how often I ride and lock up on campus. Might want to call up BikeUMD and ask about that one...

Current SHA predictions on when the resurfacing and reconstruction of Route 1 will start is still very preliminary, much to everyone's frustration. To say that the city council, university community, and citizens who are paying attention to these sorts of things are Not Happy with SHA's foot dragging would be something of an understatement—the city missed out on a major federal TIGER grant to underground utilities along Route 1 (which, incidentally, would have allowed more room for bike infrastructure, streetscaping, etc.) because SHA either couldn't or wouldn't get its act together before the application deadline.

PotomacCyclist
11-29-2015, 12:30 PM
According to this recent article, College Park signed with Zagster for its bikeshare program. It's expected to launch in January.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/prince-georges-county-is-considering-connecting-with-capital-bikeshare/2015/11/28/f177f546-9213-11e5-8aa0-5d0946560a97_story.html

Not sure that January is the best month to open a new bikeshare system, not if they want to build buzz around it. Maybe they want fewer riders at first, to work out operational issues.

PotomacCyclist
11-29-2015, 03:21 PM
Interesting that the City of College Park website includes a link to the Capital Bikeshare site, under the Programs and Initiatives/Sustainability category.

http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/

I located the notice of the decision on the Zagster deal, but only by digging through search results on the site. The City Council meeting minutes are not easily accessible or organized on the site (unless I'm overlooking something).

http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/document_center/MayorCouncil/2015Minutes/090815RM.pdf

From page 4 of the minutes:

15-G-100 Award of contract for bikeshare to Zagster, Inc., in an amount not to exceed
$300,000 for the City-funded portion of the program, subject to review and
approval by the City Attorney

A motion was made by Councilmember Kabir and seconded by Councilmember Wojahn
that a three-year contract for a College Park Bikeshare System be awarded to Zagster, Inc.
in an amount not to exceed $300,000, contingent on the approval by the University of
Maryland of a contract with Zagster, Inc. with generally the same terms and conditions,
and subject to review and approval of contract terms by the City Attorney.

Councilmember Kabir said this contract represents the city portion of the bikeshare system.
Zagster, Inc. was one of three firms that responded to a Request for Proposals to provide a
bikeshare system both on- and off-campus. The City and University have determined that
Zagster’s proposal is the most responsive, economical and flexible compared to the other
bidders. It is anticipated that the College Park system will launch in January 2016 with a total of
125 bikes, 250 docks and 14 stations. Final decisions on station locations, membership rates,
branding and marketing will be made in conjunction with the University and Zagster.

Comments from the audience:
Dave Dorsch, 4607 Calvert Road: $300,000 is a lot of money. Why do we have to pay them
to come to the City when they charge for the bikes? We should be asking how much they are
going to pay us. Why do we have to subsidize it? We pay for road infrastructure but bicyclists
pay zero. It is outrageous to spend taxpayer money to bring bikeshare to the City.

Councilmember Kabir clarified that whoever wants to use the bike will have to pay for it. Ms.
Schum said we hope the system will pay for itself, but someone has to initiate it and own it; it is
typical that governments do so. In this case, it will be the City and the University.

Councilmember Wojahn said that transportation infrastructure is subsidized and that if we want
our transportation system to work effectively we need to invest in it.

The motion passed 8 – 0 – 0.

PotomacCyclist
11-29-2015, 03:29 PM
Note the usual objection from an audience member, that cyclists don't pay for road infrastructure and that it's "outrageous" to spend taxpayer money on bikeshare.

A councilmember pointed out that transportation infrastructure is subsidized. I think he should have emphasized that ALL transportation infrastructure and EVERY transportation mode is heavily subsidized, including car driving.

In any case, the council passed the motion by a unanimous 8-0 vote.

PotomacCyclist
11-29-2015, 03:48 PM
I had only heard of Zagster in passing before. It seems that the bikes incorporate Kryptonite locks that are unlocked through a mobile app or a text message. The main docking stations do not have locking mechanisms, only racks for the bike locks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zagster#/media/File:Zagster_Bike_Station.jpg

According to the Wikipedia page, the company has bikeshare contracts with a few cities, some large companies and several universities.

I'll have to look up reviews about their bikeshare systems, and how this works in reality. Because the bikes can be locked up away from the stations, does this mean their stations are more likely to be empty? Are those bikes more susceptible to theft, because of the external and accessible locks? Is the system effective overall? Better or worse than Bixi-style bikeshare, or about the same?

Their website suggests that Zagster systems can complement docking station bikeshare set-ups like CaBi: http://zagster.com/blog/why-zagster-makes-sense-if-your-city-has-a-bike-share/

I think at some point it would be nice for College Park/UMD to join Capital Bikeshare, whether or not they continue with the Zagster deal. Perhaps CP/UMD do join CaBi in three years, after the Zagster deal expires. Bike infrastructure might be better between CP and surrounding communities by that time. I can see some benefits for Zagster in a campus setting, but there are also potential downsides, such as not knowing where bikes are, if stations aren't as important in that system. CP bikeshare users would not be able to use CaBi elsewhere in the DC area without signing up for a separate CaBi membership. If Prince George's goes ahead with plans to add bikeshare at Greenbelt, then a future CP/UMD CaBi system could make even more sense.

Maybe UMD doesn't think that the students travel off campus enough so that the incompatible bikeshare systems are not a major issue. I don't have any insight into this so I'm not making a judgment on that call. Just wondering about how the CP/UMD bikeshare plan will work.

Brünø Moore
12-02-2015, 10:45 PM
From the meeting in Greenbelt (the place, not the poster...though he was there too), the deal is that CP gets 3 years for the price of 1 if they go with Zagster. Alta Bikeshare was in the process of going bankrupt during the bid process (they got bought by Motivate/REQX Ventures afterwards, but too late to submit a bid; while there was some talk of reopening the process to allow the now solvent Motivate to bid, that never happened), so they weren't considered.

In discussion, it seems like this may be—emphasis on the "may"—something like a stopgap/low-risk pilot program. CaBi needs to expand outward into Woodridge, North Michigan Park, Mount Rainier, and Brentwood; a few crucial trail connections and wayfinding networks (Cafritz development, Route 1 between Franklin's and NEBranch, Arundel Road) need to be developed, and College Park itself needs a bit more density before CaBi can really take off. The Zagster system has the advantages of being easily moved, easily changed, and a bit more flexible. It may be three years before CP really has to worry about connectivity with the wider CaBi system; when that day comes, they'll have learned a few things from this program.

PotomacCyclist
12-03-2015, 01:28 AM
FYI - Bixi went bankrupt, not Alta. Bixi was a supplier/contractor for Alta. I don't believe Alta was ever in any immediate danger of going bankrupt. But Alta did sell off their bikeshare division to REQX. That was renamed Motivate.

I biked around College Park last week, for the first time ever. Doesn't the University have over 37,000 students (undergrad and grad) plus more than 9,000 staff? 46,000+ people concentrated in a geographically small city, with most of them under the age of 30. That would seem to be enough to support a CaBi outpost. Wouldn't it?

I know the Purple Line is supposed to include a paved trail extension between Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring. Are there plans to have any bike trails along the Purple Line east of Silver Spring, into College Park? It's a bit of a hike. Most casual cyclists should be able to handle that distance (about 5-6 miles?), but it might just be far enough where most people wouldn't bike the trip. I'd also guess that most people wouldn't bike from College Park to downtown DC, especially on a slower CaBi bike. Are there are any really popular bike traffic routes in the general area, other than within the main campus, and between the campus and the Metro station? Is there a lot of bike traffic between the campus and Greenbelt?

I'll be interested to hear how successful the Zagster program is, and whether CP and UMD decide to join CaBi in a few years (in place of or in complement to the Zagster program).

jrenaut
12-03-2015, 06:27 AM
5-6 miles on a CaBi is enough to discourage a lot of people. I think 2-4 miles is probably peak - too far to quickly walk, but close enough for a casual ride.

Hopefully MD improves the bike infrastructure in the next few years and joins up with CaBi.

Brünø Moore
12-03-2015, 07:56 AM
FYI - Bixi went bankrupt, not Alta. Bixi was a supplier/contractor for Alta. I don't believe Alta was ever in any immediate danger of going bankrupt. But Alta did sell off their bikeshare division to REQX. That was renamed Motivate.

I biked around College Park last week, for the first time ever. Doesn't the University have over 37,000 students (undergrad and grad) plus more than 9,000 staff? 46,000+ people concentrated in a geographically small city, with most of them under the age of 30. That would seem to be enough to support a CaBi outpost. Wouldn't it?

I know the Purple Line is supposed to include a paved trail extension between Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring. Are there plans to have any bike trails along the Purple Line east of Silver Spring, into College Park? It's a bit of a hike. Most casual cyclists should be able to handle that distance (about 5-6 miles?), but it might just be far enough where most people wouldn't bike the trip. I'd also guess that most people wouldn't bike from College Park to downtown DC, especially on a slower CaBi bike. Are there are any really popular bike traffic routes in the general area, other than within the main campus, and between the campus and the Metro station? Is there a lot of bike traffic between the campus and Greenbelt?

I'll be interested to hear how successful the Zagster program is, and whether CP and UMD decide to join CaBi in a few years (in place of or in complement to the Zagster program).

46,000 people, not all of whom live on campus (or even anywhere near it—grad students may show up from Australia once a year), etc. The population of CP is usually estimated at around 30k, and, given that the city stretches for about four miles along Rhode Island Avenue, not necessarily that small. Most plans for Bikeshare tend to concentrate around downtown and the campus, with an outpost by the Metro, maybe some in Old Town or Calvert Hills when the Cafritz development goes in; not much if anything north of MD-193/Greenbelt Road, save perhaps at Greenbelt Metro, about three miles and change from the Stamp Union by bike.

Plans for the Purple Line Trail, last I heard, was to run it the entire length of the line. This is part of the reason why, despite being the most deadly intersection in the county, we're not trying to make the University Boulevard/Riggs Road intersection from Hell in Adelphi less lethal—it's going to be ripped up during Purple Line construction, and a bike path put in. Ditto trying to forge connections between the NEBranch and Sligo Creek, which would connect College Park to Silver Spring and Takoma, where many students live and work. Of course, Governor Hogan has cut funding for the project pretty drastically, insisting that "unnecessary" features be cut...

To be perfectly honest, I'm not optimistic.

As far as popular bike routes—HECK YEAH! I mean, I'm one of many people who commutes from CP to DC (or vice versa) every day, and, as so many people who did the Cider Ride discovered, there's some really nice infrastructure in my part of the world. Granted, once you're out of the ATHA, it all just suddenly seems to die—heck, even within the area, you go from "really great!" to "nuttin" each time you cross a jurisdictional boundary (I usually cross about nine on my way in to work)—but in CP alone, we have the Indian Creek, Paint Branch, Trolly, and NEBranch trails, plus bike lanes, signposting, speed humps, and planning for more bike and pedestrian infrastructure and initiatives.

Campus to the Metro? Down the hill, cross US1 take Trolly Trail south, left to Metro. Mile and a half from the Stamp, IIRC. Cake.

CP to Greenbelt? Eff That Noise. The most direct route, 193, is best undertaken if you hate the idea of continued existence. Even the racers at Greenbelt Park will take back ways to avoid it. Usually, you either take the sidewalk, your own personal back way, or dismount and walk through Greenbelt Metro.

And thanks for catching my Subsidiary Error.

Terpfan
12-03-2015, 08:20 AM
46,000 people, not all of whom live on campus (or even anywhere near it—grad students may show up from Australia once a year), etc. The population of CP is usually estimated at around 30k, and, given that the city stretches for about four miles along Rhode Island Avenue, not necessarily that small. Most plans for Bikeshare tend to concentrate around downtown and the campus, with an outpost by the Metro, maybe some in Old Town or Calvert Hills when the Cafritz development goes in; not much if anything north of MD-193/Greenbelt Road, save perhaps at Greenbelt Metro, about three miles and change from the Stamp Union by bike.

Plans for the Purple Line Trail, last I heard, was to run it the entire length of the line. This is part of the reason why, despite being the most deadly intersection in the county, we're not trying to make the University Boulevard/Riggs Road intersection from Hell in Adelphi less lethal—it's going to be ripped up during Purple Line construction, and a bike path put in. Ditto trying to forge connections between the NEBranch and Sligo Creek, which would connect College Park to Silver Spring and Takoma, where many students live and work. Of course, Governor Hogan has cut funding for the project pretty drastically, insisting that "unnecessary" features be cut...

To be perfectly honest, I'm not optimistic.

As far as popular bike routes—HECK YEAH! I mean, I'm one of many people who commutes from CP to DC (or vice versa) every day, and, as so many people who did the Cider Ride discovered, there's some really nice infrastructure in my part of the world. Granted, once you're out of the ATHA, it all just suddenly seems to die—heck, even within the area, you go from "really great!" to "nuttin" each time you cross a jurisdictional boundary (I usually cross about nine on my way in to work)—but in CP alone, we have the Indian Creek, Paint Branch, Trolly, and NEBranch trails, plus bike lanes, signposting, speed humps, and planning for more bike and pedestrian infrastructure and initiatives.

Campus to the Metro? Down the hill, cross US1 take Trolly Trail south, left to Metro. Mile and a half from the Stamp, IIRC. Cake.

CP to Greenbelt? Eff That Noise. The most direct route, 193, is best undertaken if you hate the idea of continued existence. Even the racers at Greenbelt Park will take back ways to avoid it. Usually, you either take the sidewalk, your own personal back way, or dismount and walk through Greenbelt Metro.

And thanks for catching my Subsidiary Error.

Every time I go back for football games, I'm amazed as the painted bike sharrows on 193 when I park. Are people really riding on 193? It doesn't seem to have changed much from my time as a student and so I tend to think that's basically a death wish.

The other place I could some utility for the bikeshare is up by Cherry Hill. At least when I went there, a lot of people lived there off-campus. I think there was a path that connected at some point to the one that runs behind the Xfinity Center near the creek, but I'm not positive.

West of the campus toward Langley Park, I can only guess people cut those back roads? Then again, I don't think a ton of people lived off that direction. Shoot, the original Ledos isn't even there anymore.

PotomacCyclist
02-17-2016, 12:11 AM
On Jan. 12, the College Park council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Maryland regarding the proposed joint bikeshare program.

http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/document_center/MayorCouncil/2016CouncilMinutes/011216RM.pdf


According to the blog of one of the councilmembers, the current plan is to have 14 bike stations. The University will install 7 stations and the City will install 7.

Two of those stations would be located in north College Park, "one at the end of Lackawanna Street near the [Greenbelt] Metro, and the other at the MoM/REI shopping complex [Hollywood Shopping Center]."

The parties selected Zagster as the bikeshare operator (not Motivate, which operates Capital Bikeshare and systems elsewhere). They have proposed a three-year term.

http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/document_center/MayorCouncil/2016CouncilMinutes/011216RM.pdf


------

I don't think a formal contract with Zagster has been signed yet. The city council minutes from January only include the MOU with UMD with nothing about Zagster. Zagster doesn't list College Park on its website yet. (They do show a small bikeshare system in a single building in Bethesda. Membership for that system is limited to residents of the Bainbridge building, 18 years and older.)

Earlier articles about College Park bikeshare had also mentioned having a station at the Hollywood Shopping Center.

PotomacCyclist
02-17-2016, 12:25 AM
Someone had mentioned earlier that the Zagster system could be a temporary one, until CP/UMD were certain that the CaBi supply problems were resolved. They may also be waiting to see if a contract with Motivate would be less expensive in the future (adjusted for inflation). One issue with CaBi is that Motivate would have to dedicate rebalancing resources for CP. They might not be able to share rebalancing vans and staff used in other local jurisdictions because the CP system would be isolated from the other CaBi areas. I don't know how much that would change over the next three years. Maybe if Zagster proves to be very popular and demand for bikeshare memberships is great enough, then a CaBi deal would make more sense with a standalone CP/UMD network.

The Rockville/Shady Grove bike station network is also isolated from the rest of the CaBi network. They have 21 stations there. But they are also using a different program to help fund that group of stations, one designed to help lower-income workers commute to work, school or job training.

-----

I've ridden around College Park a few times this winter. It would definitely be more convenient with a bikeshare system there. Since I don't feel like biking all the way from Arlington to College Park, I've taken Metro most of the way. During the week, there's a prohibition on bikes between 7-10 am and 4-7 pm. (No limits on weekends.) That limits my schedule significantly if I want to use Metro and my personal bike. If CP/UMD had bikeshare, I could use that and not worry about the Metro bike rules. I don't know how much I'll bike up there after this winter, but I'll probably head back up there at some point. It's a nice campus and it's always good to see new sights on a ride. (The MVT is nice too, but there's no novelty for me with that ride now.)

Once the CP/UMD bikeshare system is running, I would consider signing on as an occasional member. Some of the other Zagster systems have hourly, monthly and annual memberships. The hourly deal doesn't make a lot of sense unless you're only going to ride once, for less than an hour. With the small Zagster system in Cleveland for example, it costs $3/hr up to $24/day (and extra fees for keeping the bike more than 24 hrs). Monthly is $15 with the first hr of each ride included. Then $3/hr after that first hr per trip. Yearly is $75 with the first hr of each ride included and the same per-trip fees as monthly members after the first hr. (Cleveland is planning to install a larger bikeshare system this year with CycleHop. I don't know if they will retain the Zagster system. Zagster still operates smaller systems in the Boston area, alongside the larger Motivate-operated Hubway system.)

Zagster bikes are locked with a regular U lock. I believe that once you sign up, you receive a code on your phone. That lets you open up a box that contains the key to the U lock. Then you use that key and lock during the trip if you make any stops. When you finish, you have to return to a Zagster station and return the key. As most people know, a U lock is better than a cable lock but it can still be easily defeated. CaBi/Bixi locking mechanisms seem much tougher to defeat. There are some CaBi bike thefts but I think the numbers are fairly low (and some of those thefts might be due to improper docking, leaving the bike unlocked at the station).

That system also means that you need to have a mobile phone to use Zagster. But 90% (or more) of U.S. adults now own a mobile phone. 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. Other possible limiter to bikeshare membership is having a credit card. About 75% of U.S. adults have a credit card. About 92% of adults have a bank account. (The bank acct issue is one possible reason why bikeshare use is lower East of the River in DC. But another reason might be all the hills there. I rode around some of the neighborhoods there recently. Those hills can be fairly tough, especially on a heavy CaBi bike. Certainly tough enough to deter almost all casual cyclists from riding in certain areas.)

http://zagster.com/cleveland/