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Thread: Whatever happened to Alexandria's bikeshare expansion?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yule View Post

    Someone involved must think they are doing a service to the city by saving money. I say they are only hurting themselves.
    This is false and unfair to the staff involved in CaBi expansion all of whom are progressive transportation planners and dedicated public servants. Of the city folks that I've interacted with in three different jurisdictions, the staff in Alexandria is by far the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yule View Post
    For this reason I believe that the best way to get more core/regular users is to put more stations near where more people live. (This may sound obvious but it ought to be enunciated; there is, anyway, a camp that would propose stations only ever go in 'central business districts.) Few are willing to walk 15 minutes to get to/from a CaBi station.
    The Ped and Bike Master Plan has a rough map of planned expansions for CaBi in Alexandria. That map is is on page 56 and future expansion is planned for the transportation corridors to West Alexandria. Site selection involves public input and also involves review by the Traffic & Parking Board. The Ped and Bike Master plan can be viewed here: https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploade...lan%20WEB2.pdf

    The non-technical criteria used for site selection in Alexandria are:
    Location Selection for Bikeshare Stations
    Online Interactive Crowdsourcing Map
    Developer contributions
    Community requests and comments (CallClickConnect, Emails, Community meetings)

    Proximity to:
    Metrorail Stations
    Mix-use activity centers
    Existing and potential bicycle activity
    Proximity to other bikeshare stations
    Transportation Master Plan (next five years of stations)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    This is false and unfair to the staff involved in CaBi expansion all of whom are progressive transportation planners and dedicated public servants. Of the city folks that I've interacted with in three different jurisdictions, the staff in Alexandria is by far the best.
    That is good to know. My comment could have been worded better, was not meant to accuse anyone of anything specific. The problem, as identified by the OP here, is sluggishness. What is the source of the sluggishness? If it is not a funding issue, what is it?

    It is certainly not something unique to Alexandria, either. It took years to get the Gravelly Point station (up and running as of today) despite Gravelly Point being so obvious a first-rate desirable spot. Meanwhile, e-scooters dive in and are all over the place within a year (these being of questionable long-term value to me, but that's another issue altogether).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    The non-technical criteria used for site selection in Alexandria are:
    Location Selection for Bikeshare Stations
    Online Interactive Crowdsourcing Map
    Developer contributions
    Community requests and comments (CallClickConnect, Emails, Community meetings)

    Proximity to:
    Metrorail Stations
    Mix-use activity centers
    Existing and potential bicycle activity
    Proximity to other bikeshare stations
    Transportation Master Plan (next five years of stations)
    I certainly wasn't accusing city staff of anything nefarious, but the 11 sites approved in 2017 have presumably met all of the above criteria and still have not been installed. During my most recent conversation with staff, they could not even guarantee that any of the stations will be operating by the time the four-month Metrorail shutdown begins in May, which is a time when city residents will be in desperate need of transportation alternatives.

    Arlington seems to install an equivalent number of CaBi stations every few months, so it's mystifying that Alexandria is so much slower at this. Is Virginia Tech's new campus really going into an area with no Bikeshare service?

    I trust that the city employees working for Complete Streets believe in their program and are committed to its success. So where is the holdup originating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkingva View Post
    ...Is Virginia Tech's new campus really going into an area with no Bikeshare service? ...
    There is a CaBi station two blocks from the VT Innovation Campus.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Sure, on the other side of U.S. 1. And that's the only station even remotely near that site (or the adjoining neighborhoods) without a good hike to the west, south or north.

    Certainly, we will probably see more options in the area when the $1 billion campus is in place. But it's hard to talk about further expansion until the already-approved expansion is carried out, which is why it would be nice to know what is causing the delay. (And if city staff needs the public's support, that would be good to know too.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkingva View Post
    But it's hard to talk about further expansion until the already-approved expansion is carried out, which is why it would be nice to know what is causing the delay. (And if city staff needs the public's support, that would be good to know too.)
    At Monday’s BPAC meeting, City staff provided an update on the 2017 expansion delay. Negotiations over a new contract are nearly complete. While staff would not go into details, the negotiations involve Motivate, Alexandria and VDOT. Most of the money the City uses for funding the purchase of the bikes and stations is Federal money. The disbursement of this money is controlled by VDOT. Once the negotiations are complete, the purchasing process can get started.

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    Thank you for the update.

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    This topic came up again at Monday's meeting of the city's Traffic & Parking Board, where city staff declined to provide an estimate of when the new stations might be installed but one board member said he had heard it could be the summer. The same member said he gets asked about this just about every week.

    Deputy Transportation Director Hillary Orr said the city is still in contract negotiations with VDOT. At one point, during a discussion of how to make sure board members know when their decisions on various issues are implemented, she threw out "April" as a hypothetical target for the CaBi expansion -- although staff quickly clarified, "It wont be April."

    If was an informative discussion, and it was cool to see a member of this forum up on the dais.

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    An update from the city's proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, which was released tonight: The city staff is proposing to fund CaBi with a modest increase, including a $443,908 operating budget (unchanged from 2019) and $402K in capital expenses (up 8.5 percent, but in line with last year's projection for 2020).

    It makes no change in the capital improvement plan for Bikeshare, and says the additional 11 stations approved two years ago will be installed in "summer 2019."

    The council will discuss the capital budget next week, so of course all this is subject to change. But otherwise it looks like the ship may finally be heading in to port.

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    A new update from Alexandria city staff (via Mayor Wilson's office):

    "Recently, the City of Falls Church has received permission to purchase Capital Bikeshare stations and bicycles. T&ES staff is working with the Purchasing Division to ride this contract, and to complete the necessary VDOT paperwork and review. Assuming this coordination goes according to schedule, staff expects to be able to purchase the new stations in June. Typically the vendor Motivate requires six months until installation, which would be this winter. Staff may then wait until Spring 2020 for the actual installation to reduce unnecessary operating costs due to low ridership over the winter. Let me know if you have any other questions." (Emphasis added.)
    This raises all sorts of questions, especially since July will mark the second anniversary of the city selecting eight of the 10 new locations after months of collecting the public's input.

    1) Has the city of Alexandria ever offered a public explanation for why it and VDOT have been unable to resolve their three-year-long dispute about the city's 2016 CaBi RFP and contract, its alleged noncompliance with federal requirements and what it would take to qualify it for federal funding? (VDOT's qualms don't appear to be shared by DDOT, which was part of the same 2016 RFP but keeps merrily adding new Bikeshare stations throughout D.C.) Has this ever been discussed in any public forum? If not, why not?

    2) Will VDOT really let the Alexandria "ride" the Falls Church contract? The department was not so positive about this when city staff was talking about it last summer, and since then VDOT has been insisting that the 10 new sites be subject to a federal environmental review.

    3) Is the city really proposing that once it finally acquires the new stations, it will then wait months before installing anything, until it has been nearly THREE YEARS after selecting the sites and telling the public they were coming?

    4) So when would the city begin the next round of selecting sites for future expansion? Will that also take three years?
    Last edited by bkingva; 05-29-2019 at 06:46 PM.

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