Last fall, a curved glass bicycle parking structure opened for business in the middle of the ramp between Washington’s famous Union Station and the landmark old post office. The $4 million project represents the center of its commitment to using bicycle and alternative transportation to solve parking and congestion problems throughout the city.
City officials began planning the project six years ago to complement the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) efforts to support safe bicycle travel in the city. “It wasn’t enough to just provide people with miles of bike lanes and trails. We also needed to give them a secure, safe, convenient place to park their bikes that was central to public transportation,” says Jim Sebastian, DDOT supervisory transportation planner.
The Bikestation was designed and constructed by DDOT with the help of architects at locally based KGP Design Studio, engineers at Pasadena, Calif.-based Parsons Transportation and Long Beach, Calif.-based Mobis Transportation/Bikestation. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) funded 80 percent of the project, which was matched by 20 percent local support. The Union Station Redevelopment Corp. (USRC) donated the site. The project required coordination between DDOT, the FHA, the USRC and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration.
The 2,000-square-foot station offers secure, digital access parking for 133 bikes, bicycle rentals, changing rooms, repairs and accessories. Local bicycle rental company Bike and Roll staffs the facility, providing all the rental, repair and retail services without charge to DDOT. The transit center operates on a membership system, and members can access the station at any time of day or night with their electronic key fobs, which also give them access to other Bikestations throughout the U.S. The station provides parking for approximately 300 members. Mobis/Bikestation also administers the membership and access systems for DDOT, and membership revenues help offset ongoing fees.
Since the station opened, nearly half of the memberships have been sold. “We have the support of a very active cycling community in D.C., but we’re also seeing growth among more transportation-oriented users,” Sebastian says.
Project: Bicycle parking and rental facility
Agency: District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Companies involved: Long Beach, Calif.-based Mobis Transportation/Bikestation; locally based KGP Design Studio; Pasadena, Calif.-based Parsons Transportation; locally based Bike and Roll
Cost: $4 million
Date opened: October 2009