Hyattsville. Photo by Mr T in DC on Flickr.

Last week, I argued that that Capital Bikeshare can and should be as integral DC’s suburbs as it has become to the city. One suburb well-suited for such a transformation is the city of Hyattsville.

Much of this Prince George’s County city of about 17,500 is highly conducive to biking already. It boasts quiet streets with slow traffic, bike paths and parks, and numerous destinations at convenient biking distances from residents and transit stations.

West Hyattsville already has the highest bicycle mode share of any Metro station. It is a prime candidate to become a bike sharing hub.

2 Metro stations and a MARC (Camden Line) station serve Hyattsville. Unfortunately, none of these stations serve the core downtown area along Route 1 near EYA’s Hyattsville Arts District development. It and three other shopping centers have a healthy mix of retail and residential, but the Metro, MARC, and several bus lines do not converge at any one of them.

College Park Metro, a few miles north, is such a hub. Unfortunately, it is surrounded by spread-out office parks and low-density residential. If bike sharing existed throughout Hyattsville, it would enable travelers to reach all major destinations in the city from any mode of mass transit without neccessitating a transfer up in College Park.

Though potential exists to create a highly bike-friendly environment across Hyattsville, infrastructure improvements would be neccessary along the axes connecting West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, Riverdale Park, and the Hyattsville Arts District. A simple fix would be to add bike lanes or a cycle track to Queens Chapel Road, which was restriped a few years ago from a

four six-lane road to a two

four-lane one.

Making this a bike corridor would directly connect West Hyattsville to Prince George’s Plaza and Riverdale Park. This, along with bike lanes along Route 1, Jefferson Street, and Queensbury/Belcrest Road would form a bicycle network that would connect all major destinations within the city.

Certainly the transit stations would be top candidates for Capital Bikeshare station locations if the system were to come to Hyattsville. Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville Metro stations are obvious, but Riverdale MARC and a future Purple Line station in nearby Riverdale Park are also prime contenders.

CaBi stations at University Town Center, the Arts District, the Mall at Prince George’s, and shops along major roads would grant transit users convenient access to retail. Civic institutions such as schools, the District Courthouse, and major parks could also host stations. Fill in the gaps with stations in in the heart of residential areas, and a bike share network in Hyattsville might look a little something like this:

Click for an interactive version.

By virtue of the city’s permeable street grid layout, the excess roadway on Queens Chapel Road, and its multiple transit, shopping, residential, and other destinations, Hyattsville might be the best place in the DC area to set up a suburban bike sharing network. Assuming Capital Bikeshare expansion within the District brings the system up Rhode Island Avenue towards Mount Rainier, this system could help link the entire Route 1 corridor together while reducing congestion along this well-traveled route.