All photos by the author.

Metro riders now have the option to use secure bike parking at the College Park station. At a grand opening today, WMATA officials welcomed riders to the new indoor storage facility.

The new “bike and ride” facility is located in the bottom level of the parking garage at the College Park station. This area was originally set aside for future retail, and has now been config­ured to accommodate parking for approximately 120 bicycles.

At the opening, Deputy General Manager Carol Kissal announced that by next summer, Metro would be opening new bike and ride facilities at Vienna and King Street stations, and hopes to expand the program further.

For WMATA, increasing secure bike storage is an obvious choice. The facility at College Park currently can handle 120 bicycles, but parking capacity can be doubled with the installation of more double-decker racks. The facility takes up about the same amount of space as 10 car parking spaces, according to officials.

WMATA is trying to encourage more people to bike to their stations, and providing a secure place to park is an important aspect of achieving that goal. By 2020, the agency hopes to triple the number of people cycling to their stations.

The entrance kiosk at the new Bike and Ride.

Parking costs 5 cents per hour during the day and 2 cents per hour overnight. Riders gain access to the facility and pay for parking with an access card from a company called BikeLink. There are no annual fees, only a one-time $5 fee for customer ID verification.

BikeLink will manage the facility for WMATA, and has the incentive to encourage bicycling to the station, since they take home the revenue generated by the facility. WMATA will win by getting additional rail and bus fare revenue from those who chose to College Park because of the facility.

WMATA chose College Park for the pilot program because it’s already one of the top stations for cycling. In the 2011 bike parking census, it came out in third place systemwide. Additionally, the space in the garage was available, and a third of people parking at the station come from three miles away or less, which means many are already within biking distance.

Parking at the bike and ride.

Also demonstrating their commitment to bicycling, Kissal, Assistant General Manager Nat Bottigheimer, and several other WMATA employees biked to College Park from the WMATA headquarters near Judiciary Square. This facility is a great addition to the Metro network and promises to be the first of many similar secure bicycle parking areas around Metro.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.