CaBi stations surround Georgetown but avoid the neighborhood. Map from Capital Bikeshare.

Georgetown’s 4 Capital Bikeshare stations surround the neighborhood, but avoid the residential area and its 8,500 residents entirely.  Tonight, the ANC will discuss the possibility of expanding CaBi into the neighborhood.

If you want to see more CaBi stations in the Georgetown neighborhood, it’s important for you to show up and tell the ANC why you want CaBi stations that are convenient for Georgetowners.

When a CaBi station was proposed for the Car Barn on Prospect St, which would have been convenient for students and residents, a “loose coalition of homeowners” told their ANC commissioner that they opposed it.  They cited concerns “about more noise and parking—that people might park nearby just to use the bike station.”

Even though none of the homeowners felt strongly enough to subsequently attend an ANC meeting to oppose the Car Barn location, and I showed up and spoke in support of it, all but the GU student commissioner voted down the location.

To the ANC’s credit, they are nonetheless open to other locations which would be convenient for Georgetowners.  After all, 1 in 25 Georgetowners commute by bike.

The meeting begins at 6:30 pm at the Georgetown Visitation School, 35th and Volta Place, Heritage Room, first building on the left by the gatehouse, 2nd floor.

A few locations have been proposed:

Current (red) and suggested (white) Capital Bikeshare stations. Image from Google Maps.

Volta Park:  This city park on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue has a parking lot with 5 parking spots for DCPR use only.  The 2 spots furthest into the park, abutting the basketball court, would be a fine CaBi location.

On each side of the parking lot are small flower beds with footpaths that, surprise, are never used because a parking lot was dropped in between them.  Furthermore, residents are well aware that there are rarely any permitted cars in the parking lot, which is primarily used illegally by drivers who know DCPR doesn’t ever tow cars.

A CaBi location would thus make the main entrance to Volta Park more enjoyable as well as safer for children, while providing the amenity of bike sharing for Georgetowners in the West Village.

Rose Park: This NPS park is ideally situated for a CaBi location with a path that connects Georgetown and Dupont Circle.  The station would go on the part of the asphalt that isn’t marked for basketball.

Controversy around this potential location comes from the Friends of Rose Park, who have waged a 10-year campaign to designate the path a footpath and not a multiuse path that bikers can share.  Fortunately, the NPS has steadfastly refused this request.

As this location is closest to the rest of DC, a CaBi station in Rose Park would probably have the biggest impact on reducing car traffic.  And it would provide a nice amenity for residents of the East Village.

Montrose Park:  A CaBi station could be placed in the playground space of the Jackson School and Arts Center across R Street from Montrose Park. 

While there is less density in this northeast corner of Georgetown, this could mean less opposition as well.  It would be difficult for residents to argue that the noise of bikers entering the Jackson School and Arts Center lot is a nuisance.

Can’t make the meeting?  Find your ANC commissioner using this ANC map and email him before the meeting expressing your desire for CaBi stations that are more convenient for residents.

Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son.  Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.