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Campus Notebook: Bikeshare Plans Accelerate on Hill

After nearly two years of stops and starts, security concerns and logistical hurdles, Capital Bikeshare could be coming soon to the Capitol campus.

Program officials say a Bikeshare rental kiosk is on schedule for installation this summer — as early as June — on the corner of D Street and New Jersey Avenue Southeast, outside the Capitol South Metro station.

Capital Bikeshare, run in part by the D.C. Department of Transportation, allows cyclists to rent bicycles and return them to any kiosk in the city. Since its 2010 launch, the program has placed more than 1,200 bikes in more than 140 stations across D.C. and Arlington, Va.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood is already scattered with stations. However, Reps. Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran, Virginia Democrats whose districts are within commuting distance of D.C., have lobbied for kiosks closer to the Capitol.

“Placement of a bicycle sharing station close to, and in plain view of, the [Capitol South] Metro station makes it far more likely that staff and tourists will utilize bike sharing,” they wrote in October to the House Administration Committee.

Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) responded that his staff, the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police first had to make sure a kiosk would not impede “pedestrian access, Bikeshare truck access and Capitol complex security.”

Once all questions were answered and worries assuaged, the next task was readying the site for the kiosk’s installation. The uneven concrete and grass in the area had to be smoothed over.

The Bikeshare bikes would have been in place by now, but priorities shifted and resources went toward installing stations on the National Mall first.

Chris Holben, DDOT’s Capital Bikeshare program manager, said that as far as the Capitol South kiosk is concerned, things are moving quickly.

“We thought at first it was going to have to happen later on this summer, but now we think it could happen in a month,” Holben told Roll Call on Friday.

Connolly, though eager for the kiosks to be ready soon, seemed pleased with the current status of the project.

“DDOT adjusted its priorities to do the five stations on the National Mall first, with tourist season shifting into high gear,” he said. “These are important stations.”

Connolly said that he hoped three Capitol campus Bikeshare kiosks could be installed soon. In addition to the Capitol South station, Connolly and others are eyeing sites at Pennsylvania Avenue and Third Street Southeast as well as at Louisiana Avenue and First Street Northwest.

Holben said the Pennsylvania Avenue location could be outfitted with a kiosk in early fall.

The Louisiana Avenue site is still being negotiated.

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