Capital Bikeshare stations could be up and running in Montgomery County as early as the end of the summer, and residents of Rockville and areas to the north can find out about the stations planned near their homes at a public meeting June 26.
Capital Bikeshare stations allow patrons to rent bikes for short trips and return them to another station. The system is already in Washington, D.C., and Arlington and Alexandria, Va. Plans for the pilot program call for about 50 Capital Bikeshare stations in three areas in the county, including 21 in the Rockville area.
Al Roshdieh, deputy director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, said one of the goals of expanding bikeshare is to get people out of single-occupancy vehicles and onto bikes.
“We are very excited about this system,” he said. “We have been working hard for a long time — for years — to get where we are.”
Much of the funding for bringing Capital Bikeshare to Montgomery County comes from a federal grant to improve bikeshare access to households with lower incomes, said Anne Root, the department’s bikeshare program manager. The grant is targeted to areas around Rockville, including the area around the Shady Grove Metro station.
“The focus is to help lower-income workers make their commutes to work and/or job training using bikeshare,” she said.
The bikeshare roll-out will offer some free memberships to lower-income families who live, work or go to job training in the Shady Grove area, although the eligibility details are still being worked out. Information about eligibility should be available at a public meeting in Rockville June 26.
The county will also offer safety training, route planning and free bike helmets for those receiving free memberships, as well as training and a helmet purchase program for other bikeshare users.
Many of the proposed station sites are near Metro stations or in planned communities like Fallsgrove and King Farm in Rockville, but others are further out from the Metro Red Line in more residential areas, like those on Crabbs Branch Way or Needwood Road in Derwood. Root said part of the reason for that is the federal grant program, which helped determine where to place stations.
“The idea is that you could get to a bikeshare station and then bike to your office” or a Metro station, Root said.
In addition to federal funds, Rockville has pledged to contribute $300,000 over three years, developers are pitching in about $250,000 and a state Department of Transportation grant is funding equipment purchases for bikeshare networks in Bethesda and Silver Spring, Root said. Operating costs are supported by the county, Roshdieh said.
Although the pilot program only includes bikeshare stations in Bethesda, Silver Spring and the northern end of Rockville, Roshdieh said the county eventually hopes to expand the network to other areas, including White Flint and Wheaton. Root said the plan is to start building a network downcounty, nearer to the stations already established in the District, and to build out from there.
The first Capital Bikeshare stations are expected to be installed sometime toward the end of this summer.
A public meeting to discuss the Capital Bikeshare expansion into the Rockville and Shady Grove area is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. June 26 in the Executive Office Building’s lobby auditorium, 101 Monroe St. in Rockville. To learn more about bikeshare plans in Montgomery County and to see maps of proposed stations, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/bikeshare.