Montgomery County seeks to add bikesharing along Red Line

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Local,DC,Maryland,Virginia,Transportation,Kytja Weir
Montgomery County is looking at joining the burgeoning Capital Bikeshare system by adding multiple stations along both legs of the Red Line.

The county is trying to put stations around the Metro stops inside the Capital Beltway, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton, Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Medical Center. It already plans to add stations clustered around the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stops.

The effort is the latest push to expand the year-old Capital Bikeshare system, which started in the District and Arlington. By the end of the year, it will have expanded by one-third, said Capital Bikeshare General Manager Eric Gilliland.

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Montgomery County is holding an open house on its plans to expand the Capital Bikeshare program along both legs of Metro's Red Line from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 in the lobby auditorium of the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St. in Rockville.

Alexandria is also poised to add stations. Fairfax County officials toured Arlington's system this summer. And College Park and the University of Maryland have discussed adding them in Prince George's County.

"The goal right from the start was to be able to expand to other jurisdictions in the metropolitan area," said Paul DeMaio, who helped start the system and now manages it for Arlington County.

The question for cash-strapped Montgomery County comes down to money: about $50,000 to add each station and another $25,000 in annual operating costs.

The county won a $1.3 million federal grant to put 20 stations and 200 bikes around Rockville and Shady Grove. It also is seeking money as part of a regional application for federal stimulus money to add 10 stations around the Forest Glen Metro stop. For the rest, it is applying to the state for a share of federal clean air funding. And it's trying to get developers interested in making space and financial contributions, said Gary Erenrich, one of Montgomery County's point people on the bikesharing effort.

"Right now it is a hodgepodge," Erenrich said.

Already, 1,313 of Capital Bikeshare's approximately 19,500 registered users live in Maryland, though no bike share stations are located there, Gilliland said.

The county is hosting an open house next week to find out where residents would like to see stations added. No dates are set on when riders could pick up the distinctive red bikes.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

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