Five Capital Bikeshare locations could be added to the National Mall, the first foray for the popular bike-sharing mode at Washington's most visited landmarks.
The National Park Service began seeking public input Tuesday on five proposed sites for bike share stations clustered around the National Mall, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and the Washington Monument.
"The National Park Service is moving forward in order to work with and find locations to accommodate Capital Bikeshare on the National Mall," spokesman Bill Line told The Washington Examiner.
|Want to weigh in?|
|The National Park Service is seeking public comments on a proposal to add five Capital Bikeshare stations to the National Mall at the following locations:|
|• Smithsonian Metro station entrance area on the Mall|
|• Lincoln Memorial area, on Lincoln Memorial Circle between 23rd street and Daniel French Drive|
|• Jefferson Memorial area, south of East Basin Drive|
|• Washington Monument area, Jefferson Drive between 14th and 15th streets|
|• FDR/MLK Memorial area, Ohio Drive at West Basin Drive|
|To comment, submit them by fax: (202) 426-1835 (ATTN: Eliza Voigt, Capital Bikeshare) or online at parkplanning.nps.gov/Capitalbikeshare|
|The comment period closes Dec. 28.|
The proposals are a sharp turnaround for the park service, which has limited which transportation could be based at its parks. Pedi-cabs, taxis and the DC Circulator have been limited in how close to the Mall they can operate. That also has kept the growing Capital Bikeshare system from venturing inside park service sites such as Lincoln Park, McPherson Square, along the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mall.
But Line disagreed, saying the service has been considering adding bike share stations to its crown jewel, the Mall, for a while.
"There was talk and consideration of it all along," Line said. "We needed to figure out how best to implement it."
He said the service could consider adding stations along the George Washington Memorial Parkway's Mount Vernon Trail or other locations in the future.
The proposal represents a coup for Capital Bikeshare and the District.
"We're very excited about the possibility of adding stations on the Mall. We have some right outside it and we're adding more," District Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle said. "We'd love to help people get to the attractions around the Mall."
It's not clear when the stations could open -- or whether cherry blossom peepers could count on using bike share stations this spring. Line said the service will carefully review the comments but does not face any regulatory timeline on when it makes its decision.
"The public safety is first and foremost paramount," he said.
But Lisle said the District is hoping to add the stations as part of a 50-station expansion planned for 2012.
The new sites could help Capital Bikeshare's finances by further tapping the lucrative tourism market. The first 30 minutes for members are free, encouraging locals to use the bikes on quick jaunts, but the fees climb substantially the longer people ride the bikes. A three-hour trip, for example, costs up to $45 for a single-day user. "It could be a moneymaker because obviously those stations would cater more to visitors and tourists at the Mall," Lisle said.