20 Sep

Mr. Wells, Tear Down this Bike Station!

Capital Bikeshare Bikes

Photo by Mr. T in DC on Flickr

Today marks the one year anniversary of Capitol Bikeshare, the nation’s largest public bike sharing system (at least until those laggards up in New York finally catch up). Which means it’s been a bit under a year that residents of Lincoln Park have had to suffer the cruel indignity of having 15 bikes foisted upon them.

No longer do children run and play on what was once an idyllic bricked-over traffic island. No longer do Maryland drivers (and quite a few of you jackasses) blindly whip around the northeast corner of the Park. No longer can the neighbors of Lincoln Park enjoy the sleepy quiet of our urban oasis.

It’s gone, all gone, buried under the oppressive weight of a solar powered station and 15 docks. The station’s eye piercing ugliness has forever destroyed the aesthetics designed by L’Enfant himself. You might as well block out the sun with overhead streetcar wires. The horror, the mundane horror!

Seriously though, does anyone else remember back a year or so when we were actually debating this? When people showed up in droves at ANC meetings (well, by ANC meeting standards) for this issue? When blogs and listservs were clogged by this discussion? Hell, people even got in shoving matches and told each other to “fuck off”!

People, or a least the small but vocal subset that had objections, feared that speeding cars would hit users crossing the street to get to their bikes. Bikers, apparently notoriously filthy, would leave trash lying about. Children would be confused by the shiny red bikes and run out into traffic (but somehow not the actual playground equipment in the park?). Vandals would prey upon the bikes, slashing tires and other tomfoolery. Turning tractor trailers would lose the space needed to turn. Rebalancing vans would create havoc, blocking traffic and causing backed up cars to destroy residents quality of life with their incessant honking. Finally, somehow, Capitol Hill’s residential neighborhood was thought to be “not dense enough” to support a bike sharing program.

In light of that last objection, it’s particularly humorous to find that the main issue surrounding the Lincoln Park station is that it’s been too successful. Users often find that bikes are taken fairly early in the morning, or that the station is “dockblocked” in late afternoon. Rather than showing that Capitol Hill can’t support this system, it illustrates that the system is still too small for our neighborhood. Increasing capacity, in both bikes and docks, is critical for usability of the system and is, fortunately, on the way.

But what about the rest? Did any of it materialize?

According to DDOT Project Manager Chris Holben, aside from the issue surrounding the lack of bikes, the only specific complaint is from a neighbor on 13th St NE. 13th is a one way northbound street, and approaching the Park from the north can be difficult. People are riding the bike lane southbound, into oncoming traffic, both auto and bike. Mr. Holben acknowledges the issue of approaching from the north, but stresses that “even if there is a bike lane you have to ride the right way.”

So there we go folks, no complaints of trash, of vandalism, of noisy vans dropping off bikes. No children run over chasing after shiny bikes. No swarms of rats depressing property values.

Don’t we all feel a little silly now? Maybe we all want to take a deep breath the next time a “critical issue” comes up?

And for good measure, stop riding the wrong way down one way streets, folks!

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  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    The same could be applied to almost every other planning issue in the city, it seems. A vocal group fights like hell to keep the status quo. If we’re lucky, a change is instituted, and things get better. A short period of time later, everyone looks around and says, “What the hell was the big deal, anyway?”

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    • ibc

      You’ve just described conservativism–and reactionary mindset in general. Oh no! [Slaves will be free|blacks/women will get the right to vote/work|homosexuals can't be jailed/can serve in the military/can get married]! It’s the end of the world!”

      And a year or two later, it’s “Well, of course, no one objects to that! It’s common sense!”

      It’s a story as old as time.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    The same could be applied to almost every other planning issue in the city, it seems. A vocal group fights like hell to keep the status quo. If we’re lucky, a change is instituted, and things get better. A short period of time later, everyone looks around and says, “What the hell was the big deal, anyway?”

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve just described conservativism–and reactionary mindset in general. Oh no! [Slaves will be free|blacks/women will get the right to vote/work|homosexuals can't be jailed/can serve in the military/can get married]! It’s the end of the world!”

      And a year or two later, it’s “Well, of course, no one objects to that! It’s common sense!”

      It’s a story as old as time.

  • http://twitter.com/marybindc marybindc

    I’m still tempted to run out into the street to the shiny bikes every time I see them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JLTEQX4LVW3QLP2Q7X3J3566YA Christopher

    I’ve wanted for quite some time to make each of the most vocal people in those meetings stand in a corner with a dunce cap on the head for a few hours.

  • Rukasu

    NIMBYism at it’s finest

  • Anonymous

    NIMBYism at it’s finest

  • Anonymous

    Love that BikeShare, and oh yeah do I remember those foolish arguments.

  • Anonymous

    this was a cruel and inappropriate article. Chris Holben did everything he could to have neighbors hate each other. He intentionally misprepresented neighbors views to get people to hate each other. And for the record, the F word was never said. I contacted the blogger about this since I am the partner of the person who was shoved and physically assaulted. We lived in fear of our neighbor for months. The words used were screw you after a stupid claim it is a nine block walk to safeway from lincoln park. The only reason I did not go public about it was Pam’s comments (the wife fo the physically abusive man) stating he never had gotten that angry and shoved someone outside their home. I worry about her safety every day. Can we please stop trying to get peopel to hate each other? This was totally inappropriate comments.

  • Anonymous

    this was a cruel and inappropriate article. Chris Holben did everything he could to have neighbors hate each other. He intentionally misprepresented neighbors views to get people to hate each other. And for the record, the F word was never said. I contacted the blogger about this since I am the partner of the person who was shoved and physically assaulted. We lived in fear of our neighbor for months. The words used were screw you after a stupid claim it is a nine block walk to safeway from lincoln park. The only reason I did not go public about it was Pam’s comments (the wife fo the physically abusive man) stating he never had gotten that angry and shoved someone outside their home. I worry about her safety every day. Can we please stop trying to get peopel to hate each other? This was totally inappropriate comments.

  • Anonymous

    this was a cruel and inappropriate article. Chris Holben did everything he could to have neighbors hate each other. He intentionally misprepresented neighbors views to get people to hate each other. And for the record, the F word was never said. I contacted the blogger about this since I am the partner of the person who was shoved and physically assaulted. We lived in fear of our neighbor for months. The words used were screw you after a stupid claim it is a nine block walk to safeway from lincoln park. The only reason I did not go public about it was Pam’s comments (the wife fo the physically abusive man) stating he never had gotten that angry and shoved someone outside their home. I worry about her safety every day. Can we please stop trying to get peopel to hate each other? This was totally inappropriate comments.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for adding this grace note to an excellent article. If you didn’t exist, some talented author would have to invent you. Kudos!

    • ibc

      Thanks for adding this grace note to an excellent article. If you didn’t exist, some talented author would have to invent you. Kudos!

    • http://www.dclikealocal.com Tim Krepp

      F-word or screw you, the semantic difference is slight.

      But moving past the antics of last year, how has the station changed the quality of life in and around Lincoln Park? Whatever the projected negative externalities, and however they were portrayed, have we seen ANY of them come true?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JLTEQX4LVW3QLP2Q7X3J3566YA Christopher

        Of course we have. Have you forgotten already the countless dead children who couldn’t resist running out into traffic because of the shiny bikes?

        For shame.

    • http://www.dclikealocal.com Tim Krepp

      F-word or screw you, the semantic difference is slight.

      But moving past the antics of last year, how has the station changed the quality of life in and around Lincoln Park? Whatever the projected negative externalities, and however they were portrayed, have we seen ANY of them come true?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JLTEQX4LVW3QLP2Q7X3J3566YA Christopher

        Of course we have. Have you forgotten already the countless dead children who couldn’t resist running out into traffic because of the shiny bikes?

        For shame.

  • http://twitter.com/Fisk202 Stephen Gardner

    I absolutely love the comment by Lincoln Park. It is exactly what the article was talking about. Upper class angst at it’s finest. Clearly we can not write articles about hilarious nimbyism, because someone will have their feelings hurt.

    We can’t laugh at the excuses made to try to keep bikeshare off the Hill, because… well, the CHILDREN, and of course by mocking the Hill nimbyism, we are supporting spousal abuse. Shame on us.

    I want to frame this.

  • http://twitter.com/Fisk202 Stephen Gardner

    I absolutely love the comment by Lincoln Park. It is exactly what the article was talking about. Upper class angst at it’s finest. Clearly we can not write articles about hilarious nimbyism, because someone will have their feelings hurt.

    We can’t laugh at the excuses made to try to keep bikeshare off the Hill, because… well, the CHILDREN, and of course by mocking the Hill nimbyism, we are supporting spousal abuse. Shame on us.

    I want to frame this.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me but there are a couple things you miss.. It was never NIMBYISM. We actually proposed putting in 100 bikes just 25 feet away but that was too dangerous according to bike share. Apparently you can have bikes pull out into traffic at metro center and it is safe but not at lincoln park’s 13th stree extra lane? Really? We tried to find solutions. And yes the quality of life as improved because we got rid of the bad traffic issues by having crosswalks and two speed bumps installed instead of the one speed bump an no traffic crosswalks. Do people still have close calls with cars? You betcha – two people and thier dog just missed getting hit two weeks ago. A cyclist almost got hit just the other day. A truck used the island to make a sharp turn back in August. Are the bikes a good thing? You betcha. NEVER WAS AGAINST the bike system. But you wouldn’t have known that from Chris’ statements to the community! And FOR THE RECORD. Mr. Holben stated the bikes could NEVER have been placed on that triangle since the man hole cover placment would not have allowed it. Why did he not say this until the very end? Because he needed people like you to shout others down, people who only wanted to express their opinion. It was never about not having the bikes. Just where to place them. Can you even accept that or are you still going to twist our words and call it NIMBYISM because you don’t like what we said. I still think they should use the lane against the park (ON THE SE SIDE) for bikes. We would and always have welcomed that location. It used to be parking and has never been used for traffic patterns. You could fit 100 bikes there.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QNETIG2W62RQN5ALG3ZMDWIFOE Nadine

    Wow, crazy then, crazy now.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QNETIG2W62RQN5ALG3ZMDWIFOE Nadine

    Wow, crazy then, crazy now.