City Receives $375K State Grant for Bike-Share Program
The system could be implemented within a year.
College Park will receive a $375,000 state grant to cover most of the cost for eight Capital Bikeshare stations in the city, which could be operational in about a year.
Commuters will be able to rent a bike from one station and return it to any other station, either in College Park, Washington or Arlington.
Planning Director Terry Schum said she expects the program to play a key role in getting commuters to consider alternative transportation options, adding that Bikeshare is well-suited for the home city of the University of Maryland.
“It’s sort of a no brainer with the college,” she said.
Sophomore Brooke Rosenblatt wasn’t confident she would use the bike-share program, but said that students who live on campus without a car might find the option appealing.
As for those with cars, some might opt to use the bike-sharing program for short trips, but—“It depends on how conveniently located to the person the stations are,” she said.
College Park has been laying the groundwork for a bike-share program for years, Schum said, reserving city funds and making attempts to secure additional funding through the Maryland Heritage Areas of Authority and federal grants. All applications were denied, until this week.
The Maryland Department of Transportation announced multiple recipients for Maryland Bikeshare Program grants on Tuesday in a press release.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Schum said.
According to the city's grant application, four of the College Park stations will be located on the UMd. campus: Regents Drive parking garage, Stamp Student Union, McKeldin Library and the Eppley Recreation Center. The remaining four will be installed at the College Park Metro Station, downtown near the Knox Road and U.S. Route 1 intersection, The Varsity student apartments and the Hollywood Shopping Center. A total of 64 bikes will be available, according to the grant application.
The grant will cover 80 percent of the total project cost of $468,724, which includes installation, equipment and operation. UMd. and the City of College Park will split the remaining 20 percent—$46,872 each, according to the application.
The city has $25,000 in a Capital Improvement Program fund reserved for the bike-share program, Senior Planner Elisa Vitale said.
Subsidies from new city construction projects will help defray the city’s tab. Developers for the Domain apartments and The Varsity, for example, entered into formal agreements with the city to provide $31,000 and $10,000, respectively, at the time of seeking building permits. The developers also agreed to choose a location on the projects’ sites where a bike station could be installed, Schum said.
She said she expected the program could be up and running in a year, though she did not have a more specific timeline.
In addition to commuting within the city, riders will be able to share bikes between any of the other stations in Washington and Arlington that are a part of the Capital Bikeshare network, which has 1,200 bikes in 140 stations, according to the website. To use the bikes, riders must first choose one of five membership options: 24-hour, three-day, 30-day, annual or monthly payments of $7. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, and each additional half-hour requires a fee, dependent upon the membership type.
Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Frederick City, Howard County, and joint partners of Prince George’s County and Greenbelt all received grants through MDOT to use toward either a feasibility study or implementation of bike sharing, according to the release. The Maryland Bikeshare Program will divvy $2.5 million this year for a variety of bike-sharing projects.
Wondering how the bike shop owners in College Park would feel about a bike-share program in the city? Find out what they told Patch in 2010, when the city was still seeking funds.