Expect to see more suited cyclists whizzing through rush-hour traffic in the coming weeks. Mayor Adrian Fenty, D. C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and other local officials teamed up Monday amid a backdrop of vibrant mass of red bikes to announce the launch of Capital Bikeshare, a long-anticipated system of transportation for commuters throughout the region.
“What a glorious morning for a bike ride,” said Fenty, an avid cyclist, of the Sept. 20 launching. “What we have been able to accomplish and launch here today will be a legacy for a healthier, more vibrant city providing options for travelers looking for an alternate way to travel throughout the region now and for future generations.”
Deployment of the project’s first phase included hundreds of bike enthusiasts from the District as well as Maryland and Northern Virginia, descending upon newly installed stations located throughout the District and Arlington, Va. All totaled, 1,100 bikes are slated for full operation by late October.
District Department of Transportation chief Gabe Klein described the launch as a fantastic day for the region. “By the end of October, residents, visitors, employees and commuters will be able to pick up a bike in over 100 locations throughout D.C. and Arlington and use it to go all over the area,” said Klein. “It is not only bike sharing; it is a new bike transportation network.”
Klein added that the installation of bike lanes, bike signals and the Bikeshare program will provide users with safer routes as well as more options for moving about the region.
The $6 million federally-funded program, for which more than 1,200 people have already signed up, is similar to a system that has been based in Canada since 2009.
The first 30 minutes of each bike trip are free, and information on membership options, which start at $5 for 24 hours, is available at www.Capitalbikeshare.com.