The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board today approved a $1.3 million grant to Montgomery County, in partnership with the City of Rockville, to establish a bikesharing pilot program that will bring 200 bicycles and 20 stations to the Rockville and Shady Grove areas.
The pilot project will test:
• Whether bikesharing is feasible in suburban centers outside a central city setting; and
• Whether bikesharing can provide another transportation option to low-income residents and employees.
If successful, the program would have broad application throughout the metropolitan area.
“Bikesharing can be a cost-effective way to provide better transportation connections to low-income residents, many of whom hold multiple jobs and try to participate in job training programs,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “By providing low-cost, efficient and readily available transportation linkages to home and employment and education sites, the bikeshare program should significantly expand opportunities and improve the quality of life for all our residents. We hope this bikesharing pilot project will prove to be a great success.”
The bikesharing program is one of eight regional projects receiving funds under the Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program from the Federal Transit Administration. JARC funds must be used to improve mobility options for low-income commuters. Low-income workers who meet program guidelines will receive a free, one-year bikeshare membership; coverage for a certain level of user fees; a bike helmet; training classes in bicycle use and safety; and assistance with routing on safe bicycle routes.
“We are thrilled about partnering with Montgomery County on this project,” said Rockville City Manager Scott Ullery. “Our growing network of biking infrastructure and access to three Metro stations makes Rockville the perfect place for a pilot.”
Proposed locations for the bikeshare stations include the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations; Rockville Town Center; other employment centers along Maryland Route 355/Rockville Pike; the City of Rockville; the Shady Grove area; Montgomery College, Rockville campus; The Universities at Shady Grove; and Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County campus.
Additional project partners are the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; City of Gaithersburg; MontgomeryWorks; Montgomery College; The Universities at Shady Grove; Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County campus; Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.
Capital Bikeshare, the current operator of the bikeshare program in the District of Columbia and Arlington County, will also provide the equipment and services to run Montgomery County’s program. It will be responsible for maintenance of bicycles, station infrastructure, redistribution of bikes and insurance costs. The program is expected to begin next year.
The JARC grant will provide $1.288 million in funding. The County’s local match will be $488,000, covering some capital purchases and operating costs for two years. The City of Rockville will also provide $200,000 in local matching funds. Other capital costs to complete streetscape improvements or bike path links would be paid by the project partners.
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