The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has submitted an application to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for a $1 million grant that will fund a bikesharing system in southern Montgomery County. The bikeshare application to MDOT is the fifth grant submitted by MCDOT over the past three years seeking funding for bikesharing, but the first to the State of Maryland, which announced a bikeshare grant program this November.
The proposed bikeshare program will fund 29 docking stations and 204 bikes between the Beltway and the District of Columbia border, including Friendship Heights (Chevy Chase), Bethesda, the Medical Center Metro area, Takoma Park and Silver Spring. The bikeshare stations would be integrated with the Capital Bikeshare system in Arlington, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, focusing on connecting Metrorail stations in downcounty areas with major employment, residential, commercial and activity centers.
MCDOT has aggressively sought bikeshare grants to leverage County funds and reduce the fiscal impact of the system’s capital and operating costs. The application to MDOT is the first phase of a down-county bikeshare plan, which in turn is part of a larger plan by the County’s transportation department to create a bikesharing system throughout the County.
Montgomery County has been successful in obtaining a $1.3 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant for a bikesharing program in portions of the City of Rockville and Greater Shady Grove Transportation Management District, including the County’s Life Sciences Center. That grant is being provided through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments under the FTA’s Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program to link lower income residents and employees with jobs and job training. The City of Rockville is partnering with the County to provide matching funds and implement the program. The Rockville/Shady Grove bikesharing program will eventually be connected with the proposed down-county system as it expands.
Public input on possible station locations was solicited at a public meeting held in November, through email, a crowdsourcing map, other meetings and public communications.
The new bikesharing application requests 80 percent grant funding for capital facilities. The County would be responsible for the remaining 20 percent local match, which is coming from private sector sources. The County also will be responsible for operating and maintenance costs, some of which are expected to be offset by revenues from membership and usage fees.
MDOT is expected to announce grant awards in early 2012.
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