College Park commuters soon could have an alternate way to get around the city when U.S. 1 traffic is at a standstill.
The city and the University of Maryland, College Park, are receiving $375,000 from the state Department of Transportation to put toward a $475,000 project to install eight Capital Bikeshare bicycle rental stations throughout the city and the university campus. The project could be completed with 18 months, and the city and university will be required to provide $100,000 toward the project.
“It’s important to connect destinations, so we’re putting stations where people are going” said Terry Schum, director of planning for College Park, adding there likely will be four stations on campus and four off-campus sites.
Schum said she is hopeful the program will provide an alternative form of transportation, both for students and other College Park residents and visitors.
Possible off-campus locations include College Park Metro station, City Hall on Knox Road, The Varsity student housing on U.S. 1, and the Hollywood commercial district on Rhode Island Avenue, Schum said.
On campus locations could be installed at Eppley Recreation Center, McKeldin Library, the Regents Drive parking garage and the Stamp Student Union, Schum said.
Capital Bikeshare operates more than 1,200 bikes at 140 stations in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va. according to Capital Bikeshare’s website.
Bikes are docked at stations and can be rented by Bikeshare members and returned to other stations. Bikers can purchase memberships on an annual, monthly or daily basis, ranging from $7 to $84.
Greenbelt and Prince George’s County also are receiving $60,000 for a feasibility study on expanding the program into other areas of the county.
Fred Shaffer, chairman of the Prince George’s County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group, said the county will focus the study on the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area inside the Capital Beltway, which includes Hyattsville, Riverdale, Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston. The area was chosen because it is adjacent to Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, which also has received funds to implement a Bikeshare program, and its network of trails, Shaffer said.
“This is the first step to see how [Bikeshare] can work in Prince George’s County,” Shaffer said. “We’ll figure out how we can best fill in gaps to connect College Park and Montgomery County and D.C.”
The study will lay out possible locations for bike stations and how the operation and maintenance of the program will be funded, whether by the county or by municipalities, Shaffer said.
In Greenbelt, the study will focus on linking up to the pending network in College Park.
“We envision the potential for an East-West network linking up with College Park,” said Jaime Fearer, a Greenbelt community planner.
Fearer added a major component of the feasibility study would be community outreach, including public meetings, to determine where stations could best meet the needs of cyclists in the city, but she did not know when that outreach or meetings would begin.