Rep. McCarthy Needs to Check Facts on Bike-Sharing

Yesterday we heard about social conservatives who support a less autocentric transportation policy.

Today, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Adam Voiland at DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner looks at Republican Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy’s scornful remarks about Washington, DC’s use of stimulus funds for what he referred to as "bike racks." As Voiland points out, the money isn’t going to bike racks at all, it’s going to expand the SmartBike DC bike-share program:

1smartbike.jpgNote to Rep. McCarthy: This is much more than just a bike rack.

There’s good reason that District City officials have decided to invest in a bike-sharing program, just as officials in many other major cities around the world have. Namely: creating viable alternative transportation system will help reduce the city’s crushing traffic congestion problems.

Every year, D.C. earns the dubious distinction
of being one of America’s most congested cities. One only needs to
wander downtown or try to get out of the city on one of the main
arteries during rush hour to understand why.  According to a report
from the Texas Transportation Institute, the organization that has
conducted the nation’s longest running study of congestion, the average
District commuters gets delayed in traffic for more than 60 hours per year.

As
we all know, getting caught in traffic is infuriating. Perhaps less
understood is that it’s also expensive. The authors of the same report
conclude that the cost per traveler is more $1,094 per person each
year.  In total, the report concludes, excess traffic costs the DC
region more than $2.3 billion per year. The fewer people in their cars,
in other words, the more money we all save.

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, NC, where for years Republican mayor Pat McCrory put his career on the line to support transit, The Transport Politic reports that funding for more transit might end up being diverted to roads. In Oregon, a vehicular homicide law has died in committee, according to Bike Portland. On a happier note, EcoVelo says these are good times for the bicycle industry.

  • and DC’s bike share plan is only 10% of the size it needs to be for the population. To put racks every 300-400 meters, as is done in every other successful bike share plan around the world, you would need ten times as many racks and bikes – and thats just to cover the urban population. The population more than doubles on weekdays, let alone when there is an event, convention, demonstration, etc.

  • Just want to point out that that’s their Representative McCarthy, not our McCarthy.

  • that is – it needs to be ten times larger than it will be – after they complete the proposed expansion. Even with proposed expansion the fleet will be dwarfed even by trial/demonstration fleets, even here in North America, such as the one Bixi in Montreal, with 3,000 bikes and 300 pay stations at launch.

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