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Capital Bikeshare expected in county by next spring

CBS StationLocationsHYATTSVILLE – When the county finished its bike share presentation to the Hyattsville City Council, Councilwoman Shani Warner had just one question: do residents really have to wait a year?

Karyn McAlister, the bicycle and pedestrian program manager with the county, gave a presentation to the Hyattsville City Council on April 3 about the upcoming addition of bike sharing to the county. The county has selected Capital Bikeshare for the county program and stations are anticipated as early as spring of 2018.

“We are beginning our station site-ing this spring and into the summer,” McAlister said

Over the past two years, Prince George’s County initiated and held a feasibility study to launch a bike share program. Since the completion of the study, the county has been working on developing a phased plan for an area of 36 square miles that includes the county’s hubs, such as National Harbor, cities bordering the District of Columbia like Mount Rainier, and transit areas such as Hyattsville.

“As you may know, bike share is an excellent compliment to transit. It provides that first mile, last mile connection on a commute for an individual,” McAlister said.

Hyattsville is in Phase 1 of the rollout of the Capital Bikeshare program in Prince George’s County, and McAlister came before the council to discuss the partnership and what role the city will play in the process.

Several locations within the city were identified as potential locations for bike share stations and the approved final site plan for the Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro development must include a proposed site for a bike share station. The city will likely engage in talks about specific locations this fall, according to council documents.

“(Site-ing) specifications and land ownership considerations will determine the exact location of stations within the city. City staff will brief the council in Fall 2017 on specific recommended locations prior to the locations being finalized for Spring 2018 installation,” a council memo reads.

Overall, the county plans to install 67 stations and 670 bikes over the next several years in five phases. The first phase will include 25 stations with 250 bikes throughout parts of Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Riverdale Park, Cottage City, Colmar Manor, Bladensburg and National Harbor.

“The county’s plan is to roll out Phase 1 and 1a next spring, 2018. Phase 2 is anticipated in 2019 and would coincide with M Bike’s contract expiring,” McAlister said, explaining that the expansion into College Park would be at the same time the current bike share program in the city is set to expire.

This means there is potential to have one consistent bike share program throughout the study areas, rather than two. However, McAlister said the county is in constant communication with College Park and the University of Maryland about their desires for the program.

The startup cost for year one is estimated at $1.69 million with the following year at $254,000 and the third at $1.2 million as the program is phased in. In total, the estimate for the four phases is $4.35 million. Some of that money was proposed in the county executive’s fiscal year 2018 budget. However, revenues for the four phases are estimated at $2.97 million, or approximately half of the startup costs.

That was a point of concern for Hyattsville Councilman Thomas Wright, who questioned if advertising revenues would be enough to make up that $2 million shortfall.

But McAlister said the shortfall should not be a problem, as Montgomery County has seen advertising success with contracts totaling $100 per month per station panel.

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