Fairfax is eyeing bikeshare expansion along Route 123 from Tysons to Fairfax City, and Vienna is right in the middle.
At last night’s (Monday) Vienna Town Council meeting, Zan Frackelton, a transportation planner with Toole Design, updated the Town Council on an ongoing feasibility study considering whether bikeshare will work for Vienna and other localities along the corridor. The study is a collaboration between the Town of Vienna, George Mason University, and both Fairfax County and City.
Frackelton said Vienna’s relatively flat topography and a sprinkling of bike infrastructure make it a conducive to hosting a bikeshare system.
“We believe bikeshare is feasible in this area, but it requires some supporting actions,” said Frackelton, “such as ongoing improvements to the bicycle network to ensure people using this system have safe places to ride and reviewing policies as needed related to bicycling.”
While the red and gold Capital Bikeshare is the leading contender to fill the Vienna gap, Frackelton said it was also worth noting that the bikeshare market is becoming increasingly crowded with options, including the increasingly popular electric scooters.
“[Capital Bikeshare] is ideal for short, one-way trips,” said Frackelton. “But other systems are coming onto the scene, like dockless bikeshare and scooters, where you start your trip using an app and end where you want.”
However, Frackelton said Capital Bikeshare was the most logical choice for Vienna. With the expansion of the Capital Bikeshare in surrounding localities like Tysons and Reston, Frackelton also said Vienna was a logical next step for the Capital Bikeshare.
If Vienna does decide to go with electric scooters or e-bikes, which Capital Bikeshare is beginning to offer, Frackelton said the town will also have to consider new policies governing use of such devices. While Frackelton said the town could consider moving to dockless vehicles in the future, Frackelton said there’s not enough space on local roads to support that yet.
Among concerns raised by the Town Council was speeding on trails, which is not typically a concern for bicyclists but a potential problem if local bicycle trails become saturated with electric bicycles and scooters.
Town Council members also noted concerns that many of the late-night scootering in Washington, D.C. was done without lights or reflective gear that makes them difficult to see for cars. Frackelton said the study would look into these concerns as the study continues.
Frackelton said Fairfax County is planning to move forward with grant applications for funding for Capital Bikeshare stations and begin finalizing locations in 2019.