Press – Washington Post July 2016

Washington-Post-Park&Pedal-Jul-1-2016

Using “park and pedal” to conquer the last mile

By Dan Malouff July 1

Washington Area Bicyclist Association employees chat with a bicyclists outside the Eastern Market Metro station in June. (Amanda Voisard/The Washington Post)
How do you get more commuters to bicycle into the city? Boston is trying “Park & Pedals,” dedicated parking lots where suburban commuters can drive to the edge of the city, then bicycle the last couple of miles.

Bicycling is often the fastest way to travel through dense cities. But most commuters from far-flung suburbs aren’t willing to bike that far every day. Park-and-pedals split the difference, allowing suburban commuters to drive where it’s easier to drive, then bike through the part of the city where it’s easier to bike.

It’s a fascinating idea and an unusual twist on the last-mile problem of urban transportation.

The hardest part about providing transportation from low-density suburban areas is the so-called “last mile.” That’s the gap between commuters’ homes and a major highway or transit line, where there’s not enough people going to the same place at the same time to provide convenient shuttles.

Park-and-ride lots around transit stations solve that problem by putting the onus on drivers to get to the station. That’s not as efficient as having people live within walking or biking distance of the transit station, but it’s better than making them drive the full distance into the city.

Transit agencies should never design their entire systems around park-and-ride users, but a few park-and-rides at strategic locations can be a good thing.

Why shouldn’t the same idea work for bikes? A few parking lots near major bikeways like the Custis Trail and the Metropolitan Branch Trail might indeed prove useful. Particularly if they’re located far from Metro stations, where it’s not so crucial to reserve land for transit-oriented development.

[Continue reading Dan Malouff’s post at Beyond DC.]

Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at BeyondDC.com. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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