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While humans have been planning cities and transportation networks for millennia, planning for bikeshare is something new.
In just the last few years, many American cities have launched ambitious bikeshare services — with systems in at least 78 major U.S. cities — all aimed at providing a new transportation option.
Planners have learned much about the technical side of putting together these networks, from station density to operating procedures. However, the ideal public side of this process hasn’t been formalized, particularly for individual stations.
Are new stations more like, say, new passenger rail stations? Or are they more like bus stops? What is the right level of public outreach for an individual station? Approaches in the field have varied, from handling planning in large batches to working on a smaller scale.
In the public policy world, Arlington, Virginia, is known for the “Arlington Way” — a commitment to an open and participatory planning process. That ideal is not only built into planning for the Capital Bikeshare system in Arlington, but on a very granular level — meetings and communication with civic associations and individual residents about individual sites.
Working with BikeArlington, the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, and Capital Bikeshare, Arlington County Capital Bikeshare Manager Paul DeMaio and I recently developed a brief document, Building Bikeshare Together, which outlines this process step by step.