Get ready to see red, one-size-fits-all bikes cruising around the National Mall. The National Park Service is in talks to allow the Capital Bikeshare program to set up stations on the Mall.
The bikeshare program has seen huge success in the past year, opening more than 100 stations in the District and Arlington.
But until now, the Park Service has hesitated to allow the sharing service access to federally protected property. It has cited existing contracts with other bike rental companies and a fear that the stations could encroach on the historic monuments and memorials on the Mall.
“There are still a number of issues we need to work out, but we are hoping we can resolve those issues so we can start it up early next year,” Carol Johnson, a spokeswoman for the National Mall and Memorials Park branch of the National Park Service, told the Washington Post. “Earlier, we were looking at whether they can get on the Mall, but now we are looking for a way to get them on the Mall.”
One of the major issues, however, is who will take responsibility for paying for the station. Each takes about $50,000 to construct and about another $23,000 annually to maintain.
Bikeshare project manager for DDOT tells the Post that the District would likely be willing to install the station, as long as the Park Service helps out with the maintenance costs.
“We want to have bikeshare stations all over the city where people are, where people work and where people recreate,” Holben told the Post. “We want bikesharing for both city residents and visitors, and the Mall is a major destination.”
According to the Post, Capital Bikeshare is the largest such program in the nation with more than 17,000 members, and close to a million trips taken on the system's bikes in the past year.