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You’ll learn even more about this in tomorrow’s column on all the small parks owned by the National Park Service, but here’s an outtake that didn’t quite fit. While visiting the NPS headquarters at 1100 Ohio Drive S.W., I noticed a bike-sharing set up called B-Cycle. Like Smartbike, it’s a corporate donation, this time from health insurance provider Humana—but it’s much more confined, with only three stations at three of the Park Service’s outposts in D.C. (two on Hains point, and one on Poplar Point). According to the Bike-sharing Blog, the NPS was interested in the idea of expanding the program around the Mall, so tourists could get around more easily.
Well, they haven’t expanded yet. And looking at the map of Capital Bikeshare, you’ll notice that—despite the new program’s tourist-friendly pricing—no stations are located on the Mall. DDOT’s Chris Holben confirms that there are in fact no bikeshare stations on any NPS land in the District. Part of the reason for that is that most national parks are under concession contracts with companies that have the right of first refusal for services ranging from selling hot dogs to…renting bikes. In D.C., many of these areas—including Fletchers Cove, Thompson’s Boat House, tennis centers, ice rinks, and the Rock Creek Horse Center, and the Tidal Basin—are controlled by Fairfax County-based Guest Services International.
So DDOT ruled out putting any bike stations on the 6,776 acres of land owned by the Park Service in D.C.—some of the areas that could use bike-assisted transportation the most. The General Services Administration, meanwhile, has been more accomodating; Holben says DDOT is working closely with the agency and a station has been installed at the Office of Personnel Management.