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Capital Bikeshare comes to Alexandria

Wednesday - 10/12/2011, 7:24am  ET

Ari Ashe, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, VA - After successful launches in Arlington and the District, the City of Alexandria has voted to bring Capital Bikeshare into town.

The unanimous 7-0 vote will allow the city to join the regional network with more than 70,000 daily and weekly members and 15,000 annual members.

The City Council agreed to being a pilot program that'll bring 54 bikes into the city at six stations.

"We have the largest number of residents who bike to work every day of any area in the region," says City Councilman Rob Krupicka.

The program will begin in Old Town and Carlyle neighborhoods, most likely along King Street.

"Old Town has the concentration of tourism and commercial offices that you need to make a program like this work, in addition to the Metro and bus system," says Krupicka.

The total cost will be about $400,000.

"My expectation is that we're going to see a lot of support for this program. It's going to be very popular and people are going to want to expand it quickly."

Some possible locations for expansion would include to Del Ray, Van Dorn and the West End.

Ultimately, the City Council will examine how many people use bikes and the cash flow of Capital Bikeshare at Old Town and Carlyle before making any decisions on expansion.

One of the concerns that lawmakers hope to address in the coming months is mixing bike lanes with cars, buses and pedestrians, especially along King Street.

"What this means is that you don't have to drive to Alexandria to visit for the weekend," says Krupicka.

"You can come to the city, rent a bike, visit all the sites, restaurants and shops without worry about a car. I think it makes us a much more attractive tourist destination."

The Alexandria Bikeshare program is expected to begin in the late spring or early summer.

Bikeshare has 1,100 bicycles located at 110 stations in Arlington and DC.

In September the program passed the one million ride mark.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)