If Anti DC creative director Terry the Tourette's Turtle didn't mark every minute of every day with an expletive, I might not know what time or even what day it is. And judging from his last outburst, I now know it's "Buttplug!" Sept. 21, and I'm typing this at "Suck my balls!" o'clock, which just so happens to be the perfect moment to whip out this oldie-but-goodie -- a photo I haven't seen since four score and seven "Douche taints!" ago. (Terry really is a blackhole of wisdom.)
Yes, all you haters suck my balls. And indeed, how fitting because that's basically what every area blogger has said about the new Capital Bikeshare junks that officially launched yesterday, except with nicer, more grammatically correct words. Here are some of the most enthusiastic:
"Bikesharing is going to be awesome," wrote Beyond DC's Dan Malouff in the Post.
"[T]hings will never be the same again...Capital Bikeshare will change everything," said Greater Greater Washington.
Washington City Paper calls Capital Bikeshare another sign of "our nation's inexorable march to western European-style social democracy."
And the Bike-Sharing Blog wrote, "I guess dreams do come true."
While I'm all about dreams coming true (I'm still crossing my fingers that one day we'll see a shirtless Vladimir Putin bungee jump through a loop of fire to save a litter of baby lions stranded on an island made entirely of Big League Chew -- my dreams rule), I'm not so sure Capital Bikeshare (at least in its current iteration) has ever been one of them. In fact, all the blog hype has made this public transit project sound more like just another topic for Stuff White People Like (think dog parks), rather than a legitimate idea that will transform the transportation landscape of DC. And this argument is seemingly augmented by taking a look at Capital Bikeshare's official Bikeshare map that shows where
But pshhaw!, said DC's Congressional delegate and voting rights expert Eleanor Holmes-Norton to TBD.com: "African-Americans have dog parks, too. They ride bikes." And common sense agrees. It's just too bad then that Capital Bikeshare didn't
And really, racial lines aside (like Eleanor Holmes-Norton, I think those arguments are usually overblown and also I don't think the Bikeshare people are racist), this is more about logistics. I fear there's going to be a whole bunch of disappointed bloggers when people start to realize that the current iteration, a rather lopsided layout, won't fulfill its Blog-given destiny to revolutionize transportation in this city. I mean, really, I don't think it's a mistake to assume that most people living in the sections of Northwest below U Street and West of 11th probably don't make up the bulk of the motorized traffic that snarls city streets, not because lots of them are white (myself included; I live in Logan), but because we live close to work, museums, restaurants, shopping, etc. We already have a lot of transportation options, one of them being walking reasonable distances.
And even if every bikeshare bike in Logan Circle, Dupont, and U Street was used, I think the impact on the overall transportation landscape in this city would be minimal. In fact, it might even worsen. Not only would traffic patterns remain the same, but now a bunch of smug assholes, who normally would've been on the sidewalk or underground on the Metro, will be wobbling up the street trying to remember how to ride. Now, not only will motorists now have to deal with a snarlier commute, but so will I, a bike-commuter already, as I'll now have to dodge additional 'tards in the bike lanes. (Although, I guess given the choice, I'd personally rather have smug assholes on bikes who don't know what they're doing mucking up the bike lanes than smug assholes in cars who *do* know what they're doing mucking up the bike lanes. A bike lane is not a parking space.)
But of course, these are the words of a cynic. I'm the type of person who sees sunshine and thinks of cancer. But I assure you, I'm not a pessimist. I actually like sunshine and I like bikeshare initiatives. I just also like sunscreen and smarter implementation methods.
To really test the power of bicycle commuting, Capital Bikeshare should now be targeting areas outside of the city center -- places where people need to trek a mile or more to get to the Metro. Hell, target the suburbs. Those are the areas in and around the city from where most of the motorized road traffic originates, which means those are the areas of the city that could really revolutionize the transit situation in DC. I say let's not wait until October when it's cold and gross out, let's put more operable bike depots now in Eckington, Anacostia, Brentwood, Riggs Park, Trinidad, Truxton Circle, Deanwood, Hillcrest, Congress Heights, etc. Get the Maryland suburbs involved! These are the areas which make up a huge bulk of the regions population and they need more than just a handful of stations if Capital Bikeshare is to be a true success.
Moreover, if the city (and surrounding suburbs) is serious about making this program a success, it should think about making the fees for the bikes tax deductible. Nothing encourages people to go green more than proverbial green, unless of course, we're talking about going gangrene, which just doesn't sound worth it.
But alas, we'll see. Perhaps this is just the beta test. After all, this kind of bikeshare program worked for Paris...uh, and since DC is so much like Paris in every other aspect (especially the fashion), I'm sure this will prove totally successful. Hmm, sarcasm. Of course, on the other hand DC was designed by a French person, so...
We'll give it a fair shot, wait with our fingers crossed and check back on Capital Bikeshare's progress in a "Fart knocker!" or two. However, before I stop commanding your undivided attention today, I have one more suggestion for Capital Bikeshare. This would be a nice prototype for the Phase 2 vélo, oui?
UPDATE: Testament to the power of Twitter, @DDOTDC sent me a direct message: "A good read, but just to clarify there will be @Bikehare [sic -- no one's perfect in 140 characters or less] stations all over the city. The map shows station currently installed." Duly noted and thanks for the reply and, yes, compliment. I will try again to figure out how many stations are outside of the NW quadrant. However, still, it seems rather backward to install stations residential areas so close to downtown before installing them in the outskirts where, like I said, should have the biggest benefit for all.