Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bike Parking at Union Station

So, last Wednesday, I was on my way in to DC for a meeting on Capitol Hill—not at the Capitol, I'm no VIP, but at one of the congressional office buildings. When I go to DC, I virtually never drive in to town, because I'm not familiar enough with all car parks, and navigating DC without help of a local or a skilled navigator can be a frustrating experience. So instead, I drive to the Metro stop nearest my office (Greenbelt, the north terminus of the Green Line) and ride in on the train.

(Background: If you know Washington, you'll know that the stop to take to get to the capitol office buildings is Union Station, the main (i.e. only) railroad station in DC, and that's where I was headed. Union Station is served by three passenger railroads: Amtrak, MARC (the Maryland commuter train system) and VRE, Viriginia Railway Express, the Northern Virginia commuter train system. It is quite a hub for federal workers, and, I'm guessing, one of the top 5 commuter hubs in the US.)

So, back to the story. I'd just gotten in my car and started the trip to to Union Station, and was listening to Morning Edition on NPR, and lo and behold, the very first story that I heard was about Bikestation, a new bicycle parking facility at Union Station. The powers that be in WDC, bless 'em, are building a place for commuters (especially rail commuters) to store their bikes so they can get into town, grab their bike, slam on the panniers, and get to work from Union Station. (The DC cabbies are going to hate it.)

There are very high-tech motorized multi-level racks to hold the bikes, the bikes will I think be monitored, and I'm sure there will be subscription pass cards, etc. The building is I think a little overdone, but hey, it's Our Nation's Capital! The excess is part of the point—this project is as much about advertising the bicycle as a form of practical transport as it is utilitarian parking. (For a definition of "utilitarian parking", see the second picture, which is of bike parking as it currently exists at Union Station.)

So here's to the Bikestation at Union Station—long may it serve those who work (and bike) in WDC.

1 comment:

Catharine said...

Bike and Roll Washington DC will also have rentals available and will offer a tour from the bikestation at Union Station. So next time you commute in, the bikestation will have a bike on which you can cruise the final distance to your meeting. :)