Arlington County and MetroBike are currently in the process of scaling up the area’s bike share service by doubling the amount of stations, but instead of figuring it out themselves, they’re asking the public where the new racks should go. In an innovative and very participatory new program, the county is receiving public comments from residents and businesses on the new station locations. Rather than simply install the new racks and then advertise the service to prospective city cyclists, an interactive map has been released that locals can use to make suggestions.
The service will soon add 30 new stations, but there is the risk that some will go unused or will be heavily opposed by nearby residents and businesses. The interactive map, developed by BikeArlington, allows the public to suggest locations for stations that Metrobike, the manager of the bike service, may have overlooked. Additionally, this outreach tool encourages users to comment on why they like or dislike each proposed location.
Launched last week, the map has already generated over 150 comments. More importantly, many of the locations suggested by community members are in areas of the city that Metrobike was not planning on installing a station in. This participatory method of selecting new stations is very time-consuming – the comments and suggestions must be monitored and analyzed – but certainly worthwhile if it results in a better service.