[Note: This is the first of two posts on bike modeshare to Nationals Park during the NLDS. A second round of counting, collected on 10/11/12, is summarized and discussed here]
In a futile bid to feel the buzz of playoff excitement occuring two short blocks from my office (well, besides feeling the buzz of that pregame jet flyover rattle my building), I broke away from my cubicle just before 2PM, pulled a CaBi bike, and did a rough count of about how many folks rode a bicycle to Nats Park today.
Bikeshare — We know that just over 100 folks made use of the Capital Bikeshare corral at the stadium around first pitch time. When I biked by, not much was going on, so we’ll assume that was about it. I checked the O’Brien map in the leadup to the game, and it looked like all three nearby bikeshare stations filled with game patrons, so that’s another 55 or so riders. In all, that’s about 160 bikeshare whips, or about 9-10% of the deployed fleet.
Nats Park Bike Valet— I wish I could find a citation, but I am quite sure the Nats Park bike valet holds 100 bikes. As seen below, they were not only filled, but had 20 bikes propped along the walls.
Nats Park Racks – DCist says that there are over 250 rack spaces. Most were filled:
…Though scooters gobbled up a few extra slots…
…And that one lonely predictably sparse rack at the corner of South Capitol and Potomac Ave SE.
So, let’s call the whole thing a wash and say 250 bikes in racks, OK?
The People’s DOT Racks — There was a bunch of unofficial parking. I counted 25 or so locked to the N St fence…
…Another 15 or so lashed to treeboxes…
…And at least 50 lashed to signposts…
…and 8 sadly locked to trees.
Total — By my count, that’s a total of 628 bikes. Only 530 (or 84%) were accomodated by official parking/storage, including the 26% of all riders who used Capital Bikeshare (above my estimate of CaBi comprising 11% of all ridership in DC/Arlington, it should be noted). Rides/riders I did not or could not account for:
- Pedicab riders – there were a ton of pedicabs around, and I have no idea how many folks they carried.
- Plural Bikes – there were a few bikeseats on bikes, I think I spotted a tandem and a cargo bike, and I have no idea how many of those passenger seats were occupied.
- Off-site parkers – a few riders may have parked in adjacent garages at their offices, or maybe parked a few blocks away for easy escape, I only rode the perimeter of the stadium, and the route to/from New Jersey Ave.
In all, those missing rides are likely negligable, but it makes sense to note them.
Bottom-Line It For Me – With a stadium capacity of around
41,000 45,017, that’s about 1.5% 1.4% of people biking to the game. Following an odd DC trend, this is far lower than our commute-to-work share of 3.3%, and right on par with Washington DC’s estimated bike modeshare for all trips of 1.5%. Given the unfathomably awesome weather, the fact that transit is beginning the rush-hour meltdown everyone knew was coming even as I type this, and the fact that Nats Park lies right in the heart of Livable Walkable Ward 6, I would have expected more (acknowledging that looking solely at the one transportation mode I obsess about is a distortion). What’s missing?
More than usual appeared to take Capital Bikeshare, and perhaps the promise of a guaranteed “dock” influenced that choice. Some additional bike parking, even as a temporary measure, would at the very least save folks from the slightly shameful act of having to lock up to a tree or fence. Some sheltered bike facilities anywhere in the SE/SW quadrants would boost ridership for everyone. And on and on.