Pedal to the Plane; Washington National Airport Is Getting a Bikeshare Option

Aug 9, 2019

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Washington Reagan National Airport is one of the more convenient city airports in the US. Though it sits in Virginia, the airport is less than four miles from the White House and can be reached from downtown in as little as 10 minutes by cab ride or a 17 minutes by Metro.

But Washington National (DCA) is also adjacent to the Mount Vernon Trail, a popular cycling and running route connecting President George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate on the Potomac River to downtown Washington and the Virginia suburb of Arlington.

Now, the airport is about to get its first dock for Capital Bikeshare, the D.C. area’s popular bike sharing program, according to local news outlet ARLnow. The dock will be located near existing bike racks on a spur from the Mount Vernon Trail that runs onto the airport grounds and ends behind the parking garage for Terminal C.

The bike ride from DCA to the White House is just over four miles and takes about 25 minutes, according to Google Maps. A single 30-minute Bikeshare ride costs $2 — cheaper than a one-way Metro ride to downtown D.C. from the airport.

When the dock will open is not firm. ARLnow reports Arlington County, which is home to DCA, is awaiting final approval from state authorities to add the station.

Related: Planes, Trains and a Bus: We Raced From NYC to DC to Find Which Was Fastest

As a frequent traveler and cyclist, the bike racks at Washington National are a convenient option. They are ideal for short trips when one does not need to carry much luggage. However, the lack of secure long-term bike storage makes storing one’s bike for longer trips risky.

The new Bikeshare dock will, at least, eliminate concerns about leaving a bike locked to an unprotected outdoor rack.

“It’s going to be a nice accommodation for passengers,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Rob Yingling.

Washington National may also become one of the most nation’s most-walkable airports. As part of its winning bid for Amazon’s “HQ2” second headquarters, Virginia committed to building a new pedestrian bridge between the terminals and the nearby National Landing neighborhood. There is no timeline for the bridge yet.

A rendering of the proposed pedestrian bridge between Washington National and the National Landing neighborhood. (Courtesy of the Crystal City BID)

 

The Bikeshare dock and planned pedestrian bridge come as Washington National is in the midst of a $1 billion expansion project. Dubbed “Project Journey,” the airport will add new security checkpoints to terminal B/C that will allow it to connect the terminal’s three concourses inside security. It is also building a new north concourse for American Airlines’ regional jet operation, replacing the widely despised gate 35X bus operation.

American plans to replace many of its 50-seat jet flights to Washington National with larger and more comfortable 76-seat models once the new concourse opens.

Featured image courtesy of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

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