With help from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Park Service is
expanding its free bicycle valet service. The service, to operate from 2 p.m.
tomorrow until 30 minutes after the fireworks display, provides two secure areas
for bike parking: 15th Street between Independence Avenue and Jefferson Drive,
just east of the Washington Monument, and on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial near Daniel French Drive.
Now I've known about this serviceand have heard about it at previous events as well but the thing that really caught my attention was the ending time for the valet parking. 30 Minutes after the end of the fireworks??? In all my years (alright bare with me here) of attending fireworks displays, especially large scale festivities, never once have I even made it to the car in less then 30 minutes, much less gotten the car moving out of the lots. What makes getting a bike out easier? Is this based on the small number of cyclists actually using this service? Or do they really just think they can get through the bikes and folks picking them up that quickly?
What about the people who don't make it back to their bikes in time? Will they lock them up somewhere? Send them to the bike barn opperated by the city where they take recovered bikes?
Don't get me wrong here, I think this is a fantastic idea but I think a time frame of 30 minutes is a bit unreasonable. Checking out WABA's site for additional information I am feeling a little better about the situation, though I'm still a bit curious about the rest of the details. According to Waba.org the service will run until 10:30, and assuming the fireworks start at 9:10 and go for 20 minutes, bike riders will have an hour to pick up their bikes. This may still be a tight squeeze depending on how crowded everything gets, but it is certainly better. What remains to be told is what will be done with bikes that are not picked up by the 10:30 cut off.
It'd be interesting also to find out how many people actually use this service. I personally will be staying away from downtown tomorrow due to my aversion to large crowds of people who have no idea what they are doing or where they are going. The cattle herding atmosphere has never really suited me either.
Hopefully there will be none of this going on tomorrow with the valet parked bikes...