This story is part of my ongoing coverage of the 2008 National Bike Summit. See the rest of my coverage here. [*Note: Unfortunately all my photos from this morning’s rally were lost in a technical glitch.]
program on Capitol Hill this morning.
(Photo: Earl Blumenauer’s office)
Just hours after news outlets reported that oil prices have hit an all-time record high, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Dan Beard, the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives, announced a new bike-sharing program at a rally for the National Bike Summit on Capitol Hill this morning.
Dubbed “Wheels4Wellness,” the new program will initially place 30 bikes at three locations around the U.S. House offices on Capitol Hill and will be available for free to the House’s 7,000 DC-based employees. Beard also announced that a second phase of the program will extend the locations to major transit hubs, like the train station at L’Enfant Plaza which is a popular hub for Capitol Hill commuters.
Speaking in a packed room, Beard acknowledged that the program, “Is not Paris, trust me…,” but he said it will, “give our employees a new commuting option and also an opportunity to get some exercise during the day.”
Beard says they hope to have the program in place by Earth Day (April 22) and that “plan b” would be do have it ready by National Bike Week (May 31st).
“Bike-sharing…can give our employees an opportunity during the day to get some exercise, do some shopping, grab a quick lunch, do an errand, or just go on a ride around the Mall and enjoy the sights.”
— Dan Beard, Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives
The details of the program are still being worked out. After the announcement Beard told me they’re still trying to decide the exact type of system they’ll use to access and return the bikes. Beard said he hopes the system can be integrated with an existing “QuickPay” payment card used for meals and other items on Capitol Hill that all employees already have. Another detail being worked out are making sure the bikes meet federal procurement laws that require the bikes to be American made.
Also giving his stamp of approval and speaking in support of the Wheels4Wellness program was the attending physician for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, Dr. John Eisold.
Unfortunately, my photos from this morning’s rally were lost in a technical glitch (some nice ones too!), but I did manage to get the audio from the bike-sharing announcement. Have a listen below…
(3 min, 17 sec – MP3)