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D.C. Plans Expanded Bikeshare, Other Bike Parking For Inauguration

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District officials are touting bicycles as one of the best ways to get to the presidential inauguration Jan. 21. 
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District officials are touting bicycles as one of the best ways to get to the presidential inauguration Jan. 21. 

Bicycling may be the easiest way to get downtown in the District during Monday's inauguration. Several thousand people are expected to bicycle to the National Mall or the parade route, so the District Department of Transportation is preparing to accommodate the two-wheelers.

There will be a large parking lot for bikes at 16th and I streets NW starting at 7 a.m., says DDOT planner Jim Sebastian.

"That's going to hold about 700 bikes, but you are going to want to bring your own lock," Sebastian says. "It's not valet parking but it will be supervised all day." 

As for Capital Bikeshare, there will be two corrals downtown that will accept an unlimited number of they system's signature red bikes.

"It's essentially a bottomless station where you can come down and not have to worry about there being an empty space," Sebastian says. Those corrals will be at Farragut Square in Northwest D.C. and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture building at 12th Street and Independence Avenue SW. 

Something else to remember for Bikeshare users: starting Wednesday, six Capital Bikeshare stations are being temporarily removed along the inaugural parade route.

To make up for that, a temporary corral will be installed starting Wednesday at the 13th Street and New York Avenue NW station. That corral will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day until the six stations can be reinstalled next week. The removed stations are all expected to be back up and running by Friday, Jan. 25.

For bicycling advocates, Monday presents an opportunity to show how far D.C. has come in making the city bike-friendly.  Greg Billing works for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

"This is going to be the first year that we have bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue during an inauguration, so President Obama is going to be riding down Pennsylvania Ave. and those bike lanes are going to be in all those photos," he says. "This is a great time for us to show off to the nation that D.C. is a bike city and that we are setting an example that other cities around the country can follow."

Bicyclists and all other inauguration attendees should make sure to wear comfortable shoes on Monday, however. No matter how you get to the District, most inauguration areas are accessible only by foot, officials note.

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