The East Falls Church metro station is popular among bicyclists. Next to the W&OD trail as well as a network of on-street bike routes and bike lanes, its 126 bicycle racks (PDF) fill quickly in the morning, and the station’s bicycle lockers are among the busiest among any metro station. According to the bicycle and pedestrian improvements study materials produced by consulting firm Toole Design, East Falls Church has one of the highest rates of bicycle access (about in the system. It’s overcrowded parking lot also fills up quickly, and according to the study, a high fraction of drivers travel less than 1 mile (about 22%) or less than two miles (about half) to access the station, compared to other park and rides.
If Metro provides more bicycle lockers or racks at East Falls Church, it’s possible that some of these drivers might switch to bicycling. It’s possible that some more people might decide to bike to Metro instead of driving all the way. Metro said that there isn’t a good place to put additional racks or lockers outside the station, and I agree. However, the inside of the station is relatively empty, and the rear corners of the mezzanine (ground) level have ample space to place inexpensive bike racks to test whether more bike racks could attract more cyclists.
A good example of bike racks attracting more cyclists is at the Eastern Market metro station. There was a large empty brick area next to the bike lockers for a long time. When Metro installed two 20–place bike racks at the station, they immediately started filling up daily. As far as I can tell, there weren’t this many bikes locked to poles, streetlights and trees before the new racks went in, so these are all new users riding to the Metro station.
There are spaces next to the northern bus stops that are under cover and are marked as bicycle parking, but the racks have been removed. Metro should install more bicycle racks there.
East Falls Church could also increase its bike capacity by adding racks at the rear corners of the mezzanine. Metro or Arlington could purchase racks similar to the ones placed at Eastern Market for little cost and no permanent change to the station would be required.