The metal racks are for SmartBike DC, a bicycle-sharing program touted as the first of its kind in the nation. The program is a public-private partnership between the District government and advertising giant Clear Channel Outdoor, which operates similar automated bike rental systems in France, Norway, Sweden and Spain.
By mid-May, the racks will be filled with 120 red three-speed bicycles ready for riding around town, said Jim Sebastian of the D.C. Department of Transportation.
The concept is similar to such car-sharing programs as Zipcar. For an annual fee of $40, bikes can be rented for as long as three hours at a time for an unlimited number of rentals.