After yesterday’s post on the Metro Board’s decision to delay their "bikes on trains" rules until more information could be gathered, a couple of readers commented with links to the new "bike space" markings on trains. What used to be a sign directing handicapped riders to the areas which were formerly two-person benches, the "bike area" is now marked in yellow next to the handicapped area. A rendering off a Metro presentation for this week’s Board Meeting, gives a more complete view of what the "bike areas" will look like, including markings on the outside of the train.
When Metro rail operations chief Michael Cannell justifies his proposed two-bike per car limit on Metro trains he points to the "hazards" created when too many cyclists are in the aisle or blocking the doors. It will be interesting to see if these new decals actually alleviate this problem as cyclists are directed where is the best place to put their bikes. I’ve actually been on a train in an unmarked bike area with Gunpowder and been told that I’m standing in the handicapped area and should move. If nothing else, at least these decals should clear up that kind of confusion.
However, I can’t help but remember that when Metro staff unveiled the "two-car" rule that during a back-and-forth with Stephen Box a frustrated Cannell snapped that if cyclists weren’t happy with the proposed spacing he would design the space so that all forms of freight had to share the same area. While Cannell quickly recovered his cool, it’s hard to see how the above pictures create a different "shared space" than what he proposed in the heat of the moment two weeks ago.
While the stickers are continuing to go up, Metro is taking time to re-evaluate their new bike rules before going forward with either a plan to remove the rush-hour ban or to limit the number of bikes allowed per train.