Breaking News: Metro Reverses Rush Hour Ban on Bikes on Trains

5_17_10_gunpowder.jpgGunpowder doesn't have to fear getting ticketed on his way to Metro Board meetings. Photo: LAStreetsblog/Flickr

Announced this morning at LA Bike Week's kickoff event in front of LAPD headquarters, Metro will be lifting restrictions on when and where you can bring your bike onto Metro Rail (the Purple, Red, Blue, Green, and Gold Lines).  Current policies give Metro staff the discretion to block riders from transporting bikes on the rail network during peak hours (6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m.), if a given train is too crowded to accommodate them.

However, this morning's MTA press release notes that, as of this summer, Metro Rail riders will be free to bring their bikes aboard at any time in specially designated parts of light rail and heavy rail trains, pending the installation of new signage designed to guide bicyclists to the preferred train sections.

According to Metro Senior Communications Officer Jose Ubaldo, the middle "articulated sections" of light rail trains (Green, Blue, Gold) will be set aside for bicycles, because there is more available standing room.  (Editorial aside: Though, I wonder how difficult it would be to move a bike to a middle section of a crowded train at rush hour, but this seems like a good place to start.)

For travel on the Red and Purple Lines, bicyclists will be directed to the rearmost car of each train.  Ubaldo elaborated that the Metro has already begun removing seats in the rear cars of subway trains to make more room for bicycles.  The process should be finished within the next six weeks.

In light of the much-discussed frustration with the lack of adequate bike parking at MTA facilities (stations, "TODs"), this policy change appears to be a step in the right direction.  Assuming this decision spurs more people to come to Metro stations on bikes, the MTA may very well have to contend with the added volume by improving its existing bike parking facilities in number and quality (though of course nothing is guaranteed).