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Bicycling

Transit Coalition Backs Cyclists Right to Rail Cars

10:46 AM PDT on July 29, 2009

(Stephen Box has been leading the charge for a better bike plan on Metro trains than the "two bikes per car " rule that was proposed earlier this month.  In this post he updates us on his efforts to build consensus for a better plan.  Over the weekend he got a bevy of support from the candidates running for the Los Angeles City Council CD2)

At last night's monthly Transit Coalition meeting, I presented the
Metro's proposed "Bikes-on-Rail" policy which lifts the rush hour ban
on cyclists but imposes a universal limit of two cyclists per rail car.
I asked them to oppose the proposal and to support a robust and
comprehensive appraisal of the Metro's capacity woes and to join me in
pursuing a solution that benefited all passengers including cyclists.

The
ensuing conversation was the discourse that we deserve to hear at a
Metro Board meeting. In fact, as I looked around the room at a Metro
insider, an Amtrak insider, a couple of local municipal system
insiders, a couple of political insiders and an array of transportation
advocates representing several modes including cycling; I realized that
the Transit Coalition was probably better qualified to run the Metro than their
Board
.

Bart Reed went around the room, polling each participant on the Metro's proposal to limit cyclists.

The
responses went from wonky to simple common sense, but they were
consistent in opposing the proposal and in pursuing a solution that
would support the Metro's commitment to supporting all
modes of transportation.

Starting off with a
review of the capacity projections that predated the Red Line to the
length of the stations to platooning to headway limitations to rail car
configurations, the experts quickly took us through many
considerations that effect how and where people board the train, all of which simply confirmed that the Metro's current
proposal was nothing if not hasty and ill-conceived.

Participants
reviewed other systems ranging from Moscow's subway to the Metrolink.
Capacity calculations, bike rack configurations, bike cars, bike
lockers at both ends, increased service, better connectivity and simply
applying common sense to specific situations were all tossed out as
solutions to the current capacity issues that Metro apparently
hopes to solve by limiting cyclists to two per rail car.

At
the end of the great discussion Bart Reed polled the group and with no
objections, positioned the Transit Coalition in favor of a policy that
recognizes cyclists as customers and challenged the Metro to get in the
business of moving people instead of simply moving buses and rail cars.

It's evenings such as this that give me hope!

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