Caltrain: More bike parking

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Thursday, June 12, 2008
By Yokota Fritz


There's been a lot of discussion this week on the SVBC and SFBike lists about Caltrain's Bicycle Master Plan. The first public is tonight in San Carlos; I plan to attend the Monday evening in Mountain View if I can get out of work early enough.

Mountain View Caltrain evening commute

Some points to discuss and consider: Caltrain says they want to increase the number of cyclists biking to the train station, but because bike capacity on board is maxed out they want to encourage bike parking. Some of the other ideas they plan to present include bike sharing and a folding bike subsidy.

Caltrain bike pain elsewhere:

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Comments:
Back in the day when I rode Caltrain, getting bumped was my #1 reason for decreased riding -- even with my free Go pass.

I've always considered bike parking to be failed idea -- it only works if your endpoint has good public transit. Witness Japan, which has hundreds of bikes parked in the plazas outside the station (safety in numbers, as those bikes are locked with wimpy integrated wheel locks).

The folding bike subsidy sounds more attractive -- I seriously considered this option but ended up enjoying the ride more.
 
Caltrain has a folding bike subsidy now? Where can information be found about that? Several of my folding bike customers use Caltrain and I'm sure that they'd want to know about this.

Larry
RideTHISbike.com
 
I think a bike share plus increased bike parking would reduce the need for overnight parking and reduce bikes on the trains. People could ride their own bikes from/to their homes and then use the shared bikes to/from work.
 
Same old same old - run down train services with not enough rolling stock blames cyclists for all it's woes.

I love the we're late because "cyclists take more time to load". Not "we don't have enough carriages on the train for pax to embark in a reasonable time"

The answer is more trains, more often.

And more often on time.

Wieners!

See Melbourne .Au last year
 
Intense coverage of the Caltrain issue. It nice to see more people are commuting, I hope the set backs and headaches are temporary... that official *think* about acctual causes and solutions
 
In the past two years I had been bumped once before late May of this year, and the number of instances of passengers being bumped that I observed in that time period could be counted on one hand. Since mid-May I have been bumped 3 times, almost bumped a couple more, seen dozens of instances where cyclists were denied boarding on trains on which I was travelling. Not a good sign.

And all of this was predictable. Problems started occurring when they introduced the Baby Bullets, have been bad on all trains in the summers ever since, and always seem to get worse when gas prices go up. Summer, record gas prices, and what happens? CalTrain is caught with its pants down, exacerbated by not catching 14 cars with cracks that need to be taken out of service.

Parking is a very, very, very tiny piece of the solution. It must be SECURE with a capital S, weatherproof, and then will only work for a minority of cyclists. Not good for anyone whose work and/or home is more than a mile or so from the station. And CalTrain has an awful history with bike lockers, witness the fiasco at the Sunnyvale station post-parking garage renovation.

Folders are a tiny piece of the solution; trains might be able to take a few folders. And folders will not work for many, and are an additional item to buy/maintain. And for those with a conscience, a folder is a $600-1500 cost item; lower priced ones made by factories of questionable repute in China are available, but then one has to lower one's ethical compass somewhat to make the purchase.

It appears we will have glacial progress towards incrementally poor solutions, leading more folks to abandon their attempts at getting out of cars and onto alternative transport. Darn shame.
 
Speaking of lockers... I have been riding Caltrain for 10 years. I know nobody who has a bike locker and have only seen someone open a bike locker once. That makes me leery of bike lockers being a solution - there is no "means test" to quantify that building a locker and renting it to someone will accomplish the stated goal, if the reality is they are rarely used if ever, monopolized by non or infrequent Caltrain users (cyclists or not).

The price point makes the issue. I had occasion to work in Boxborough Mass about 3 times a year. I fly in to Boston, and can take the T/Commuter Rail to South Acton, 3 miles from the office. I found out there were unspoken for bike lockers at South Acton. I seriously considered buying a clunker and renting a locker, for $200 I could get a usable bike and pay for annual rental, and was going to try to convince my company to pay for it given this was less than 3 days rental car. At the price point it was worth using the locker as storage, to be opened twice a year.

Caltrain has a waiting list - yet those owning lockers don't seem to be utilizing them, at least not for the intended means. I could be wrong, but I'm definitely curious.
 
I live 2.5 miles from the station, and my work is 5.5 miles from the station. I need to bring my bike with me on the train!
 
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