Bah, the Caltrain meeting is this Thursday, in San Carlos. Not Wednesday in San Mateo. There's a reason my wife handles my appointments.
I'll I will not be at the Caltrain Joint Powers Board meeting tomorrow in San Mateo Thursday in San Carlos. While the Caltrain Bikes on Board program isn't directly on the agenda other than a rubberstamp approval to accept ARRA/stimulus money from the Federal government, a few other bike people will be there and it's important to keep the Caltrain Board updated on how the users of their system are faring.
Update: I changed my mind -- I won't be at this meeting. I'll be at the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission meeting instead, where they'll discuss how to spend the ARRA "stimulus" funds on transportation projects.
In February, the Caltrain board accepted a resolution to add more bike space to existing bike cars. About three weeks ago, a Gallery "old style" bike car appeared with 4 seats removed and two bike racks added. You'll see the extra racks toward the back of the car.
See also that these racks are shorter than the existing racks. According to Caltrain's Mark Simon, the shorter racks are to enable access to the emergency exit windows.
There's some concern that the shorter racks won't secure the bikes as well and may scratch the bike frames, though any bike on Caltrain will get scratched and dented no matter what. I've only seen the racks once (I got to the station early one morning and boarded four different trains looking for the modified gallery car) so I can't comment on how well these shorter racks work.
What are your thoughts on these experimental shorter racks?
It's not a function of the number of seats. 4 emergency windows are required on each passenger level, in addition to two doors, with a "reasonable exit rate" of 35 persons per minute. I imagine bikes would get in the way of this "reasonable exit rate," but the high back chairs would not (I looked). The only exception is for private berths -- only 1 window and 1 door required for those.
There's also a requirement that "emergency window exits shall be distributed throughout the passenger car body to reduce interior travel distance." I don't know if the bike car portion of the Gallery cars and the passenger-only side would be considered different levels or compartments, but I imagine that's the case.
The board of directors meets the first Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. in the Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium located on the second floor at the San Mateo County Transit District Administrative Offices, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos.