The Bay Area Rapid Transit's new bike plan reflects a 10-year cultural shift among commuters and those who shape transit for them, said a cycling advocate who helped craft the document.
"It's encouraging to see BART making a commitment to and an investment in bike ridership," said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. "They really see the potential in having many more people bike to BART."
The transit agency has charted a bicycle plan for the coming decade, with the goal of doubling the number of passengers who ride to BART stations on two wheels. The BART of the future could include bike sharing, expanded parking, and more seamless access to other transportation systems -- and housing where acres of auto parking now stand.
Representatives from BART, Caltrans, city and county government and cycling advocacy groups helped design the plan.
Bicycle ridership has taken off in the Bay Area since BART drafted its first bike plan in 2002 -- perhaps nowhere moreso than in Berkeley. While roughly 4 percent of riders bike to BART each weekday systemwide, 12 percent pedal to and from the Ashby station.
The total number of train riders who cycle "has more than doubled in the last eight years, and I wouldn't be surprised if over the next eight we see a quarter of the people who ride BART going by bike," Rivera said.
"BART and bikes mesh well in Berkeley in particular," said Steve Beroldo, manager of access programs for BART. The Shattuck and Ashby stations feature group parking, and Shattuck's valet parking is at capacity.
"We've got a whole document based on surveys and a lot of outreach," Beroldo said. "We'd like to get feedback from a lot more people."
Beroldo said the plan was designed to transform BART from a system that allows bikes to one that depends on them. One benefit: Less space for auto parking means more space for housing.
Among the plan's 20 strategies are these:
- Improve station circulation for passengers with bicycles;
- Create secure, plentiful bicycle parking facilities;
- Help assure bicycle access beyond BART’s boundaries;
- Optimize bicycle accommodations aboard trains.
The agency is also considering bike-sharing, something that has been tried successfully in other urban areas.
"One of the things we would like to see change, but that wasn't in this plan, is that there are still stations where they don't charge for parking, or charge only a minimal fee," Rivera said. "We want a carrot and stick approach."