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BART Wants More Cyclists on Board

Transit agency asks riders to weigh in on 10-year plan.

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."

The draft plan is available for review and comment at www.bart.gov/bikes through May 27.  Comments and suggestions related to the draft Bike Plan can be sent to bikes@bart.gov.

norfitz May 09, 2012 at 03:32 PM
So much for BART's needs - I need to bring my bike on BART during commute hours to use on both ends of the commute. If we really want to take some cars off the road, this is a great time to redesign BART cars and stations to better accommodate bikes. How about parallel escalators, like how you move your shopping cart from floor to floor in the 2-story Target in Albany?
Geech May 09, 2012 at 04:53 PM
o Allow full-sized bikes on trains during rush hour to/from SF o Create a bike-friendly / big luggage-friendly car (first or last) like on trains in Europe, with hooks to hang bikes. This would make it easier for both cyclists and riders who want to avoid cyclists.
therealjanis May 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Love love love this story - and Norfitz's suggestions. Of all these ideas BART has, I think the most important one is creating a secure place to park your bike, so there's a bike "parking lot" just like the car parking lot.
skaar May 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM
a good limited goal that only serves bike riders, who are no doubt an important part of BART users. To the extent that it adds more bikes on the trains, pay attention to the fact that they are large and loose and hazardous to everyone. Get them away from people in areas of their own where they can be locked down. Secure bike parking at the stations, like the person said above, is a good thing because it may limit the number of bikes on the trains. Bike-sharing might also reduce the number of bikes on trains by a few dozen, I doubt any greater number.
John May 31, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Also, reserve a car on all trains just for riders with bikes.

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