Thursday, August 30, 2007

Challenges of cohabitating with transit riders

Image of bikes crowded onto MAX train in Portland, OregonFrom the Oregonian, 08.30.07:

MAX wants easy ride for bikers
More cyclists are using light rail, and the crowds have caused clashes


MAX is becoming a victim of its own success. Ridership on the light-rail system is rising as gas prices remain high, getting more cars off the road. A growing number of those passengers are bicyclists who use the trains, reducing congestion at both ends of their commute.

But when bikers and nonbikers wind up on the same crowded train at rush hour, tempers sometimes flare. TriMet officials are looking for ways to reduce that friction, short of restricting the number of bikes on trains during rush hour.

The growth in MAX ridership and bicycle commuting reflects "two really positive trends," said Eric Hesse, a strategic planning analyst for TriMet. Planners are looking at a number of possible solutions. They want to know, among other things, whether installing more bike lockers at MAX stations would reduce the number of cycles on the train, Hesse said. The agency might encourage the use of folding bicycles to save space. Finding ways to install more bicycle hooks is also an option. (Read more.)
Note that one solution not suggested here is to add more cars to each train, or add more frequent trains, which would not only add capacity and reduce crowding tension, but improve service for every transit user, on bikes or not. In any event, this is a good problem to have. And Portland has done more than almost any other city in the U.S. to encourage alternatives to driving.

Image: BikePortland.org
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

8 comments:

wimpyVO2max said...

Sounds like they need a dedicated light rail car for bicyclists like the Altamont Commuter Express. It frees up more space on the train for cyclists and decreases conflicts with non-cyclist train users.

Sasquatch said...

I don't use PDX Trimet but I try to keep up with the city's bike and public transport policy. To wit:

Very few big city transit systems allow bikes on board trains at all (with exceptions for Sundays and holidays). My understanding of Portland's problem with adding cars is that the longer trains can't fit into the stations / platform areas. I do think they should add more trains, especially during rush hour.

Anonymous said...

In St. Louis, our brand new light rail system allows bikes on board but the bikes must share the aisles with the commuters. This is inconvenient and dangerous for bikers and nonbikers. Trains should at least have an area to hang bikes.

Anyone have pictures of such an arrangement...of the Altamont light rail cars with bike storage accessories? Thanks,
Jack

murphstahoe said...

I doubt the ACE Rail setup would work for Portland's light rail. It would require a complete reconfiguration of their cars. For light rail like Portland's, the hooks are the best option. They can probably implement more hooks using folding seats which I have seen on various regional trains in France.

The ACE Rail setup basically has no seats along one side of the car, with 14 diagonally placed racks you slide the rear tire in, much like a rack you'd see on the street.

Fritz said...

I avoid bringing my bike on BART because it's just too busy. I don't generally have problems on Caltrain or VTA.

Anne said...

In Denver the light rail has a limited number of bike spots and to ride with a bike you have to get a (free) Light Rail permit. Basically it consists of taking a short quiz online where you verify that you understand the rules. You have to stand with your bike at the ends of each car, 2 bikes max at each end, and the entrances where you can load bikes are well-marked on the platforms. It works pretty well, seems to allow for bikes to not interfere with other passengers & for space to be allocated for bikes. I'm not sure how crowded it gets on weekdays & if the bike slots might get filled...I mostly take it on weekends.

Anonymous said...

This will not happen soon in Montreal. 4 bikes per train (not per car)allowed, and only ouside rush hours...

Rog said...

Here on the Miami Metro and the people move Downtown, cyclists have to use the very last car, and usually there are no conflicts or friction, and that's even during rush hour, but with transit ridership increasingly so sharply down here, that might soon change.