Caltrain releases bicycle plan

August 14, 2008 at 2:18 am 5 comments

Monday, Caltrain released a bicycle plan. It was retitled from Bicycle Master Plan to Caltrain Bicycle Access and Parking Plan because of the criticisms that the plan does not cover the issue of bicycles onboard the train.

A week earlier, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition issued a its own document arguing that Caltrain has the capacity to provide more onboard spaces for bicycles, and suggesting that the recent removal of 14 rail cars from service is an example that non-bike passengers can do with fewer available seats.

Personally, I think the best opportunity to address onboard bicycle capacity is when Caltrain orders new electrified vehicles. The current gallery car fleet has high steps as well as a very poor interior layout. SFBC has yet to propose how Caltrain could add bike space onboard with the least impact on operation. Although SFBC argues that bike access is not the cause for dwell time delays, it is important to note that over the years, Caltrain has added minutes to the overall travel time in part because of bicycles.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Fritz  |  August 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Dwell time is increased because cyclists are required to wait for all others to board. If cyclists were permitted to board ahead of non-cycling passengers, the walking passengers could move to the other 3 or 4 cars of the train. That option of moving to other cars is *not* available to cyclists when they’re required to wait.

    Hence, the dwell time issue can be quickly and easily resolved at no cost and save the $400,000 that Caltrain claims they currently lose annually from dwell time losses.

    The dwell time is not due to cyclists; it’s due to a policy that seems unnecessarily wasteful and frustrating.

    Reply
  • 2. andychow  |  August 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I do agree that bicyclists should be allowed to board first. I have suggested it to Caltrain before. The situation is particularly bad in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

    I think Caltrain is not accepting this suggestion because the staffers think they would violate the law. The same reason why Caltrain hasn’t been strongly enforcing the policy of having only bicyclists on the bike section of the car.

    Reply
  • 3. Fritz  |  August 19, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Right, the bike car can’t be specifically ‘reserved’ for cyclists because of a federal rule. But if non-cyclists are permitted to board first ahead of cyclists, why can’t the reverse also be true?

    Reply
  • 4. andychow  |  August 20, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I think the issue can be as simple as putting an advisory encouraging non-bike riders to stay out of the bike car. I was at Palo Alto yesterday and I saw a crowd (with a lot of non-bike rider) at the 2nd bike car of the train (not the cab car), while no one was waiting to board the adjacent car. It is strange that people would rather crowd at the door than go to the next car, perhaps they’re too lazy.

    That train happened to be a baby bullet, so it is the bikers’ lucky day of having a train with 64 bike capacity.

    Reply
  • 5. G  |  October 2, 2008 at 2:10 am

    andychow, your comment about “the bikers’ lucky day” is flipped – was it a baby bullet schedule, or Bombardier rolling stock? Only if four Bombardier bike cars were in the same consist would one have 64 bike spaces.

    Reply

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