Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Metro finally serious about creating more bike facilities at its stations?

Ann Scott Tyson reported in Sunday's Washington Post that Metro is interested in increasing the numbers the people who arrive to its stations by bike
Maybe our Metro bike parking can look like
parking in Copenhagen, Denmark (Photo by R. Myers)

The report mentions that over the next 5 years, Metro will commit $11 million in projects to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to its rail stations $3 million would go toward replacing bicycle racks and lockers.

Citing the tremendous cost of creating an estimated 40,000 additional parking spaces at its stations to accommodate additional patronage of its system, Metro and its planner are now seriously considering adding more bike parking and reconfiguring how the system moves people to and from its facilities.  Hopefully, this would include stations that are difficult to access in the District (Rhode Island Avenue - Brentwood)  or have high rates of bike theft (take your pick).

While new racks are planned for high-ridership stations such as East Falls Church, Vienna, Braddock Road, Bethesda, Silver Spring, West Hyattsville, and Columbia Heights, are there any stations that District station users feel should also be considered for expansion?  Including Columbia Heights, which has full racks through almost all hours of the day, Woodley Park / Adams Morgan (which at 61, has the largest numbers of users during morning peak travel), Eastern Market and Foggy Bottom are stations  with bike parking that is limited and occasionally difficult to access.

As many who have used the bike racks can attest, they are brittle at best and use a locking style that doesn't fully protect bikes from theft. In addition to acquiring new bike parking equipment, Metro plans to spend $8 million on expanding bicycle parking locations and improving connections to stations from communities across the region. 

Much like the District's bike facility at Union Station, Metro hopes to emulated that program's success through the creation of pilot bike storage facility at the College Park station.  According to the report , Nat Bottigheimer, director of Metro’s Office of Long Range Planning stated that the College Park trial facility will consist of a secured and enclosed room monitored by closed-circuit video.  A total of 80 cyclist will use a SmarTrip card to access the storage area, which allows for the easy integration of technology already in place.

BAC would like to hear your ideas on accessing Metro stations by bike.  If you have additional locations, add them to the comments.