"We need to look at our stations, and see how we can become more accommodating," says Metro General Manager John Catoe.
Catoe believes Metro has to get crafty with ways to better serve Metro riders. He believes that a good model for their bicycle plan are European cities.
"In every station there are thousands of bicycles," says Catoe. "I can't say we will get to that point, but we need to look at it. We need to be creative and think outside of the box."
No specifics are given, but it sounds like encouraging users to lock their bikes at the station is the main goal.
Catoe feels that they need to make bikers feel more comfortable with leaving their bikes at the stations for long stretches of time.
That's good (assuming it means secure parking out of the elements), but it still doesn't go far enough. Other suggestions:
- Reevaluate the rush-hour restriction. New York asks cyclists to avoid rush-hour, but does not ban them. "Consideration for others along with reasonable judgment help produce a safer, more comfortable environment for everyone,including bicyclists." I think we have room for more access that is considerate. San Francisco limits the stations and lines (highlighted on the schedule here) bikes can use, but it's not a wholesale ban.
- Both of the above systems also allow bikes to be carried up and down stairs. It's worth considering and making bicycle troughs mandatory at all new stations (Dulles) or upgrades (Navy Yard)
- No other system that I could find requires that folded bikes be placed inside a carry on bag.
- San Francisco clearly states its policy on where a folding bike must be folded "During commute hours, folding bikes must be folded before entering the paid area at the Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center San Francisco Stations, and the 12th and 19th Street Oakland Stations. At all other stations, they may be folded on the platform, but must be folded before boarding a train." and allow passengers to roll their bike to the platform at stations where it makes sense. Metro has no policy and when I emailed them to ask what the policy was the response was this: "The rule is any package or item carried onto the Metro that could possible present a safety problem to other passengers would not be allowed on the Metro. Any operations personnel who see or realizes that can ask the customer to remove the item or not use the Metro. If you are transporting your bike on the Metro then you are already aware of the general rules concerning safety and your concern for folding the bike. You can certainly understand why our staff my ask that your bike is folded for easier and safer transport, whenever you are on Metro property bus or rail safety is our No. 1 priority." Which is basically saying - our policy is that we don't have one.
- How about a Metro Bicycle Access plan like - again - San Francisco's?
- On train bike storage would improve safety - which I've been told is their "No. 1 priority"
That's just a short list to which bike parking, bike access routes and bike station plans could be added.