Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Great White Whale

Update - I scored a photo. Fritz scooped me anyway.

From Eric Altendorf's Picasa stream.

Caltrain has installed new racks on one of the gallery cars.

NB275 one old gallery - with two additional racks! Capacity for 40 bikes! T17:58
5:58 PM Feb 18th from web

The JPB meeting was Feb 5. Pretty fast for government work!

Here is a picture of the new racks.

F&@! you, too

OK, that's just some guy flipping off someone on a BART platform. Which is appropriate because I feel like Caltrain is giving us the finger as well.

Can someone get a pic of car with extra racks and send to tahoe at murphstahoe dot com? T14:08
2:08 PM Feb 19th from web

329 retrofitted old car with 40 spaces! Come on and check it out! T08:19
about 7 hours ago from web

Someone on #329 please post pic of new rack please and reply to @cyclelicious thank you! T08:38
about 7 hours ago from web

So now we have a battle royale between myself and bonvivant cycling blogger Yokota Fritz a.k.a. Richard Masoner a.k.a. Cyclelicious. We are fighting it out to be the very first one to post a picture of the great white whale - the new Caltrain bike racks.

My wife is a Market Researcher and knows a thing or two about getting your "power-user" customers gathered together before you roll out a product and getting their opinions on things. Caltrain - not so much. That's what you get from a public agency.

The word on the street is that the racks are too short to be very useful. They are likely to scratch bikes, the bungee cords now wrap around in a way that it is hard to keep the bikes upright. The only rationale we can figure for why this rack was selected was that it is in front of one of the emergency windows. Of course, so are some of the seats. Hard to say - since I have NEVER SEEN THE THING.

Someone did email Mark Simon at Caltrain about it - executive summary seemed to be that Caltrain was testing this rack before installing more. So they ordered a rack, slapped it in, and are apparently running it on the 5 AM and 11 PM trains because hardly anyone has seen the damn thing. Perhaps Caltrain is hoping that by putting that train on empty runs, on rainy days, that nobody will use the rack and they can claim that the result of their trial run is that we don't need more capacity.

To which I reply...
SB332 one new--2 bumped at 22nd St T09:05
about 7 hours ago from web

Seriously though, I know Mark/Michelle/Chuck have the email address for the SFBC and SVBC. All they had to do was sent out a heads up and dozens of interested parties would have showed up at Diridon or 4th/King and taken a look at the rack and given them 95% of the information they needed, before they even bothered to install the rack in one car. Sean Elsbernd seemed to voice some concern that the staged approach to capacity increas might cost Caltrain more money. I guarantee the "market research" techniques Caltrain is using now will cost Caltrain more money.

Apparently Caltrain thinks we are all just a bunch of scruffy rabble rousers - given Director Gage's dismissive comment "I'm very interested to see all the unique costumes today" at the JPB meeting, I could be right. I'm sure he thought he was being witty. So does Dean Grose

Apparently Caltrain doesn't think we're smart enough to have useful feedback. Because of course they are the brains behind revolutionary things like "Bicycle Entrance and Exit Doors" (not done with any outreach to riders and immediately ridiculed by all) and the "Eight Ride Ticket". The riders in the bikecar instead are just a bunch of know nothings who work on things like "The iPhone".

I'm wearing a suit to the next JPB meeting, maybe they'll take me seriously when I tell them they aren't doing their job.

1 comment:

Yokota Fritz said...

Tweed. We should all wear tweed.

If the weather's nice I'll wear a button shirt, but probably not a jacket. Maybe Jon Winston should show up?