Thursday, April 7, 2011

Build it and they will come

The staff report at the Caltrain Joint Powers Board meeting today had an interesting nugget.

Ridership on the train by cyclists bringing their bike on board increased by 1100 riders per day from February 2010 to February 2011, to a record level. An over 33% increase systemwide.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd looked at the graphs and charts, and spoke up. "I am going to be a bit parochial here, but I see that the numbers are even higher for San Francisco". COO Chuck Harvey responded by saying that "4th and King is a very popular stop for cyclists, both arriving in the city and people in the city headed to the South Bay". Elsbernd asked about the "bike lockers" at 4th, Harvey responded that the Warm Planet bike shop was "flat out full - every day".

What's changed? Why the big increase?

I posit two things.

1) Increased bike capacity, thanks in no small part to the San Francisco Bike Coalition
2) New BIKE LANES on Townsend Street, making getting to the station much more pleasant.

Build it - and they will come.

Harvey was very energetically describing the additional on board capacity coming online this summer - 2 bike cars on every gallery set, money is in place and the plan is ready. The bike capacity portion of the presentation was more than mere afterthought - the staff is trying everything it can to show that ridership is strong and on the increase, and the cyclist program continues to be a huge - and growing - success.


Bryn said...

You know what would be a nice change, is if when they do run two bike cars. They were both at the same end of the train. That way if one is overly full, there is no need to run halfway down the platform in cleats.

It would take the guesswork out of which trains have two bike cars or one. No need to gamble by standing in the middle of the platform and hoping for a second bike car.

PS. Murph, thanks for going to the meeting.

Mikesonn said...

Bryn, totally agree. But once two cars are on all trains, then you'll know a 2nd car will be there. However, if you like being on the northern most car and are worried about it being full then your idea would help that.

I'd also like to thank you for going Murph. These next couple of months will see huge increases in bike ridership with the return of the nice weather.

About the area around Caltrain and something that has always bugged me - the last block from 3rd to 4th on King. WHY WHY WHY did they kill the bike lane a block away from the station? For what, a bigger median around the LRV ROW? What a waste of space. But I'm glad that Townsend has lanes now as most drivers on King already think they are on 280 - speeding, blowing red lights, stopping in the crosswalk (if they do stop). It's dangerous out there. Townsend is much calmer.