Bicycles Oversaturate Metro Rail & Busway
With the higher gas prices came the increased usage of bicycles this summer. Whether it was driver vs cyclist or police against cyclist, the battle for street space continues. Most recently, the Daily News reports on bicycles fighting for space on the Orange Line racks and on rail like the Red Line. Sue Doyle's excellent report presents many problems, some with solutions (some of which that are ours), some not:
- Problem: The Orange Line bike racks (only three per bus) are full, forcing one commuter who has been doing this for a while to now walk or wait a few buses before one comes along with an empty rack. Solutions: For us as regular bicycle Orange Line bicycle users, we feel the pain. If it's late at night and you ask the bus driver nicely, they might let you on the back of the bus with the bike.
- Problem: Metro's Marc Littman says that their "hope is that people will ride bikes to transit and then take transit. But a number of people want to take their bikes, too." But wait: This statement is not too helpful. Biking commuting might be needed on both sides of the commute. Sometimes you need to bike a couple miles to your first transit stop and then another couple miles to your destination after getting off transit.
- Problem: Bicycle Parking. Solution: "The Los Angeles County transit system will install 100 bike lockers at three Red Line and five Orange Line stations, including 32 to replace 12 old ones in North Hollywood." But wait: Lockers, which you have to apply and pay a security deposit on (and be put on a waiting list if none are available) are great for regular users, but the old fashion bicycle racks are helpful for the spontaneous or infrequent user, especially at the Red Line station where LA Times' Steve Hymon has challenged Tom LaBonge to get more racks.
- Problem: Bicycles plus packed subway cars are hard for everyone. Solutions: One rider in the story mentions using the last car since it's not as full. Some believe the last car should have seats ripped out to allow more room for bikes. In Portland, each train door near the space reserved for wheelchairs and bicycles has a sticker so people can easily find the correct door to access their storage areas. Metro does not have any of these so if you enter the wrong door, you must navigate to the open space where it is reserved for wheelchairs (which cyclists take up if no wheelchair is there.
- Problem: Lots of people in confined spaces can make people crazy and rude. Solution: "The spike in riders has also prompted Metro to launch a new campaign in September, informing people how to use mass transit and to be courteous of others on board." Additionally, Metro "plans to meet with bicycle groups in the fall to hear their concerns."