Metro prepares for 'Bike to Work'
When I posted an entry on Bike to Work Day, it provided an exchange in the comments that highlighted the tensions between bikers and drivers over shared space. This one probably will highlight the tensions between bikers and transit riders.
Metro is encouraging cyclists to ride their bikes and take Metrobus or Metrorail during this Friday's Bike to Work Day.
The transit authority notes that all its buses are now bike-friendly. Cyclists who ride to a Metrobus stop and take the bus to work can put their bikes on the front-mounted racks. (I've always thought that if I could handle that mechanism, I could pilot the space shuttle. But cyclists tell me its quite easy. Here's Metro's step by step guide.)
At Metrorail stations, cyclists can lock their bikes at first come-first served racks, unless they already have lockers. See details on Metro's bike parking page.
What's the catch?
Many in the bike to work crowd this Friday will be assembling at rally points and cycling all the way into downtown Washington for a rally at Freedom Plaza. If they do choose to come in by Metrorail, it's worth noting that the stations have about 1,600 bike racks -- not a huge number when spread around 86 stations.
There are 1,300 rental lockers. If you're interested in renting one for the future, send an e-mail to Metro that includes your name, address, contact phone number, e-mail address and station of interest. The lockers cost $70 a year, with a $10 key deposit. That's pretty cheap, but by next Bike to Work Day, they'll probably be a lot more expensive. The Metro board is considering a proposal to increase the annual rental to $200. Still, everyone is going to pay a lot more to use Metro.
One of the key discouragements to a bike-rail combo as a commute is Metrorail's ban on bikes from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Bikers would have to get in and get out mighty early to make Metro a part of their workday.
Even though I hear complaints about this from bikers, I must sympathize with the regular crowd of rush-hour riders. They already endure those double-wide strollers -- the SUVs of the sidewalk -- as well as suitcases and backpacks that get flung around with abandon. It's too much to try to jam bikes aboard those crowded rail cars during the morning and afternoon rush.
Meanwhile, there are some good things happening: A new section of the Metropolitan Branch Trail opened. That's eventually going to be an eight-mile route between Silver Spring and Union Station, closely paralleling the eastern side of the Red Line and offering good links with the stations.
And speaking of links, Metro says it's working with local jurisdictions to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to the stations. The transit authority is wrapping up
a study to identify places where improved pathways could attract more people to bike or walk to a station. There will be suggestions about how to improve the connections, such as improving the bike storage systems.
May 18, 2010; 3:21 PM ET
Categories: Biking , Metro , transit | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, metrobus
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