(Stephen Box has been leading the charge for a better bike plan on Metro trains than the "two bikes per car" rule that was proposed earlier this month. In this post he updates us on his efforts to build consensus for a better plan. Over the weekend he got a bevy of support from the candidates running for the Los Angeles City Council CD2)
At last night's monthly Transit Coalition meeting, I presented the Metro's proposed "Bikes-on-Rail" policy which lifts the rush hour ban on cyclists but imposes a universal limit of two cyclists per rail car. I asked them to oppose the proposal and to support a robust and comprehensive appraisal of the Metro's capacity woes and to join me in pursuing a solution that benefited all passengers including cyclists.
The ensuing conversation was the discourse that we deserve to hear at a Metro Board meeting. In fact, as I looked around the room at a Metro insider, an Amtrak insider, a couple of local municipal system insiders, a couple of political insiders and an array of transportation advocates representing several modes including cycling; I realized that the Transit Coalition was probably better qualified to run the Metro than their Board.
Bart Reed went around the room, polling each participant on the Metro's proposal to limit cyclists.
The responses went from wonky to simple common sense, but they were consistent in opposing the proposal and in pursuing a solution that would support the Metro's commitment to supporting all modes of transportation.
Starting off with a review of the capacity projections that predated the Red Line to the length of the stations to platooning to headway limitations to rail car configurations, the experts quickly took us through many considerations that effect how and where people board the train, all of which simply confirmed that the Metro's current proposal was nothing if not hasty and ill-conceived.
Participants reviewed other systems ranging from Moscow's subway to the Metrolink. Capacity calculations, bike rack configurations, bike cars, bike lockers at both ends, increased service, better connectivity and simply applying common sense to specific situations were all tossed out as solutions to the current capacity issues that Metro apparently hopes to solve by limiting cyclists to two per rail car.
At the end of the great discussion Bart Reed polled the group and with no objections, positioned the Transit Coalition in favor of a policy that recognizes cyclists as customers and challenged the Metro to get in the business of moving people instead of simply moving buses and rail cars.
It's evenings such as this that give me hope!