Published Friday, October 3, 2008, by the San Mateo Daily Journal
Bike plan approved, riders want more
By Dana Yates
A bike plan approved yesterday by the Caltrain Board of Directors was
called a step in the right direction but cyclists want the agency to
increase capacity to keep them from being turned away from trains.
Peninsula bicyclists want more cars added to trains to accommodate
their numbers, but Caltrain cannot afford to add the extra space. The
plan improves and adds bike lockers to popular train stations, but
does not go far enough in addressing capacity problems, bicyclists
Caltrain said it would continue to study capacity issues related to
bikes. Bicyclists argue that Caltrain should remove seats from
additional cars and replace them with bike racks. Caltrain does not
want to do that until it is certain it will not force other customers
from the train.
"We would like the plan postponed until the real problem is
addressed," said Shirley Johnson of Bikes on Board.
Both Caltrain and the bicyclists want to find a way to alert
customers to what kind of room is available on approaching trains.
"Everyone, with a bike or otherwise, deserves that kind of
predictability," said board Chair Jim Hartnett, a Redwood City
The draft Caltrain Bicycle Parking and Access Plan, originally called
the Bike Master Plan, focuses on ways to improve bicycle access at
Caltrain's 10 most popular stations, including Millbrae, downtown
San Mateo, Hillsdale and Redwood City. The plan outlines ways
Caltrain can improve bike access at the stations and manage the
number of bike riders that flood trains at peak hours.
During peak commute hours, bicyclists are often "bumped" from the
trains, meaning there is no room for their bike and therefore they
must wait for the next train or quickly lock their bike up at the
station. Caltrain has removed 1,000 seats from trains and designated
the northern car of each train for bicyclists. On the older style
cars, there are 32 spaces for bikes. On the newer style cars, there
are 16 spaces, according to Caltrain.
The study suggests Caltrain should consider subsidies to help
customers buy folding bikes that can retail for $500 to $1,000.
Folding bikes can be stored on luggage racks in any car.
However, bicyclists at yesterday's meeting said it was unrealistic
to expect people who already own a bicycle to invest that amount
of money into new bikes that are not as comfortable.
The plan also suggests increasing the total number of bike racks and
lockers at the San Mateo County stations. San Mateo bike racks and
lockers could increase from 30 to 49; Hillsdale would increase from
34 to 39; Redwood City would increase from 72 to 106.
Dana Yates can be reached by e-mail: dana@...
phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.