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Caltrain OK's plan to improve station parking & access for bikes

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  • 10/3 San Mateo Journal
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2008
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      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
      argue.

      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
      councilman.

      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@... or by
      phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.
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