Luring cyclists to the trains


In this time of tight money for public services, one budget consideration boils down to this: Which costs more to park — a bike or a car?
That’s a no-brainer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the Metro mass-transit network in the nation’s capital.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the transit authority’s long-range planners, “desperate to avoid having to build 30,000 to 40,000 expensive parking spaces at stations to meet the projected surge in ridership over the next 20 years, have launched an initiative to quintuple the number of cyclists.”
That would seem to require a sea change in the thinking of Washington’s commuters. The Post said that bike-to-rail commuters represent only 0.7 percent of Metrorail riders — compared with about 40 percent who drive, 33 percent who walk and 22 percent who take the bus to stations.
To lure cyclists, Metro plans to invest more than $11 million in projects to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to its rail stations through 2017, the Post reported. About $3 million of that would go toward replacing rapidly deteriorating bicycle racks and lockers and about $8 million to expanding bicycle parking and improving connections to stations from communities.
“It’s very much strategic for us to put a really big focus on bicycle parking,” Kristin Haldeman, Metro’s manager of access planning, told the Post.
She said it’s “an extremely expensive proposition” for the transit authority to expand parking for cars. Parking spaces cost on average $25,000 each, compared with $1,000 per space for a secured bike cage.
The Metro system has 1,700 free racks, which can hold two bicycles each, scattered among its 86 stations, and 1,270 key-operated lockers that rent for $200 a year, the Post said. New racks are planned for high-ridership stations, such as East Falls Church, Va., where more than 90 cyclists park and ride each weekday morning.
In another step to make Washington a more bike-friendly city, the District of Columbia and Arlington County, Va., across the Potomac River, inaugurated on Sept. 20 the nation’s largest bike-sharing system.
Called Capital Bikeshare, the system makes available 1,100 bikes at 114 kiosks in the district and northern Virginia. A user can check out a bike at any of the kiosks and return it to another station. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free. Each additional 30 minutes incurs a fee.

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2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Environment, Travels, Urban cycling

2 responses to “Luring cyclists to the trains

  1. arlen

    we all know that the republicans will vote this down….
    riding a bike will make them sweat like pigs…
    and they all do know how to oink….
    when they have to move their bodies….

  2. Is this relevant to anybody in DFW, where bikes are welcome on the trains?

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