Metro’s Bicycle Program has recently undergone a management change that is designed to bolster agency efforts to make L.A.’s transit system friendlier to bicycle commuters.
Metro’s Bicycle Program is now under the leadership of Diego Cardoso, an executive officer within the planning department who also directs Metro’s pedestrian, transportation demand management, transportation enhancements and sustainability planning efforts. Metro’s Bicycle Program will still be managed by Lynne Goldsmith, with support from Planning Deputy Executive Officer Shahrzad Amiri.
Those of you who have participated in the Bicycle Roundtables this year know that former Caltrans District 7 Director Doug Failing was hired at the agency as interim chief of Metro’s Planning department.
One of the first actions Doug spearheaded was the formation of the new Bicycle Roundtable series, which meets regularly with members of the L.A. bike community to share and discuss bicycle issues within the agency’s purview. Doug presided over the Roundtable series until last September.
With the hiring earlier this year of architect and urban planner Martha Welborne as Metro’s new planning chief — the formal title is Executive Director of Countywide Planning — Doug now leads Highway Project Delivery at Metro.
In debating whether the Bicycle Program should be placed under the planning or highway departments at Metro, management at the agency decided to put bikes under planning because the agency’s other non-motorized and sustainability modes were also under Planning. Bike projects, by the way, are mostly funded in the bike and transportation demand management categories in Metro’s Call for Projects.
What does that mean for the future of the Bicycle Program and the Roundtable series? Work continues on several fronts. See the most recent Bicycle Program update given to the Metro Board in November.
Doug Failing has not lost his interest in bicycle issues and remains committed to the effort.
“I plan to follow the Bicycle Roundtables closely and lend my voice to championing bicycle issues at Metro.” Doug said.
Metro’s planning department is now actively managing an aggressive bicycle agenda generated both from input from the bicycle community and the Metro Board of Directors. A report is going to the Board of Directors as part of their Dec. 9 meeting. The 10 bicycle program directives from the Board are:
- Recommend increased bicycle funding in Metro’s 2011 Call For Projects (tentatively increasing the bicycle modal category from 7% to 15%, pending MTA board approval).
- Develop a phased plan to install triple racks on all buses.
- Develop a cost estimate, implementation schedule and funding sources to retrofit subway and light rail cars for bicycles.
- Propose a revised Customer Code of Conduct to be more bicycle friendly and create a “how to ride metro” document for large packages, bicycles, strollers, etc.
- Identify the feasibility of adding bike racks to vanpool vehicles.
- Provide estimated costs and potential funding sources to install improved way-finding signage at all Metro stations.
- Include bicycle mode messages in all Metro marketing materials and provide updates on Metro’s Bicycle Safety Advertising Campaign.
- Work with LA County Sheriff to track bicycle theft and crime at all Metro stations and suggest safety improvements.
- Include ramp designs for stairs at all new Metro stations so bicyclists can wheel their bikes up the stairs.
- Incorporate robust bicycle facilities in all new transit project designs to facilitate first/last mile transit access.
What sort of message does Metro send to its bus drivers regarding interacting with cyclists on the street? When I’m riding in the Sunset Blvd bike lane they regularly pass me with less than 3 feet, sometimes inching into the bike lane. It makes me wonder if an official policy on passing cyclists even exists. There are also times they cut in front of me on a hill to stop and I have to quickly hit the brakes or be forced out into traffic.
And yes, please take out some seats on light rail! The current designated bike area just annoys anyone who wants to pass through that part of the train.
**Moderator: I had some errors in my previous comment. Please remove and replace with this one. Thanks**
To echo Erik G.’s comment above, removing seats on rail vehicles to accommodate bicycles, patrons with suitcases and standees is pretty commonplace among transit systems. BART in the San Francisco Bay Area has removed seats and added a bicycle parking area on more than 10% of it’s vehicle fleet and is incorporating additional spaces for bikes and standees in new cars being designed now to replace the existing fleet. BART has also installed about 200 electronic bike lockers at stations. Unlike conventional lockers that LA Metro uses, these lockers can be shared by any patron who purchases an access smartcard to rent the locker for a nominal fee (3 cents/hour). See: http://bart.gov/bikes for more information. I would love to see Metro implement a similar program at Rail & Orange Line stations and heavily used bus stops. Hopefully the Metro 2011 Call for Projects will fund some pilot projects.
There has to be a bench/group of seats in the Light Rail cars that could be removed immediately. That is where the need for standee and bicycle space is presently greatest and as it is those cars do not need 2-by-2 seating to begin with. Anywhere else they’d have been built with 2-by-1 seating.
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It’ll be great if any of this actually comes to fruition. Los Angeles is way behind on bicycle infrastructure compared to (almost) every major city in the United States.