BART’s historic Bike Pilot Project ended on August 31 after a successful trial.
Bicyclists loved it, of course.
But what has happened since August?
Many cyclists have been wondering….
BIKE PILOT RECAP
For the first time since BART began carrying passengers 40 years ago, BART ended its bike blackouts entirely for all five Fridays in August. For a limited trial period bicyclists were able to take their bikes on any BART train going in any direction, to or from any BART station, at any hour.
Cyclists could board BART trains as long as there was sufficient room (just as at all other times) and all other bike-related rules applied during the pilot: there was no other special treatment for cyclists and bikes were not allowed on escalators.
“The goal of the pilot program is to test the impact on passengers and train operations of having bikes in the stations and on the trains during peak periods. Allowing bikes on board at all times can make BART more convenient for people and potentially increase ridership. (Emphasis added.)
The pilot will be evaluated from an operational perspective, from the perspective of bike riders, and from the perspective of non-bike riding passengers…If the pilot demonstrates…potential to ease the restrictions…we will…bring suggested changes to the Board for discussion.”
AFTER THE PILOT: BART PROCESSING NEW INFO
The bike pilot yielded lots of information to the BART staff and to activists–just what they wanted. It also revealed several areas in which BART needs to improve bike access–whether or not the current BART policy banning bicycles during peak commute periods is ended or modified.
The bike pilot will be discussed at Monday’s meeting of the BART BIcycle Advisory Task Force (BBATF), 6-8 PM on October 1, in Room 171 of the Joseph P. Bort Metro Center at 101 Eighth Street in Oakland. It’s across the street from Lake Merritt BART. (Bike parking is available inside.)
BART is already modifying its older cars, removing “wind screens” to make them more accessible for all passengers. The staff is also exploring changes in signage, new passenger courtesy campaigns (to reduce rider conflicts), improved station access, better bike security, and possibly modifying the bike blackout periods themselves. Until BART staff is certain that changes can be implemented safely and successfully, they are unwilling to recommend new policies or procedures to the board.
Look for a full report to the BART Board on the August Bike Pilot in November or December, with implementation of the board’s decisions to follow,perhaps in 2013.
BART’s improved welcome to cyclists has been decades in coming. The August pilot project joins BART’s new 2012 bike plan, improved bike security efforts, new bike stations, and reduced blackout hours, among other progress. Some BART staffers still resist or oppose increased bike access on BART trains, but the agency has bike advocates on the inside, too.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have represented Alameda County on the BART Bicycle Advisory Task Force (BBATF) since 2011. My comments here are solely my own: they do not represent the official or unofficial views of BART, the BBATF, or any of its members.
Look for more about Bikes on BART in this space soon.
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