On Thursday November 2, the Caltrain Board of Directors unanimously adopted the 2017 Bicycle Parking Management Plan, the agency’s third major bicycle parking plan in the past ten years. The item was scheduled to be reviewed at the Board’s October 5 meeting, but was postponed on that date by Caltrain Board Chair and Redwood City City Council member Jeff Gee.
While the $150,000 plan is silent on specific bicycle parking improvements Caltrain will make next, it does recommend spending another $150,000 on the hiring of a part-time Bike Access Manager in Fiscal Year 2018. That Bike Access Manager would then identify specific bike parking improvements to be made and secure funding for them. Caltrain’s annual investment in bicycle parking will grow from $390,000 to $570,000 under the next year’s budget.
“Ridership may double by 2040, and it is anticipated that the number of passengers accessing the system by bicycle will grow substantially during the same time period, as well. While the new electric trains will provide one on-board bike space for every eight seats, they may still not provide sufficient on-board capacity to accommodate all future bike riders.
Therefore, it is important that Caltrain’s wayside bike facilities provide a viable, attractive, and feasible option for passengers who bike to and/or from a Caltrain station today and in the future.” – 2017 Caltrain Bicycle Parking Management Plan Executive Summary
17 percent of Caltrain passengers arrive via bicycle, according to data presented in the plan, and of those, only six percent park their bicycles at the stations. Electronic BikeLink bike lockers still aren’t available at most Caltrain stations, while they’re already standard at VTA and BART stations.
“90 percent of our [bicycling] riders are bringing their bicycles on-board,” said Caltrain Planning Manager Elizabeth Scanlon at the meeting. “For our keyed lockers we have the most supply but the least usage.” Scanlon reported that Caltrain plans to install more shared electronic bike lockers, but not how many, where, or when.
“We need to have somebody focused in on this,” said Caltrain Board member and Los Altos City Council member Jeannie Bruins, who passed out photos of her visit to a train station in Rotterdam, Netherlands with parking for 12,000 bicycles. Bruins also cited Utrecht as a model bicycle parking paradise that Caltrain can grow towards.
“One thing that was striking is the low usage of keyed bike lockers,” said resident Jeff Carter of the staff report.
“I strongly urge you to move forward with this plan,” said Friends of Caltrain Director Adina Levin. “If there is better bike parking that will free up space on the train for more bikes.” Levin pointed to the agency’s 2008 and 2014 bike parking plans, neither of which were actually implemented, as cautionary tales.
“The technology exists to centralize everything – to centralize shared bike parking,” said BayRail Alliance President Andy Chow.
No Caltrain Board member made any comment after the public comment period. The Board then adopted the 2017 Bicycle Parking Management Plan with a unanimous 7-0 vote.
Send comments to: Caltrain Planning Manager Elizabeth Scanlon, 650-295-6867