Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Metros Using Bikes to Increase Ridership

The last thing that most people would consider using to raise Metro use in urban areas, is cycling, but Washington D.C.’s Metro is looking to boost ridership by boosting cycling. Officials at the transit authority have noted that, while Metro’s ridership is growing, there isn’t enough room around most of its stations to expand parking. More bicycle-to-train trips will mean more commuters can board at those stations while reducing Metro’s vehicle storage costs. And compared to a system where driving and walking are the only options, a system that encourages biking to the train will improve overall access for commuters to Metro stations.

A recently completed study of pedestrian and bicycle access [PDF] at Metro stations outlined strategies for increasing the percentage of passengers who arrive by bicycle, with the goal of doubling the rate over 10 years and quintupling it over 20. David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington pulls out some juicy details:
While walking almost entirely depends on the number of housing units or jobs within a short distance of the station, bicycling has the potential to replace a number of short auto trips to Metro parking lots, freeing up spaces for other people to drive to the station without having to build more parking.
Parking garages cost Metro $30,000 per space to build, while a secure bike cage costs only $1,000 per space, and bike racks cost far less. Therefore, increasing bicycling for riders who live 1-3 miles from stations is the cheapest and best way to improve access for those riders.
In a survey, 67% of riders said they would consider bicycling and 55% would consider walking. The distance from home to the station was the top factor barring walking or biking, but #2 was “uncomfortable crossing conditions at intersections” and #3 was “high traffic volume and speed.” 25% of the respondents said they drive instead of walking or biking because they “do not know a safe walking or biking route.”
As part of its campaign to woo cyclists, Metro is planning to improve and expand bike parking facilities at its stations. I also read that Metro might add a Bicycle Program Manager. If so, I assume that their highest priority will be to add visible, accessible and connected bicycle facilities to their stations. By creating a connected network to the system, providing bike parking at the destinations, and increasing the comfort level of the riders, it will most definitely be successful.

1 comment:

  1. secure bike parking is essential to make commuting possible. Fingers crossed it gets the funding it deserves.
    www.coffeeandcrosswinds.blogspot.com

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