Bicyclists across LA County should get ready for an upcoming meeting of the Metro Operations Committee. They’ll be meeting this Thursday, April
22 21 at 1:00 PM in the Metro Board Room at Metro Gateway Plaza. Up for discussion: removing peak-hour restrictions for bicycles on all Metro Rail lines (here’s the report pdf).
Recommendation: Restriction Removal
You can read the particulars for yourself, but Metro staff’s first recommendation is a full repeal of peak-hour restrictions for bikes. The rationale given reflects the arguments made by the bicycle community for years. Staff notes that, due to the recent expansion of the Metro Rail system, the restriction of bikes during a “peak hour” can instead translate up to a 2 1/2 hour restriction in each direction, depending on the station you leave from. Staff also rightly concludes that by allowing unfettered bicycle access and by providing certainty for the rules of rail travel, Metro will encourage more people to use transit and consequently lower LA’s carbon footprint.
The second staff recommendation is to:
Authorize the CEO to administratively revise bike rules in the future to reflect Board adopted bicycle policies that do not conflict with the Customer Code of Conduct.
Any changes to the Code of Conduct would need approval by the Board separately, though, and only after the current policy is revised. Bicyclists may need to keep an eye on how those changes are implemented at separate Board meetings further on down the line.
Seat Removal: Difficult but Necessary
Another staff recommendation involves removing a few seats from all Metro rail cars in order to create space for bicycles on trains. The Metro Red and Purple Lines are the only trains that currently have seats removed in each car to make space for bikes. For the Blue, Green, Gold, and soon-to-be Expo Lines, no such space exists. Metro staff estimates that all the train cars in Metro’s stock could be reconfigured to accommodate bicycles for $950,000.
Safety, Convenience, and More Space for All
If we can editorialize for a moment, we believe that providing seat removal on all Metro train lines will be a benefit for all Metro riders and not just bicyclists. Mothers with strollers, people trailing fold-up shopping carts, tourists with heavy luggage, bicyclists, or train riders with large parcels can all benefit from having a place to safely secure their respective load.
On trains without a seat removal area, riders are often forced to jam things into seating areas, block isles, or block train doorways. Having a dedicated area for large items can free up seating space and make ingress and egress from train doorways easier. And for crowded trains like the Blue Line, removing seats will increase standing capacity on a train when a bicycle isn’t in the car.
Finally, there’s the safety aspect to consider. People forced to block doorways with large items poses a sizable risk on trains that might need to be evacuated. And for trains like the blue line that don’t have central poles, a sharp tap on the brakes by the driver could send a stroller in the isle rolling all the way to the other end of the car. Having a designated area where a stroller could be secured provides a much safer option.
April 22, 1:00
So please try to make it out to the Operations Committee meeting to voice your support for the removal of peak-hour restrictions and the removal of a few seats per train. It’s just another step towards making Los Angeles into the preeminent bicycling city it deserves to be.