Last night, I attended the Metro Bicycle Roundtable Implementation & Operations Subcommittee meeting. The roundtables’ provide an excellent opportunity for advocates and interested folks to have an open dialogue with Metro staff from various departments, including planning, media relations, and operations. The venue provides a forum for stakeholders to make suggestions to Metro management and to hear Metro’s perspectives on various initiatives and suggestions, firsthand. Many topics were brought up, including: the possibility of improving station signage and decals on Metro trains, bicycle/pedestrian awareness training for bus drivers, as well as the possible strategic removal of seats for bicycle storage on light rail vehicles. The meeting did go a little long due to vivid enthusiasm over the topic of operator training and safety. More on last night’s Bicycle Roundtable below the fold.
The roundtable kicked off with some inspirational words from Diego Cardose as he proclaimed the 21st century to be the “century of bikes.” He stressed the importance of the emerging Los Angeles bicycle culture and assured everyone that Metro is working hard to improve the user experience of bicyclists. Next up, Alice Tolar introduced Metro’s summer bike count initiative that included an outreach campaign to let people know that Metro had dropped its peak hour bike restrictions. Under the supervision of Metro Intern Field Coordinator Rye Baerg, interns conducted outreach and bike counts at over 52 Metro Rail Stations in just 20 days.
Rye introduced a few of the interns to go over their impressions of the program. Michelle Craven from UCLA went over the logistics of the operation. Interns were split up into four teams and conducted counts four days a week for five weeks. Counts were conducted during the A.M. and P.M. peak periods. The intern’s main objectives were to:
- Collect data on bikes, large items, strollers, etc.
- Platform outreach
- Outreach on trains (train ambassadors)
Many potential improvements to the system were discussed. Metro announced that they will gradually and strategically remove seats on rail lines starting with the Gold and Green lines, and concluding with the Blue line. Metro is also considering changing up their recorded messages, downplaying rules – “no eating, drinking, smoking or playing loud music…” – in favor of positive reinforcement and destination focused guides. New decals as well as new system wide signage were also discussed. Hector Guerrero, Metro Director, Operations Training & Improvement, then quickly took us through a Metro operator training slideshow. He stressed that operators are trained to avoid collisions and to practice safe driving. Operator driving safety was a touchy subject for members of the general public that were in attendance, as many described having had close calls with Metro buses in the past. If you’ve had past incidents with Metro buses, it is encouraged that you submit a comment/complaint here. This allows Metro staff to track trends and deal with them accordingly. For those of you who are interested, here is the video that Metro operators will be watching courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).