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What’s up with new signs on MAX near bike hooks?

Posted by on March 31st, 2011 at 9:31 am

Bikes on TriMet MAX-4.jpg
The old sign only mentioned bikes…
(Photo © J. Maus)
Now it adds strollers and luggage.
(Photo: Mitch L.)


Reader Mitch L. recently sent in a photo of a new sign TriMet has installed near the bike hooks on MAX trains (above, right).

The old signs read, “Hang bike here – Allow cyclists to access hook.” The new signs have dropped all the text and now have three symbols: a bike, a stroller, and a suitcase.

Mitch says he takes the Blue Line to Beaverton with his bike and wonders if the new signs mean he must now share the space with others. “The concern is that during rush hour/peak travel times, there is already no space for all the bikes that need a ride,” he wrote.

trimet and bikes
It can get crowded on MAX.

To find out more, I asked TriMet’s bike issue go-to guy Colin Maher.

Maher reassured us that TriMet’s bikes on MAX policies have not changed. The new signs, he says, are being installed in response to feedback from riders. “That bike-specific signage made MAX welcoming for bikes, but the wording of the sign coupled with the lack of signage for strollers and luggage made trains less welcoming for others.”

TriMet took the issue to their stakeholders (including the BTA, their own Committee on Accessible Transportation, and others) and decided that a change in signage was appropriate, “since passengers are allowed to use the area under the bike hooks for their luggage or stroller, as well as standing or hanging their bike.”

Maher also notes that while passengers are allowed to put bikes (and luggage and strollers) in the priority seating area, that area is reserved for seniors and riders with disabilities.

While Maher maintains that this new sign doesn’t signal a policy change, the practical impact is obvious. TriMet has gone from telling passengers to expect (and make room for) bikes in a specific area, to de-prioritizing them. This subtle shift is part of a larger trend at TriMet to encourage people to ‘park and ride’ and to not bring bicycles on board.

As we reported in 2008, TriMet realizes there’s simply “not enough room” on trains and buses for bikes and they are struggling to meet the demand.

Learn more about TriMet’s bikes on MAX policies here.

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Comments
  • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Since I’m reading this on MAX, I had to turn around and look – sure enough, my car has the new signs.

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    • Gregg Woodlawn March 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      During my 6 year stint in Oakland/ Berkeley, I used to ride with 10-30 kids several days a week.
      We would all fit our bikes in the BART. We would share trains with people with bike trailers, other folks had tall bikes, x-tra cycles, etc…
      We could definitely fit more bicycles on MAX with if they were more flexible/ accomodating. I’ve been on several trains here where cyclists were kicked off because of “Lack of space” where I thought there was PLENTY of space for all.

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  • stan March 31, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Share the train.

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    • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Most of us do – I commute on MAX daily, and I’ve yet to witness a “hook rage” incident. Commuters are sharing folk in general.

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      • dmc April 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

        “hook rage” LOL

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  • Ethan March 31, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Did the BTA discuss this “consultation” with its membership?

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    • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Why would they need to? They don’t have to bring everything before the membership, nor should they. This wasn’t a decision made by the BTA – they merely provided input to Trimet.

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  • Rob Sadowsky March 31, 2011 at 9:57 am

    We were “consulted” in a meeting but were never told of final resolution. So this is first we’ve heard of it. Trimet did not come back to group and said here are our recommendations, what do you think. It was more of a let’s air out all the problems.

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  • frizzle March 31, 2011 at 10:21 am

    defiantly never enough space for all the bike riders… I have a rather bulky, heavy cruiser bike and am pretty petite, I’m always afraid of wiping out half of the people that won’t move out of my way to lift it on the hook plus added to the fact of not being enough hooks at rush hour.

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    • eli bishop April 1, 2011 at 12:19 am

      +1

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  • Todd Boulanger March 31, 2011 at 10:21 am

    This is an unannounced defacto policy evolution: reclaiming space for passengers (stroller riders) while slowly investing in P+R bike parking.

    It is a rational one from the agency’s perspective…though not as well communicated as when the hooks went up.(Trimet originally planned for the bike space to be used for luggage and strollers when designing the cars for the then new Red Line to the airport, but they went with bikes when they found few airport passengers would leave their luggage unattended.)

    It will be interesting to see if the next train order includes the bike stencil on the floor.

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    • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      I’m not confident – the 400 series cars are far less bike-friendly than the 200 and 300 series. (the 200 series are the best MAX cars to ride in – every innovation since then has been at the expense of passenger comfort and bike-friendliness)

      When Siemens designs the 500 series cars for Trimet, they really need actual cyclists to provide input.

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  • Michweek March 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Are bikes still a priority? Or do I have to stand with my bike while someones stroller is in the way of the hook? When the old signs were there, I was able to ask people to move their stuff so I could hang my bike out of the way.

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    • BURR March 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

      that’s the $64,000 question…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

      I just added this to the end of my story:

      While Maher maintains that this new sign doesn’t signal a policy change, the practical impact is obvious. TriMet has gone from telling passengers to expect (and make room for) bikes in a specific area, to de-prioritizing them. This subtle shift is part of a larger trend at TriMet to encourage people to ‘park and ride’ and to not bring bicycles on board.

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      • Dabby April 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

        Exactly the problem.
        A fine example of a system of public transportation not really being about the public that uses it…

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  • Todd Boulanger March 31, 2011 at 10:33 am

    If on the other hand…if the policy has ‘not’ changed…then a better way of communicating that MAX cars are stroller and luggage friendly would be to add similar(stroller luggage) signs on the non bike doors and a note inside about using the ADA space when not in ADA use.

    Better yet would be to make a stroller area by removing the oddly placed single seats by the articulation pivot or the non ADA bench seat behind the bike hook. These seats could become single flip up seats too – very common way of accommodating strollers and luggage in the European LRTs/ subways. This design option was discussed by Trimet in the past, but I do not know if it is being discussed for any future car orders.

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  • peejay March 31, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I guess my one problem with it is the lack of any kind of message instructing unencumbered riders to allow those with bikes/strollers/luggage access to the space. I’m happy to share with other people who are dealing with large items.

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  • Bike-Max-Bike March 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

    It appears bikes have lost priority in this space. Removing or making flip up seats, as suggested above, would help.

    Edging ever closer to a bike-free Max…

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  • Daniel Ronan March 31, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I think it would be much more effective to do away with the hooks altogether and include “parking bays” for bikes themselves which hold the front wheel of the bike. The Vancouver B.C. has this feature on its Canada Line, which seems to me at the expense of extra seating, however I could be mistaken. This would rid the potential for injury of lifting a bike on crowded trains.

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  • kerry March 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Making transit bike-friendly greatly increases the utility of both. What good does park & ride do me if my max stop is a few miles from my destination? Is there something inherently wrong about wanting to ride to/from the stops on each end? I took my bike on the streetcar recently (due to a total flat in the rain & dark that I didn’t feel like fixing roadside) and it was utterly dreadful…I wound up getting off several stops early and hauling my wounded steed to my destination. It’s Portland, people. Make good bike areas on transit cars.

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  • kerry March 31, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Or maybe I want to show up to work fresh-smelling but ride home for exercise. How, then, would park and ride be useful?

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    • Bike-Max-Bike March 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      I do this all the time. And I want to ride my bike, not share a bike, use a folding bike, or buy two bikes and pay for storage (while cars park for free).

      Looking for a car on craigslist now…

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      • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm

        Please use TriMet’s comments page and let them know as well. They need to know what their customer base thinks of this change.

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  • Bob_M March 31, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Frizzle
    unless you have coaster brakes, an easy way to use hooks is to clamp on the rear brake, pull the bike backward while holding the handlebars and brake – this will “stand” the bike on its rear wheel, then put your knee against the seat and lift the bike with your leg (a very strong muscle). Direct the bike to the hook from the handlebars.
    The best

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  • pdxmike March 31, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Of note, TriMet, while allowing bikes, strollers, wheelchairs and even cellos, does not allow bike trailers. Not Bobs. Not folders. Not burleys. This not a dependent on space rule, it’s a ban. Why is that?

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    • Eric March 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Not surprising. However, I did see a guy get on my bus (#16) with a trailer the other day. The driver didn’t say anything. Granted it’s a limited service route and it was 5:40am…

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    • Stripes March 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      Some Burley trailers (and other brands) convert to baby strollers. You can just add a handle. So, just tell TriMet it’s a baby stroller!! Same difference.

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  • GlowBoy March 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hoo boy. Those of us who HAVE to commute between the eastside and the westside are progressively getting more and more screwed. First they started cracking down on “extra” bikes two years ago just as bike ridership was skyrocketing, leaving lots of us standing on the platform. Now bikes don’t even get priority for those spaces anymore? What used to be a relatively easy commute for me 6 years ago is getting more and more difficult.

    This is why I’m getting a folding bike this spring, for what will otherwise prove to be a nightmare by summer (as bike ridership peaks again) in terms of getting to work and back home on time.

    It doesn’t matter if TriMet has changed the policy. The signs make it clear to the average rider that other users have equal priority for the space. So far everyone is good about sharing and I’ve never even had the slightest resistance when I’ve asked to use the bike hook. I expect that to change now.

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    • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      I’m not seeing much evidence of a “crackdown”, at least not during commuting hours. MAX still typically has 6-10 biycles PER CAR (12-20 per train) going over the western hills. Yesterday, there were 8-10 bikes in my car from PGE Park to Elmonica – when one bike got off, another got on. A low-floor MAX car can legally hold 4 bikes on the hooks and up to 4 more in the Priority Seating Area if those areas are empty. (i.e. not during rush hour)

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    • Bike-Max-Bike March 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      I went car free based on the idea that I could ride three miles to an eastside max stop, ride a max to Beaverton or farther out to work, and ride a few miles to my job.

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  • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    TriMet should go back to the old policy that worked best: No strollers unless folded on any vehicle, anytime.

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    • Steve Chaney April 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

      And no bikes unless folded on any vehicle? How did accommodating bikes become a higher priority than a single mother with a stroller?

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      • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

        Bikes were allowed by permit from the start of the Bikes on TriMet program. I have to wonder how the priority shifted from fare-paying passengers to someone who didn’t have to, but chose to have children, inconveniencing said fare-paying passengers.

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        • El Biciclero April 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

          What about those who chose to adopt or foster the unwanted children of someone else? Or those who chose (they could have walked or ridden the bus) to ride their bikes to the MAX stop?

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        • snapbrim April 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

          Paul, I’m not sure that spinning this as a battle between bike riders and parents is a good idea. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a bad idea. On a lot of levels that I bet you can guess if you really try.

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  • kww March 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Wow, since those signs went up, things are getting crazy!
    http://www.paklinks.com/gsmedia/files/70620/Train1.jpg
    (just kidding of course)

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  • GlowBoy March 31, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Oh, and in reference to TriMet’s new push to encourage folks to use the bike-and-rides: That only works for westsiders commuting to the eastside! There are no bike-and-rides downtown for us eastsiders who work on the westside.

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    • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      Also doesn’t work, if you’re going from, say, somewhere along the next to non-existant service on Murray, Cornell or 158th Avenue to, say, somewhere along the mostly worthless 82 in Gresham.

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    • matt picio March 31, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      And not likely to be any soon – Property values downtown and on the slopes of the western hills are too high for Trimet to put anything in place.

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    • Chris I March 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      They’re installing one at Gateway now.

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      • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

        Because everybody just wants to leave something valuable at Gateway all day…

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        • Chris I March 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm

          In the secure storage? Isn’t that the point?

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          • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

            How is access controlled to that, again? The public has to be able to get in there somehow to be able to park, and there’s plenty of evidence around the transit center that bolting something to the ground isn’t going to stop people from taking it in that neighborhood.

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    • Brent Shultz March 31, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      Exactly. I ride the train from Jefferson/Goose Hollow to Murray. A short hop, but a huge time saver to get over (or in this case, under) the westside hills. If there was a good place to securely lock my bike (lockers or a similar facility), I’d be game to leave my bike behind, but alas…

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  • q`Tzal March 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    The previous signs were used as justification by Trimet staff to eject any cyclists with their bikes if they were occupying a space not marked for bikes.

    Hopefully these signs imply that this policy now applies to rude stoller mommies who park in doorways and vapid tourists that drop their luggage in every chokepoint.

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    • mitch l. April 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

      sounds like you, and likewise myself, have been forced off a train after paying for a ticket because there wasn’t a hook to hang my bike… the whole interaction blew me away.

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  • beth h March 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Be happy you don’t live in Philadelphia, where SEPTA bans bikes altogether in three-hour windows on morning (inbound) and evening (outbound) rush hour trains.

    With as much money as our transit system is losing every day — fares don’t even begin to pay for the costs of running transit and the system is operating at a deficit — we are fortunate to have a functioning transit system at all that actually gets people to and from real places most of the time. Being allowed to bring my bike on board is frankly a bonus, not an absolute right. Perspective, folks.

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    • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Infrastructure isn’t supposed to generate a profit. If it does, that’s a bonus. Just because other cities get it wrong doesn’t mean TriMet has to.

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      • BicycleDave March 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

        Agreed. And don’t forget that roads operate at a deficit.

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        • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

          No doubt, just ask the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, which is still badly underwater on the mortage for the Roy Turner Turnpike, purchased in 1947! Their vehicle count projections from when the turnpike was authorized more or less suggests a 100-mile long continuous traffic jam from Tulsa to Oklahoma City today. Reality? Most people take adjacent Oklahoma Highway 66 for free, and traffic counts peaked last decade. The only folks who take the turnpike the whole length are folks who are either ignorant that 66 is a block away for the entire length of the turnpike, or Absolutely, Positively Have to get between the two cities in two hours with time to spare. Not helping it’s popularity, the Turner Turnpike makes the 100 mile trip with just four exits, three concessions stands and a toll plaza and almost entirely lacks turns, making it a boring and dangerous trip.

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    • Tacoma March 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Hmmm. The whole transit system policy “thing” sure doesn’t seem to be simple. Should it pay for itself? Should it be free? Expand? Contract? Hmmm. Lot to think about.

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    • Chris I March 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      User fees pay for less than 50% of local roads and about 60% of state and federal roads. Raise the gas tax by $1 and then we can start talking about transit users paying their fair share.

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      • Tacoma March 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

        Part of my point exactly – it’s not just a simple matter of a system being able to pay for itself. As you mentioned, motorists are subsidized to drive (unbeknownst to most of them). I believe the transit fares should be lower. Hope my comment didn’t come across as transit users not paying their share.

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    • noah April 1, 2011 at 1:59 am

      OK, I’ll take a moment to be grateful. Then I’ll keep fighting for our rights.

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  • 9watts March 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    “With as much money as our transit system is losing every day” Framing the issue that way is a policy decision. We could decide to make Trimet free. Some jurisdictions do that.
    Can you imagine how much money we’re all going to lose every day if the CRC happens?

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    • q`Tzal March 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Need to frame the argument as “With as much money as our road system is losing every day …”
      Our road system does not, nor has it ever, payed for it self in total by user fees, fuel fees, tolls or any combination of the prior fees.

      Not only is the “transit system doesn’t pay its way” argument faulty but the only alternative is guilty of the same crime.

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  • daisy March 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Bay Area Transit has bus shuttles with trailers to hold the bikes during the rush hours between Oakland and The City and it’s less than the full BART fare. They have had that shuttle for more than twenty years, so should you.

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    • Paul Johnson March 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Call your mom, it might not happen again: Someone from California is actually right.

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  • beelnite March 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I can imagine things are different for the Westside line, but Eastside… shoot I can get to work wayyy faster than MAX or BUS and I live in Gateway-Outer East. Oh sure I’m kind of an animal – above average-but it’s still faster for the average commuter (10-12mph) if you let yourself coast with extreme smugness down off Tabor. Coming home a bit different but we’re talking like 10 minutes difference to get to 122nd. Avoid the MAX – except yesterday – I flatted.

    I gave up the train 6 years ago – I traded “Friday Night Fights” and gangland stabbing confrontations for confrontations with automobiles.

    I feel much safer.

    Anywhere inside SE 82nd- why bother?

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    • eli bishop April 1, 2011 at 12:31 am

      why bother? i want to take the train to hillsboro and then bike to Scappoose/Vernonia. taking the train saves me 26 miles each way.

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  • John Lascurettes March 31, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    If I were ever so encumbered to have to routinely use Trimet to commute again, I’d most definitely look into a foldable for myself. The competition for hooks was just TOO high when I was going out to Murray, and I’m not about to leave my bike parked at any east-side stop, unattended all day. Besides, I WANT the bike at either end of my commute, not just one.

    As it stands, I have a 5 mile commute each way into and out of downtown and prefer doing it all by bike no matter the weather over using Trimet.

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  • RJ March 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    This is bad. There are plenty of places where you can put a stroller or luggage on a MAX. They don’t need extra “welcoming.” And I don’t need a bike-and ride — I live in a dense LRT station area (just like Metro and TriMet want me to), but my daily commute destination in East Metro is not walkable from the nearest station. If TriMet is edging towards banning bikes from MAX, it increases the likelihood that I will start driving a single occupant vehicle to work.

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  • Christianne March 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    When it comes to bike hooks on the MAX I find myself crossing my fingers for one of the new trains, the only trains whose hooks are high enough to accommodate my Amsterdam without it potentially falling on me/other passengers.

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  • Ryan March 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    This is a direct attack on bicycle priority access to those hooks.

    Recent stabbings on MAX have me wondering if Trimet has thought about the consequences of this new sign: there will be battles for the hook! strollers, knives, bikes and luggage colide to control the most coveted of coveted spots on the train!

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  • JR March 31, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    This is disappointing. Bikes need the hook to fit more efficiently on the train – vertically rather than horizontally. Strollers will continue to take the place of 4 standing passengers no matter where they park. Most people don’t want to leave their luggage unattended, as mentioned in a previous comment. Of course the CAT committee would support this – they somehow thing this will allow more room for obese riders in their Jazzys.. The problem is, this will just make the trains MORE crowded if bikes are horizontal and a pregnant teenager sitting with her a double stroller and yelling at her 3 year old (whilst holding her next cigarette) refuses to allow bikes access to the hook.

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    • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

      THIS. This is exactly why until the policy on strollers goes back to what it was in the 1990s, Trimet is unsuitable for use by anyone too old to ride a school bus.

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    • c April 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      WOW, not every person in a stroller is like you write them to be JR. I commuted for a year with my infant son on the max to work. I would have RATHER been driving him in a car but we only own one and my husband worked in Vancouver. Not every stroller takes up the space of 4 riders. Many stroller riders are very respectful. I was one of them. And for your info, I have also been a biker who has had to wait for a train. So if a bike needed a hook I would and still would gladly share the space. I take this change for the ones who refuse to move for a stroller when there is no bike. I think the idea is things like strollers, bags and bikes should try and keep clear of the doors.

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  • Chris March 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I hereby submit my tweet from March 3rd:

    http://twitter.com/#!/DarkStarPDX/status/43324703007457281

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  • Peter W March 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I’m in San Francisco right now, where bikes are not allowed on BART trains during rush hour. Any transit system that fails to provide room for people who need to use it is a failed system, even if it is rush hour. It’d be like trying to drive over the Ross Island bridge and being told you need to park your car and walk.

    I hope Trimet isn’t looking to take the same track with this issue as the BART.

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  • Charley March 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I work at night and commute home at night. Because of Trimet’s craptastic schedule for the Yellow line at night, if I miss a train, I have to wait as long as 45 minutes. No way in hell am I leaving my bikeat a Park and Ride in my home neighborhood. I need to have the bike with me to ride home when Trimet doesn’t care to run trains to my neighborhood in a regular fashion. If they ran every 5 minutes all day long. . . then maybe. But I CANNOT COUNT ON THE TRAIN at night!

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  • Ted Buehler April 1, 2011 at 1:56 am

    So, maybe this is a “good” change in policy overall, maybe it’s a “bad” change in policy.

    But I don’t like it when they change policy without carefully considering the outcome. And since Colin doesn’t consider this change in policy to be in a change in policy, I think it’s safe to assume that it wasn’t considered carefully.

    Let’s assume that there is a good reason that those old signs said “space reserved for bikes” and consider carefully other options for baggage and strollers before the stated Trimet policy becomes to bounce bikes at stops because there’s a suitcase in the formerly “bicycle priority zone.”

    Or, stop installing the new signs, and instead say word it like they word the disabled seating — as a bicycle priority zone, but able to be used by other stuff when not needed by a bike.

    Thanks for covering this, Jonathan, and providing a venue for discussion.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler April 1, 2011 at 2:01 am

    I suggest that if you have opinions or concerns about this change in policy to contact Trimet and let them know.

    You can start by sending them a nice email or phone message. Contact info is at http://trimet.org/contact/index.htm ,

    If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve your concern at the lower levels, you can contact the board. Email addresses at
    http://trimet.org/about/board.htm

    If they don’t hear from you, you can assume that you like the change just fine.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Also, get the Better Business Bureau involved. They’re pretty damn good about rattling cages.

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  • Ted Buehler April 1, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I just sent in a comment — I asked if they’d considered all the issues brought up by BikePortland readers before installing new signs. And, if not, could they stop installing more of them until the issues are resolved. Seems like a reasonable request to me, I’ll see what they say.

    I encourage others to send them whatever is on your mind with this or any other issue.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Jill VW April 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Why are we fighting over space with strollers? There should be room for both. I just took my niece on the MAX with a stroller and I parked it in the bike area – still room for another bike next to it and it wasn’t crowded. Took up the same space as if I was with my bike, yet there was another (small) person with me. Way better than loading up the minivan for our trips.
    I wouldn’t do it during rush hour, but I also avoid taking a bike then too.
    Seems like we should be asking for more space, not pushing out another use. And the spaces should be flexible – I can put my bike (or luggage, or stroller) in the priority seating area if it’s not in use. More open space, fewer seats (or more fold-up seats) to better accommodate the range of riders.

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  • mitch l. April 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

    i may be wrong… but i bet if trimet would embrace a shift in the other direction to attract more bike riders, they would realize some untapped revenue…

    i hope that trimets financial issues and management woes won’t narrow their vision (business model) to exclude a vast and powerful population of biketopia, oregon.

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  • GlowBoy April 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Having also taken a child and stroller on MAX numerous times myself, I can say there’s usually plenty of room on the train for strollers without having to use the bike spaces.

    (That said, I also used an umbrella stroller that folded compactly, rather than the hulking SUV-ish strollers that everyone else seems to favor).

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    • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Then you’re part of the solution, not the problem. Thank you for folding your stroller!

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  • GlowBoy April 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    “Being allowed to bring my bike on board is frankly a bonus, not an absolute right. Perspective, folks.” – beth h

    No one’s saying it’s an absolute right. But it IS important. A lot of folks have made decisions about where they live, where they work or whether they own a car based on whether they can get over the barrier of the west hills on a train.

    Many seem to view bicycles as an inconvenience to TriMet performing its primary function of moving people around. I see it exactly the opposite way: TriMet’s function is to help enable people to get around without using their cars. For great numbers of people, either transit or bicycling alone is not viable in replacing the automobile. The bike+transit combination far more efficient than either mode alone, for most folks.

    If I won the lottery, I’d spend a few million dollars setting up a bike shuttle over the West Hills, because they are the biggest connectivity obstacle to bicycling in the Portland area. Rent a parking lot on each end, buy a few vans pulling trailers to hold the bikes, and hire a few drivers. And I wouldn’t care if it made money. The service is needed. Like most transit agencies, TriMet continues to focus on serving existing customers more than forming a vision of what a transit agency COULD do to reduce driving.

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  • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    snapbrim
    Paul, I’m not sure that spinning this as a battle between bike riders and parents is a good idea. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a bad idea. On a lot of levels that I bet you can guess if you really try.

    This isn’t a bikes/parents battle. It’s a fare-paid rider/freeloader issue.

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    • Peter Noordijk April 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Yeah and those old people too eh Paul. Why do they get a discount? Freeish loaders. Seriously dude.

      What those parents really should be doing, is driving all around town distracted by the cries of their children. That way they can burn gas, wear out roads, and crash into cyclists. Seriously dude? Oh did I say that twice?
      Thank God you were never a baby. That way nobody was inconvenienced by the your presence.

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  • Matthew Denton April 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I’d prefer the strollers up in the priority seating spaces in general, (more floor space,) but of course that depends on that area not being in use already. A sign up there would be difficult though, ADA says they have to carry disabled passengers, so strollers are second to that, and rather than make it complicated with a sign that says that, they just let people figure it out. I’ve noticed that a lot of people with a lot of luggage tend to put it in the doorway/aisle/etc. It may be that the people with strollers take them on the train more often than the people with luggage, so they know where they should go, (and they know that they can sit down next to their baby if they go there,) but I’d rather that luggage goes in the bike space than where I see most people normally leave it, not just for my sake, (what if I need to get off?) but for everyone else too (what if they need to get off?) And I’m willing to hold my bike for that…

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  • Chris Shaffer April 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Paul, calling children freeloaders is definitely spinning it as a bikes/parents battle. It’s fairly offensive too.

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    • Paul Johnson April 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Bikes aren’t part of this particular issue as far as I’m concerned. It’s about fare-paying people who are trying to get to work in peace versus someone who made poor choices in life wasting space with unpaid passengers.

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      • Sigma April 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm

        Paul, what is your secret to maintaining such a level of general hostility toward the world? You could give jack bog some pointers.

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        • Paul Johnson April 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

          It’s not towards the world, just the people and things that have turned Portland in to a horrible place to live and work.

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      • Fearless_Strawberry April 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm

        You were a child once, too.

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  • Dan Christensen April 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I not only drive a bus but take the bus and the max. I see the bike area used already for different items and in two years have not seen one conflict.

    Never had a cyclist tell a mother or father to move their child.

    I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I have just never seen it.

    If anything I would say I see people more cooperative making room as best they can. It doesn’t alway work but then again some times the train is just to full for me a pedestrian to ride as well.

    I don’t think they needed to change the signs at all. It sends the wrong signal and there are times when it’s good to have them.

    Getting people on transit is job 1, make the waters muddy about this area is going to be a deterrent and undercut job 1.

    It’s ok to have bike racks on a bus but we don’t have luggage racks and yet everyone gets along. I can promise you if the front rack on a bus became duel use bike or luggage there would be issues and the goal of getting people on transit would suffer.

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  • george April 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Thank goodness! I hate bikes on the MAX. I’m glad their moving in this direction!

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  • Bike-Max-Bike April 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    GlowBoy

    No one’s saying it’s an absolute right. But it IS important. A lot of folks have made decisions about where they live, where they work or whether they oun wn a car based on whether they can get over the barrier of the west hills on a train.

    I would agree and add a bit…get over the barrier of the west hills on a trail with their bike.

    As mentioned elsewhere, shift workers are at the mercy of TriMet and its lack of late night buses and trains. Getting stuck and having to pay a cab most of what you made that day to get home sucks.

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  • beth h April 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    This morning I loaded my bike and then boarded a # 6 bus on MLK. I saw that the entire front right side seating area was taken up by a woman with a baby on her lap; the rest of the long seat had been tilted up to make room for a very large deluxe-sized stroller which was not folded up (as TriMet requires). People seemed afraid to ask the woman to fold her stroller and make more room for other passengers, but there were several tense stares between the young mother and other passengers as they negotiated their way around the fully-open stroller. The driver never asked her to fold the stroller either.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been asked to move my bike out of the bike zone of MAX trains more than once by parents who would not fold their strollers when boarding the MAX trains. When I pointed out that the space was intended for bikes (as indicated by the sign), They scowled or frowned; in a couple of instances two women with large strollers told me to my face that bicycles don’t deserve to have access to transit because they take up too much room.

    You can’t win.

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    • 9watts April 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      beth h,
      what you describe there is classic ‘pronatalism.’ It can be quite ugly. Probably also a good lesson for those of us verging on pro-cyclism.

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    • c April 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      Just wondering, but did you offer to fold her stroller down for her? How is a parent supposed to hold their infant, and fold their stroller, and get on and off the bus and not fall and drop their baby, or delay a bus? I tried to be respectful when I had my stroller, but some times it’s safer for the baby for the stroller to remain up. Personally when I was in the situation, I wanted to leave my baby bucked in the car seat, locked in the stroller but the drivers would not allow it. They also do not stop long enough for a stroller to be folded down while holding your baby.

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      • Andrea April 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

        Exactly. It can be extremely difficult to fold up a stroller while holding a baby, just as I’m sure it can be hard to wrestle a bike up on those hooks. If people would be willing to communicate more, I don’t think that there would be many issues. Ask for help, offer help, ask questions. Hey, do you mind if I park my stroller/suitcase under your bike? Hey, I need to put my bike here, can someone please move this stroller? It’s not hard, folks. And this is supposed to be a friendly city!

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        • Paul Johnson April 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

          A friendly Portland died with Tom McCall.

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      • Paul Johnson April 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

        Be ready when the bus arrives. Or just get a backpack for that.

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        • c April 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

          I was ready. I would have loved to have a back pack and that’s it, but Children require car seats. and we went from car to bus to car and were required to have one with us. Again, stroller, car seat bag, baby last time I checked humans only have 2 hands. Add that to a moving bus… and it’s a wonder mothers do not “fold their strollers”

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  • Anne April 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Seriously? Some of the comments on here make it really difficult to defend cyclists. Isn’t there room for everybody on the max. I take it every day and I know there is. Riders make room when bike racks are full. Bikers should be able to make room for moms with strollers.

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  • Peter Noordijk April 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Paul:
    BTW. you should spend more time on the bike and less on the train. Clearly the endorphines haven’t kicked in.

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  • Skid April 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Anne
    Seriously? Some of the comments on here make it really difficult to defend cyclists. Isn’t there room for everybody on the max. I take it every day and I know there is. Riders make room when bike racks are full. Bikers should be able to make room for moms with strollers.

    There was a rule that when you boarded a MAX train you had to fold up your stroller and sit with your child in your lap or next to you, apparently that has fallen by the wayside, or is too socially awkward to enforce. However pushing cyclists around has always been OK hence the new signs.

    The thing is that I know if there is a stroller where the bike hook is, and I can’t put my bike on a hook, I will be the one who will be asked to get off the train by a Tri-Met guard, because it would just be “wrong” to ask a parent and child to be inconvenienced. I don’t hate children, I have two stepdaughters, although they are both well out of strollers.

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  • 9watts April 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Skid,
    what you are observing are some of the manifestations of pronatalism. Alive and well in the US.

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  • Skid April 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    At first these signs annoyed me, but it seems that if anything it has increased co-operation between different types of Tri-Met users. The signs keep the space from being exclusive to bikes, which creates less (unwarranted) resentment with non-cyclists. I’ve shared the space with people bringing their luggage to the airport, and I’ve politely asked someone with a stroller to move for a moment while I hang my bike. There was still room next to my bike for the stroller. Most people understand that a bike takes up less space hanging on a hook than if I am standing there holding onto it.

    It’s not sharing the space that bugs me, it’s the way it would be dealt with by Tri-Met Security if the train was overcrowded. I just have a sneaking suspicion that it would be the cyclist who gets to wait for the next train.

    Also Bike and Ride is not an option, I need my bike at both ends of my trip. I use Tri-Met to transport my bike over the West Hills, as I am not in the condition to make that climb every day, nor do I always have a bike made for climbing hills. I know most people think of bikes as transportation, but some bikes are purely recreational, like BMX and mountain bikes. Should we be putting our bikes on top of a car to get places?

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  • Robert April 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I generally ride all the way to work (downtown) from the eastside (gateway’ish) in the morning… then ride about half way back (hollywood) on the way home. My schedule is pretty good, I generally miss the rush hour.
    I do not get the new signage.
    If I have to park my bike in a special area.. why to people with strollers and or luggage get to store them anywhere they like on the train, and not just in the reserved area?

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