Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 5th, 2012 at 11:53 am
Yesterday morning I took the bus into work. When I got off at SW 6th and Stark I noticed two bikes parked on what look to be snazzy bike racks on the transit mall.
The bikes caught my eye because I remembered a story we did back in 2009 when the transit mall first opened where TriMet had a "no bikes" policy on these railings because they considered them "leaning rails" for bus and MAX passengers. The thinking back then, according to TriMet, was that once all the new (and expensive!) bike parking planned for the transit mall was installed, there would be plenty of bike racks available and these leaning rails would remain free of unsightly bike clutter.
Well, as my photo above attests, that's not exactly how it turned out.
I contacted TriMet yesterday to ask if they still discouraged bikes from parking on the railings. To my surprise, they've had a change of heart.
"While the leaning rails were initially for riders waiting for transit," TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch shared via email, "they are being used by cyclists and are now regarded as a shared space for both uses."
This is good to hear; but I know — because of their strict aesthetic design guidelines for the transit mall — it still annoys TriMet to see bikes haphazardly locked to these railings. Fortunately, Fetsch says the City of Portland is working to install more staple racks on the mall in the months to come.
UPDATE, 1/5 at 4:48: Sorry folks, turns out that the TriMet spokesperson spoke too soon. TriMet now says that the leaning rails are indeed only for "pedestrians and riders" and the agency would like to remind everyone that you should lock your bikes to designated bike racks. Not these rails. TriMet's Mary Fetsch says parking on these railins is, "A safety hazard for people boarding and de-boarding the train."