Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 7th, 2007 at 10:32 am
A large increase in the amount of bicycles being taken on MAX trains has been a simmering problem for TriMet since the beginning of spring. That increase, combined with confusion over their policies has led to a situation in dire need of attention.
I heard from one rider who said a fare inspector told them they could not board a train unless there was a hook available (TriMet says you can, as long as you don’t block the aisles). Another person told me they received a firm lecture from an operator over the PA system that bikes were only allowed on hooks.
In order to address these issues and learn more about how bicycles are integrating with light-rail, TriMet is conducting a comprehensive survey of cyclists that they hope will lead to improved bike capacity and clearer policies.
The survey will be delivered on-board (download PDF) and online and will be directed at cyclists who bring bikes on MAX and those that bike to transit stations.
TriMet planning analyst Eric Hesse says they’ve started handing out the first of 3,000 on-board surveys (someone in the Forums already got one) and an online version should be up by August 17th. According to Hesse, they’re open to all ideas and nothing is off the table at this point.
“We’re pretty constrained on what we can do on the trains, but this survey might generate some ideas and we’re open to considering them. We know bikes are a big part of transportation in this city and we hope this survey gives us a better idea of usage rates. We want to know where people are riding from, what lines they’re on, and how many cyclists are using our system.”
Among the ideas TriMet has considered are:
- encouraging use of folding bikes,
- the Bike Tree,
- real-time, web/PDA based bike locker availability tracking.
Hesse sits on the Technical Advisory Committee for PDOT’s Bicycle Master Plan Update and he says TriMet will share survey results with city bike planners.
While the focus of this survey is on MAX trains, TriMet has plans to test a three-bike bus rack in the future.
With more Portlanders riding bikes every day, it’s clear that the bike/transit connection is key to the success of our transportation system and it’s great to see TriMet taking action. Stay tuned for your chance to participate in the online survey.