Cycling a là (Multi) Mode

My first fixie on the Gold LineLooks like Metro will soon officially rescind its policy banning bikes on trains during rush hour!

If you didn’t know about it, and didn’t get a ticket, you were pretty lucky, because it’s not a cheap fine. Nor is the schedule easy to figure…for example:

Mondays through Fridays, 6:30AM to 8:30AM, you can’t have a bike on Blue, Gold, or Green Lines at all, nor on the Red Line between Union Station and Wilshire /Vermont. Same thing weekday afternoons between 4:30PM and 6:30PM.

However, if you get on the train before a prohibited hour, you must take your bike off the train when the clock marks 6:30AM or 4:30PM–possibly long before you’ve gotten to your intended destination!

Now, cyclists will have the same rights as moms pushing strollers, grannies pulling wheeled shopping baskets, tourists dragging rollalongs, wheelchair users, folks carrying large boxes of who knows what, midwestern tourists with gigantic backpacks, and all the other folks who rightfully use Metro to get themselves and their goods and assistive devices around LA.

Which only makes sense. Transit planners the world over (LA excluded; we’re always the “exceptional” child) know that bicycles are one of the most effective technologies for making transit practical! This is known as the first-mile/last-mile conundrum–you can’t put transit on every street, so most transit journeys require what is often a long walk to the final destination.

Bicycles make this long walk into a short, breezy ride, and so increase transit usage wherever they’re allowed to.

As the Institute for Local Government notes in an article by the Bay Are Air Quality Management District, “Biking is increasingly being looked at as an important means to connect people with the vast network of transit systems in the region. Efforts include improving bike infrastructure like creating dedicated bike lanes, and building bike stations at transit hubs, encouraging employers to provide shower facilities and other bike friendly amenities, as well as bike sharing programs.”

Which means that fully integrating bicycles use with Metro trains would not only be good for Metro–getting more people on trains–but it would be good for cyclists too, as it should lead to more onstreet bicycle facilities to make it easier for non-enthusiast cyclist to choose the bike, and therefore the train, over the car.


Just one little worry: there’s a “recommendation” in the proposal that the CEO of Metro be allowed “to administratively revise bike rules in the future….”

“Administratively” means without review by you, Metro’s board, or anyone else.

Not so great, huh?

Fortunately, you have a chance to speak out on this at a meeting! Thursday, April 21st, at 1:00PM, at Metro Gateway Plaza behind Union Station.

Lifting the restrictions is the right thing to do–but it should be done the right way. Let them know you approve of what they’re doing, but that you don’t think they should be able to change the rules by administrative fiat in the future, without getting a few opinions from actual Metro users…which is us.

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