Bicycle Access Program

April 10, 2012

Welcome to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) very first  Bicycle Blog entry! If you want to know about bikes on board the Capitol Corridor, you’ve hit the right web page. Launching CCJPA’s official bike blog coincides with the first phase of our  Bicycle Access Program. This blog will be updated at least once a month on issues we need to convey, but honestly many of our bike topics will depend on what’s going on with you.

Jim Allison, Manager of Planning at CCJPA, will be our primary bike blogger, but we intend to feature guest writers from time to time. And since Jim Allison is actually writing this, I will stop referring to myself in the third person because that just gets confusing to everyone.

Some background about why I’ll be the primary bike blogger: I moved from San Francisco to Sacramento in 2006 fully knowing I could reside in Sacramento and regularly ride the Capitol Corridor train with my bicycle to get to/from our CCJPA offices in Oakland (BTW – I am also a regular purchaser of the monthly passes). I ride my bicycle for my commute, I train for and complete (usually) long supported bicycle rides. I use a bicycle when I cart my kids around or pick up groceries. I pretty much ‘get’ the marriage of two wheels to steel wheels. To sustain this union I am circling back to topic #1 for this first blog entry—the launch of our new Bicycle Access Program.

It took over three years to get to this milestone. In late 2008, it was clear then that the use of bicycles with Capitol Corridor service was growing with the rise of gasoline prices and as a weekday rider, I started to see more and more riders who brought or used their bicycles to get to/from the train. It became apparent that Capitol Corridor service was challenged to keep pace with the increasing bicycle storage demand. As a “planner” I knew we had to find a solution. This meant working with CCJPA staff to implement a convenient online survey tool to get insight into how bicycles are used with the Capitol Corridor service. I thank all of those survey respondents who filled in their bicycle trip details from those surveys held in January/February 2011.

From that point, we began working with the owner of the rolling stock (Caltrans Rail Division) and Amtrak (our service operator) to do what we could to meet the demand. We convened a bicycle-working group, which included three actual train riders familiar with bicycle and on-board bicycle storage issues (kudos go to those volunteers and our partners too!) and instigated some immediate changes and worked on the suggestions that evolved into…our 2012 Bicycle Access Program.

Our program is launching on April 10, 2012 with the first phase being an educational phase for the conductors and those of you who may be bringing your bicycle on the train (or even leaving it at a station). We have put the details of the program on our webpage so I won’t repeat them in depth here but in short, there are two aspects – Securing and Storing. I will write more soon but in the meantime, please mind the two “S’s!”