Building a Movement to Increase Bicycle Access Support

July 18, 2012


I came back from my London research (see blogs 3 and 4) with lots of energy and ideas to apply the London lessons to the Capitol Corridor bike user’s experience. Upon my return, I attended a meeting with various entities in the Sacramento area to look into a bicycle-hire solution — also commonly described as bike-share. The very important first step, which is in its infancy stage, is to investigate if Sacramento is right for a bike share program.  The second step is to determine just how that system would work. To that end, the CCJPA was the first to contribute a modest amount of funding ($10,000) toward such a plan (a plan for Sacramento would probably be about $90,000 in total). The entities will hopefully use that seed funding to build a fully funded planning effort. A bicycle-hire solution at the train stations in Sacramento (and hopefully Davis) is a natural fit but the real key is making sure the entire system works in the community it is designed to serve. Thus, a program for cities like Sacramento (and Davis) actually takes more effort on a per capita basis than cities which are more no-brainers (like Boston, NYC, and, yes, London) for bicycle-hire programs. I will keep you up to speed on the developments in this area.


Being an interregional service can have its drawbacks since we are not strongly integrated into regional or local planning processes.  With our limited resources, we can’t cover every corner. But with bicycling improvements like bicycle-hire, secure bicycle storage, and with options like Brompton Dock, we have to dive as deep as possible into the regional/local planning process. To that end, we are putting together a Bicycle Access Plan for CCJPA which will outline our efforts system wide – on the train, and at the stations. From that plan, we can work with regional and local jurisdictions to present a local perspective organized in an interregional framework. A good example of this can be phrased as a question – how many of you would like to be carrying multiple bike storage electronic-access cards because things were done differently in Sacramento than in Oakland? Or would you want one card system that works across the route?


If you do have an on-train bicycle issue (I am using “issue” to generally mean anything related to an interaction with another customer or a conductor in which some aspect of storing the bicycle on the train didn’t go as the reporting customer would have liked) it will really help us here at CCJPA to have the details about the train number, the date of the occurrence and finally, any other details related to the issue while still in the “education phase” of the 2012 bicycle access program, . Occasionally we have gotten complaints regarding on-train bicycle storage with reports of ‘the conductor did this…did that…”. We would love to get right into investigating and learning what we need to on such issues but without a date and train number, we are one step away from getting going and investigating since we need to circle back to get those details. So if you do have an issue – please include those details.

That said, there really have not been as many issues as I expected. I think that speaks to the conductors stepping up their management of the bicycles on the train and you, the traveling cyclist raising your awareness and making the effort to keep aisles free and bicycles secured. Nobody is perfect and sometimes, especially when an unfortunate four car set of equipment is out there (we are trying not to provide those!), storage gets tight and more issues can be anticipated. From riding the trains, I have equally seen conductors and customers not quite doing as much as we have hoped they can do, leading me to believe that there is room for all involved to improve.