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Help Get More Bikes on Houston's Light Rail System!

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Help Get More Bikes on Houston's Light Rail System!

Old 11-16-07, 08:41 PM
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Exclamation Help Get More Bikes on Houston's Light Rail System!

Did you know that regular bicycles are currently banned from Houston's light rail trains during the all-important weekday commuter rush hour?* Furthermore, only two bikes are allowed on per train car, which are as many as are allowed on the bus bike racks... and each rail car holds many more people than the bus.

These timing and capacity limitations exist because Harris County METRO chose not to install vertical bike hangers on its first fleet of light rail cars. It is vitally important to change this mindset now before the coming massive build-out of Houston's light rail fleet, which will take place during 2008 - 2012. If this opportunity is lost, we will probably never be able to enjoy the same bicycle access to light rail enjoyed by other cities throughout the USA.

Phoenix Arixona will begin light rail operations in December 2008. It is a new, sprawling city like Houston. Their Valley Metro has decided to integrate bicycles and train modes by putting vertical bike hangers on its light rail. Each of their rail cars will be able to carry eight bicycles safely out of the way of passengers, as opposed to the two which can be carried on our rail cars, and only during off-peak times, and our bikes can potentially roll and crash into other passengers, since they aren't in any kind of rack system.

Given the sprawling nature of Houston, it is important that our METRO makes decisions similar to that of Phoenix. It is simply unrealistic to expect people to walk a mile in the heat & humidity to get to the train. Several people at a recent METRO Board meeting asked the Board of Directors, "I'd like to use the train, but where will I be able to park my car near the station?" Obviously, they don't get it! The point of the train is that you don't use your car at all, you leave your car at home. But bicycle riding will indeed allow them to travel a mile or so from their home or office to the train station quickly, in five minutes or so, before they dangerously overheat in our sweltering climate.

If the train draws people riding bikes from one mile away to each station, it will be far more successful than if it were only able to draw pedestrians from a quarter-mile away. A one-mile radius circle has sixteen times more area than a quarter-mile radius circle, after all.

It is extremely important that citizens make their preferences known to METRO. I am urging all cyclists, transit fans, and environmentalists to write to Mr. Frank Wilson, the CEO of METRO, to let him know that:

1. The new fleet of light rail cars needs vertical bike hangers, to hold as many as eight bikes per light rail car

2. The rush-hour bike prohibition needs to be lifted for suitably equipped train cars

3. Ample safe and secure bike parking needs to be provided at all transit stops

4. The folding-bikes policy (unlimited times, unlimited numbers, must be covered) needs to be maintained

Please write a polite letter to Mr. Wilson in your own words, preferably by hand. Do not simply send him a hardcopy of my blog with a yellow-sticky on it saying, "Yeah, what he says!" Make it personal, otherwise they will likely throw your letter away.

Please write to:

Frank Wilson, CEO
METRO
1900 Main St.
P.O. Box 61429
Houston, TX 77208-1429

I thank you in advance for your help. Please join with me in helping to make Houston and Harris County greener, more sustainable places. And please forward this message to anyone who you think will help in this effort.


--
Sincerely,
Peter Wang
League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor




* Folding bikes are allowed on the light rail at all times, if they are covered
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Old 11-16-07, 09:17 PM
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what do these vertical bike hangers look like? I'm trying to picture it on the trains...
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Old 11-17-07, 10:03 PM
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If METRO wanted you not to use your car at home, then there wouldn't be two parking lots (three if you count UHD)? I really hope that METRO plans to buy trains with a better layout. There is a limited
amount of seating, and the way the seats are makes it hard to stand up when the trains are super packed.

I ride the train as part of my commute to the University of St. Thomas. In the evening (around 5:00 PM) those trains are super packed, standing room if you can find a place to stand. This is even with two trains connected together and them running every 4-6 minutes. Heck, they won't even move for someone in a wheelchair (truly sad).

Also, I hardly ever see the bus bike racks being used. I did ask METRO PD once about the the bikes on train. They said as long as there is room they don't care. If the new lines are as popular as the current red line, there probably won't be much room on those lines either.

-Nate

Last edited by dr. nate; 11-17-07 at 10:05 PM. Reason: Well formating goes out the window when posting on my Moto Q.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:12 PM
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ha, you're on bikeforums on a Saturday night, Nate. what a ... wait a minute, so am I. damn.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chinotex
what do these vertical bike hangers look like? I'm trying to picture it on the trains...
Maybe something like this?

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