High-Speed Rail Looking To CalBike for Guidance
The Authority is working to develop a potential “new and original” bike policy. They are studying best practices to apply in the Central Valley with fairly suburban land uses, as well as in urbanized Los Angeles and along the Peninsula, where bicycle ridership is already high. Their policy must integrate bikes into a system that they are merely planning and constructing; operation will likely be contracted to another company and local agencies will maintain control over the stations and, critically, street design in the vicinity of the stations.
CalBike looks forward to working with the HSRA staff to develop one of the best bike policies in the world. We will recommend that they focus on three key strategies — access to the stations, parking at the stations, and access to the trains. We can point to plans already in place: the TransBay Terminal in San Francisco will have an expandable 500-space indoor bike parking lot accessed by its own bike path.
Specifically, CalBike has made the following suggestions, in order of priority:
- Ensure low-traffic-stress access from anywhere within a three-mile radius of the station directly to the station’s fare gates or bike parking facilities. The High-Speed Rail Authority should dedicate some of its projected annual budget of $500 million to incentivize local agencies to build bike paths, add protected bike lanes, and implement traffic calming measures, as necessary, to provide access for everyone who might consider biking.
- Transit stations should have high-quality, secure parking — including racks, lockers, and guarded stations, as appropriate — with the opportunity to expand as necessary. We recommend a simple formula for determining how much to build: enough so that every customer has a place to park their bike! Parking costs should be free or very cheap so that customers will find it easier to park their bike at the station than to bring it on the train.
- Provide storage for unboxed bikes on the train for those who need to bring their bikes on board: people who are touring, and those who need their bikes on both ends of their trip (because walking, transit, bike-share, or a second bike are not acceptable). Update 11.12.14: The HSRA has heard this request before; over 30 organizations signed this resolution presented to their board in April 2012.
The HSRA is slated to receive as much as $500 million annually from cap-and-trade revenues. The prognosis for bike access to High Speed Rail in California looks good right now. But we know we at CalBike will have to be vigilant, and stay involved in the process, because it’s still very early in the planning stages.