Today’s Headlines

  • Wondering if veteran bike/caltrain commuters can offer some advice. My son has an internship this summer in Palo Alto and wants to bike to Caltrain and then bike on the other end to his place of work. The 22nd St station is closest to us but 4th and Townsend isn’t terribly farther. He tried out his potential commute on Tuesday, but at the train he was waiting for he (along with four other bicyclists) was told the train had no more room for bikes, so he had to wait for a later (and slower train) which, if it’d been a real work day, would have made him late to work.

    What’s the best strategy to prevent from getting bumped–get on at 4th and Townsend? Only shoot for the slower trains? We could potentially set him up with a bike at both ends, the only problem would be secure storage at the Palo Alto end for overnights and weekends. (Unsure if any bike lockers there are available to rent?)

    Any advice/pearls of wisdom would be appreciated.

  • 4th and King would be his best bet to make sure he gets on, get there about 10 min before his train leaves – that’s usually when they open the doors.

    There are usually a ton of bikes that get on at 22nd St so maybe John Murphy can impart some wisdom as a 22nd St guy.

    If he ever gets bumped, here is a site.
    http://www.sfbike.org/?caltrain_bob
    He should email them and say how many were pumped, what train, etc. Usually those mid morning trains are packed with bikes as the rest of the train sits nearly empty.

  • Oh, and not that I doubt his sensibility and upbringing, but make sure he gets a tag, doesn’t leave his helmet on his bike, properly sets it against the rack/other bikes and uses the bungee cord correctly.

  • BART’s new top cop is going to actually ride BART. OMG!

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/17/BASS1E0D3K.DTL

  • Hey Taomom –

    If you really really need to get on that train, use 4th/King. Generally there haven’t been a lot of bumps at 22nd Street this year but that’s not guaranteed and as the weather gets better it will get worse. They added capacity at the end of last summer which made things better, but like adding to a freeway, now that you are less likely to get bumped, more cyclists are starting to use the service.

    One nominally useful link.
    http://www.caltrain.com/bicycle_trains.html
    Caltrain tries to schedule 2 bike cars for the trains on that list. Trains with 2 bike cars almost never run out of space. However, people have been trained to go to the trains with 2 bike cars, and now if there is an issue and that train only has one car, it is very likely that people will get bumped. So if it is very important to be on a specific train, go to 4th/King.

    Pro-tip – the bullets that go to Palo Alto are vastly more popular than the bullets 15 minutes earlier that go to Menlo Park and not Palo Alto. But the bike ride from Menlo to Palo Alto is about a mile and a half down a very quiet street.

    The absolute most risky maneuver is to try to take 314 or 324 from 22nd Street. 314 and 324 – bullets to PA are very popular, and the next trains, 216/226 don’t stop at 22nd Street, so if you get bumped from 314, Caltrain just cost you 45 minutes. If you take 220 or 230, you could get bumped but there is a bullet to Menlo right behind, and you won’t lose too much time. Like I said, if you have a bike, don’t bypass the Menlo bullets to wait for a later Palo Alto train – it’s an easy, very safe ride from Menlo to PA.

    A bike is probably more secure in Palo Alto than at 22nd Street. In fact there is secure storage at the Palo Alto train station. And there is secure storage at 4th/King. But if you are going to go to 4th/King, I’d just take my bike on.

  • Berkeley Kills BRT Again

    Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who abstained when BRT was before the city council, had told BRT backers that he had changed his mind and wanted to put the issue back on the agenda on June 22. AC Transit postponed their vote on the LPA, waiting until after Berkeley acted.

    Then, 12 to 15 BRT opponents showed up and spoke at the meeting where the council determines its agenda, and Jesse withdrew the item from the agenda. BRT in Berkeley is now completely dead.

    It is very rare for the public to come to these agenda meetings, and BRT backers did not think there was any need to go to the meeting. There is speculation that another councilmember told the BRT opponents to come and speak in order to change Jesse’s mind about putting this back on the agenda.

  • Great advice! Thanks much, Mike and John.

  • Nick

    re: Bike Rampage

    Why haven’t they released a mugshot of the suspect? Higly atypical of the media. Are they protecting him for some reason (wealth or family connections?)

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