Caltrain to Update Its Plan to Increase Bike Capacity

IMG_0186.jpgJohnson isn’t fond of the shorter bike racks on Caltrain.

It’s been one month since the Caltrain Board of Directors approved a plan to increase bicycle capacity on its trains, a move advocates welcomed but felt didn’t go far enough because it won’t entirely prevent bicyclists from getting bumped.

Tomorrow, the Caltrain board is expected to get an update on the plan but some of the meager improvements its staff has made on bike cars in the last month aren’t winning over bicyclists. In an email, Shirley Johnson, the head of the SFBC’s Bikes ONBoard campaign, said Caltrain has installed some new bike racks that really don’t work.

Caltrain’s staff says it wants input from cyclists they installed these
racks without collecting input.  This is a flawed design, and we could
have saved Caltrain the costs of building and installing these racks
if they had just asked cyclists first.

Among the issues: the racks are too low and not easily secured with the bungee cords, which causes them to drift into the aisles.

Johnson is encouraging other bicyclists to turn out for tomorrow’s board meeting to tell Caltrain what it’s doing isn’t good enough. The meeting is at 10am at 1250 San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos.

Photo: Shirley Johnson

  • murph, fritz, did shirley beat both of you to the punch???

  • Someone sent me a photo – Fritz actually found the White Whale. I made a very clear point at the meeting this AM that I was very frustrated that Caltrain made no effort of outreach on the new rack, and that I had never seen it but “I heard that it sucks”

  • g

    What happened to the bike rules on the window?

  • For those not on the mailing list…

    Trial Shorty Racks
    Caltrain installed trial shorty racks in one gallery bike car, but these
    racks don’t work, because bikes lean too much into the aisle and can get
    damaged. Caltrain said the shorty racks are to keep the emergency window
    exits clear, so we contacted the Federal Railroad Administration to get
    the low down on the regulations. We learned that only two emergency window
    exits are required in each half of the main level. Right now there are
    four in each half. Given that there are only eight seats remaining in the
    bike car, two emergency window exits makes more sense than four anyway.
    We’ve asked Caltrain to replace the shorty racks with full-size racks. In
    case you’ve not seen those shorty racks, Streetsblog ran a story with a

  • Bruce Lundquist

    The shorty racks aren’t so bad–aren’t they the same as on the Bombadier cars? If you bungee snugly your bike should be stable.
    I think effort would be better spent getting 2 bike cars on EVERY commute-time Bombadier train.

  • No. The racks on the Bombs are taller. They aren’t in front of emergency windows.

    The issue isn’t so much with the first bike next to the rack but the fourth bike on the rack. The bungees are hard to secure snugly because the bungee is now coming from under the top tubes of the other three bikes.


Caltrain to Present Plan to Increase Bicycle Capacity

Caltrain claims it "values bicycle commuters." In its goals and objectives the agency says "Caltrain must be a competitive alternative to traveling by automobile." That goal will be tested tomorrow when the agency presents its final plan to increase bicycle capacity on Caltrain to the Board of Directors. Advocates are frustrated it isn’t being made […]

Caltrain Will Boost Bicycle Capacity But It’s Still Not Enough

Although capacity is increasing, bicyclists will continue to get left behind at Caltrain stations. Caltrain’s Board of Directors has approved a plan to improve bicycle capacity that is a step beyond staff’s recommendations but will it be enough to keep bicycle commuters from getting bumped? No. Still, advocates were pleased with yesterday’s decision to increase […]