Bike Commute Options During the BART Strike

1036759259_63a15dbcd5.jpgBig, green AC Transit buses (foreground) have extra bike capacity in their cargo bays. Other AC Transit buses, such as the one in the background of this photo, only have room for two bikes. Flickr photo: Racingmix

When the BART strike begins on Monday morning, the best way to commute will likely be via the Internet. If that’s not an option, then bicycling will be a good alternative for lots of people.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will have commuter convoys at all of the city’s BART stations Monday, acccording to the SFBC’s Neal Patel. They will also have an energizer station from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Market and Battery.

While auto traffic will be heavier, Patel said that might not be a bad thing for bicyclists. "Really slow moving traffic and not moving traffic is in some ways safer than fast moving traffic."

If you’re commuting across the Bay, however, be prepared for crowded buses, ferries, and bike parking stations.

Robert Raburn, director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, said the organization might offer emergency valet bike parking at BART parking lots, but nothing is certain yet. "Fruitvale Village bike station will be open on Monday, it’s outside of BART property," said Raburn, as will "the Embarcadero bike station, because it serves Muni."

Taking bikes on AC Transit buses is another option, said Raburn. On the big, green (MCI) AC Transit buses that cross the bay, Raburn said he’s seen as many as ten bikes stored in a single cargo bay. "There’s a lot of capacity, it takes some delicate maneuvering to extract the bus, and you can’t have people that are squeamish about scratching their paint. Nevertheless, there are solutions out there." Other transbay AC Transit buses, which are smaller and white, only carry two bikes per vehicle, so riders could be stranded if they don’t have a backup option. Both buses operate on the same transbay routes.

Ferries from Bay Farm Island and Alemeda/Oakland may be a safer alternative. If you do take the ferry, said Raburn, "Always carry a bungee cord. Be self-sufficient, because rack capacity on ferries is probably going to be jammed."

Caltrans also runs a bike shuttle over the Bay Bridge, but it is generally full to capacity even under normal conditions, so Raburn advised against counting on it.

Whether the BART strike will draw in hoards of new bike commuters remains to be seen, but transit access, parking, and bike route information will be crucial for new riders and for cyclists who normally bike to BART. "Where there’s capacity on transit, it could be a good moment," said the EBBC’s Raburn. "But it can also be a turnoff for some people if they’re in a jam packed bus or ferry."

  • Nick

    Looks like SF Bike will have group rides going downtown at 8:30AM from Balboa Park, Glen Park, and 24th St Stations.

    I rode with them awhile back and it was so much safer and pleasant than riding by yourself. Wish it were along my route…

  • ZA

    @ Nick – I’d like to offer you a Commuter Convoy option myself, but there’s no way to delete any entry on Streetsblog that I know of. If you’re in SF, I’ll make a public entry later to see if I can form up another cluster of riders.

  • mm1

    Open the tunnel for temporary bike traffic. Lay steel plates over the tracks in both directions. Light it up and ensure adequate ventilation. If BART workers don’t want to drive trains, then the owners of the tunnel, the taxpayers, shall continue to use it as they see fit.

  • ms. bike

    Those of us in the East Bay unfortunately do not have the option/alternative of riding to our SF destinations (with or without the company of others) like our city-counterparts. Choosing to bring our bikes on board transit will surely just put us in the back of the line of some of the worst congestion the Bay Area’s ever seen.

    I would love to see and participate in a Critical Mass-style ride across the bridge–with the expected amount of gridlocked motorized vehicle traffic (and some careful lane-sharing), it may be the only time bicyclists can safely ride the entire length of the bridge.

  • ZA

    @ Ms. Bike

    The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is setting up bike valet parking at:

    Fruitvale BART and Embarcadero

    to support cyclists to get to buses and ferries (doubled service from Alameda and Oakland) who don’t have to then bring their bikes on board (more transit riders can be squeezed aboard).

  • ZA

    @ Ms. Bike and All East Bay Commuters:

  • Jeff McKnight

    Interesting Bike Shuttle comment by “danny” after “BART Strike Likely To Overwhelm Other Transit Agencies” article:

    “The driver on the $1 Caltrans bike shuttle this morning said they would be running an extra van on Monday, essentially doubling capacity.”

    Any additional info (official confirmation, updated schedule, links, etc) would be awesome.

  • Jeff McKnight

    Seems like the rumors of an extra bike shuttle van are true. From the Caltrans “BART Strike Assistance” page:

    “Caltrans offers a shuttle service between the MacArthur BART station in Oakland and the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. Caltrans will add a second bike shuttle during the commute periods.”

  • Jeff McKnight

    Regarding the Caltrans Bike Shuttle between Macarthur BART and the Transbay Terminal, I received an email from a Caltrans rep earlier today (Su 8/16, 3:30pm PDT) which seems to indicate that there will be two bike shuttle vans instead of one for each bridge run, with the schedule and pickup locations remaining the same as usual. I hope this pans out like it sounds.

    Actual response from Caltrans:
    “I think it will be at the same time, but I’ll let you know if I’m wrong.
    Same stops. This is to handle extra capacity in the event of a BART strike
    and will be temporary at this point.”


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