Feds Propose to Expand Opportunities for Biking and Walking to Transit

When it comes to infrastructure improvements that encourage more people
to walk or bicycle to transit stations, how long will commuters be
willing to travel? The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has
officially answered that question, proposing a significant expansion of
the rules governing how close bike-ped projects should be to transit in
order to receive government funding.

6a00e551eea4f588340120a5b6138d970b_800wi.jpgThe BikeStation in Washington D.C., which provides parking and services for bicyclists who use transit. (Photo: U.S. DOT)

The FTA’s new rules,
released for public comment on Friday, replace the previous definition
of the so-called "structural envelope" surrounding a transit station.

In
the past, regulators had tended to use 1,500 feet as the distance which
"most people can be expected to safely and conveniently walk to use the
transit service." But the Obama administration, stating plainly that
the current radius is "too short," has proposed expanding it to a
half-mile for pedestrian improvements and three miles for bicycle
projects.

In its explanation of the new proposal, the FTA wrote:

The most successful and useful public
transportation systems have safe and convenient pedestrian access and
provide comfortable waiting areas, all of which encourage greater
use.

Distances beyond the walkshed of public transportation stops and
stations may in fact be within the range of a short bicycle trip.
Providing secure parking and other amenities for bicycles and cyclists
at public transportation stops or stations can be less expensive than
providing parking for automobiles.

The proposed regulation also codifies a U.S. DOT definition of "livability" that Streetsblog Capitol Hill took note of
when it was first mentioned by Transportation Secretary LaHood: "If
people don’t want an automobile, they don’t have to have one."

Public comments on the FTA’s proposal can be filed here.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Supes Avalos, Wiener Clash on Equitable Spending Strategies for Muni

|
Supervisors John Avalos and Scott Wiener are sparring over how new revenue for transit should be spent to benefit the Muni riders who need it most. With tax measures proposed for the 2014 ballot that could significantly increase transportation funds, Avalos introduced a charter amendment yesterday that would “require the city to prioritize investments to address existing […]

Mission Street Transit Lanes: What About the Bikes?

|
Earlier this week, the SFMTA sent out a release with a progress report on the “Red Lane” paint (actually, a thermoplastic adhesive) they are applying, clearly marking lanes for Muni Streetcars and buses (and taxis): Early signs indicate success. Preliminary data shows transit-only lane violations dropping by more than 50 percent on some segments of […]

Mission Transit Lane Removal Nudged Closer to Reality

|
Last April, businesses on Mission Street started to gain some traction in pushing against SFMTA’s “red carpet” bus-only lanes, which they claim—contrary to the available evidence, it should be noted—are hurting their bottom line. The result: Supervisor David Campos asked the SFMTA to “make a radical shift in the program,” as he put it in […]

Berkeley Celebrates the Opening of a Beautiful New Bike Station

|
The new Bike Station on Shattuck near Downtown Berkeley BART. Photos: Matthew Roth. Berkeley cyclists and BART staff celebrated the grand opening of the new Berkeley Bike Station yesterday at 2208 Shattuck Avenue, one of the largest enclosed bicycle stations in the country and just steps from Downtown Berkeley BART. The new station expands the […]