The BART commuter of the future comes on two wheels, according to the transit agency's new 10-year bike plan.
The goal is to double the number of passengers who cycle to stations, reflecting a cultural shift in the past decade as more riders hop from bike to BART and back again.
Representatives from BART, Caltrans, city and county government and cycling advocacy groups help design a plan that includes bike sharing, expanded parking, and more seamless access to other transportation systems, as well as housing where acres of auto parking now stand. The BART bike plan is available online for review and comment until May 27.
"It's encouraging to see BART making a commitment to and an investment in bike ridership," said Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. "They really see the potential in having many more people bike to BART."
Bicycle ridership has taken off in the Bay Area since BART drafted its first bike plan in 2002. Around 14,000 cyclists make up roughly 4 percent of ridership each weekday systemwide, although the number of bike commuters varies by station. Only 3 percent of BART riders arrived on bike at the Pleasant Hill station in 2008 — still marking an increase of 55 percent since 1998. , 12 percent pedaled to and from the station in 2008, up from 7 percent ten years prior.
With the total number of train riders who cycle having doubled in the last eight years, Rivera said he "wouldn't be surprised if over the next eight we see a quarter of the people who ride BART going by bike."
Steve Beroldo, manager of access programs for BART, said the plan was designed to transform BART from a system that allows bikes to one that depends on them. One benefit: Less space for auto parking means more space for housing.
Among the plan's 20 strategies are these:
- Improve station circulation for passengers with bicycles;
- Create secure, plentiful bicycle parking facilities;
- Help assure bicycle access beyond BART’s boundaries;
- Optimize bicycle accommodations aboard trains.
The agency is also considering bike-sharing, something that has been tried successfully in other urban areas.
What do you think of BART's bike plan? Should more people cycle to and from the Pleasant Hill BART station? Share your thoughts in the comments below.