Capitol Corridor releases Draft Bicycle Access Plan

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition will be reviewing this Plan over the coming weeks and we welcome your input. Is it a good Plan? Does it need to be stronger. What do you like and dislike about? Please let us know right here on this blog. We are encouraged by the plan’s commitment to increasing bike parking at its stations and for exploring bike sharing programs and folding bike lease programs, modeled on England’s similar system. Thanks for providing us your input. Executive Summary of Draft Bicycle Access Plan 1. Executive Summary This Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) Bicycle Access Plan identifies specific actions both on the train and at stations, which, working together with its partners, CCJPA can take to improve bicycle access to/from, and on the train.

Demand for bicycle access to and from the trains has grown sharply as a percentage of total ridership and has outstripped the designated bicycle capacity on the train. Supporting bicycle access to/from Capitol Corridor service remains a vital goal of the CCJPA for the benefits that accrue to the service, the riders, and the communities along the route. With the assistance and support of community experts, local and regional agencies, bicycle advocacy experts–including the train riders who regularly travel with bicycles–the CCJPA presents the Bicycle Access Plan as a tool to ensure safety onboard the train but also to continue the vital role bicycles play for existing and future Capitol Corridor customers, the environment and the economies that are supported by Capitol Corridor service. 1.1. Background The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) manages the Capitol Corridor intercity passenger rail service. The CCJPA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 16 elected officials from six member agencies along the approximately 170-mile Capitol Corridor route: • Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) • Solano Transportation Authority (STA) • Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD) • Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sac RT) • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) CCJPA works with its partners: Amtrak for train operations, its two host railroads Union Pacific Railroad and Caltrain for train dispatching, and the State of California, specifically, Caltrans Division of Rail for rolling stock. Other partners in supporting Capitol Corridor service are the local jurisdictions. CCJPA, as administrator of the service, and its partners focuses on the continuous improvement of the Capitol Corridor train service through effective cost management, revenue enhancement, as well as customer- focused delivery of a safe, frequent, reliable, and green transportation alternative to the congested I-80, I-680, and I-880 highway corridors. The Capitol Corridor service began in December 1991 with six daily trains between San Jose and Sacramento. The CCJPA assumed management responsibility for the service in October 1998. Since then, it has grown into the third busiest intercity passenger rail service in the nation. The CCJPA currently runs 30 weekday round trips and has an annual ridership of about 1.8 million passengers. Improved on-time performance, reliability, and numerous other factors, such as rising gas prices, offering a number of customer amenities including free Wi-Fi, are all reasons which helped to increase ridership and make this service popular. 1.2. Education, Encouragement, and Enforcement As the demand for more onboard bicycle access grew, CCJPA has continued to communicate with its riders in an effort to assess the situation and determine appropriate solutions. Informed by a 2010 Bicycle User survey, the CCJPA has already implemented an educational element to encourage behavioral change but it must also enter a phase of enforcing safe and secure storage of bicycles. 1.3. Bicycle Access Improvements on the Train Operational changes have resulted in more efficient bicycle storage use on trains. Train equipment rotations have been modified to ensure a minimum bicycle storage capacity and to match larger capacity train sets with busier trains where possible. CCJPA also has modified operations to ensure that the Berkeley Station stop, which does not allow all the train cars to be accessible at the same time, now can utilize ‘double stops’ when needed. Train car assignments shared with the San Joaquin intercity service were optimized to try to regularly bring more bicycle storage equipped trains to the Capitol Corridor service when feasible. Physical modifications to some existing cab cars will gradually ensure that in two years all cab cars will be equipped with a 13 bay bicycle storage facility. For long-term solutions, CCJPA and Caltrans is in the process of ordering new railcars which will increase regular train consist size and thus bicycle storage, and is exploring the possibility of greater bicycle cars storage options. 1.4. Bicycle Access Improvements at Stations The real option to cost effectively resolve existing challenges and actually grow the mode share of bicycling with the Capitol Corridor service is to address solutions at stations. The CCJPA has researched the industry, gathered feed back from other transit providers and identified three strategies that will reduce the demand for onboard bicycle storage: bicycle sharing, secure bicycle facilities, and leased bicycles. These three programs have strong environmental benefits across the board and solid community integration components to them as well. The CCJPA would like to encourage bicycle sharing in all interested communities. Bicycle sharing provides and stores bicycles for members in a designated service area. CCJPA will not be responsible for adopting and running bicycle sharing but will help to offer communities with whatever resources it can. For example, the CCJPA has contributed $10,000 to help fund a bicycle sharing feasibility study in Sacramento. The CCJPA plans to provide standardized secure bicycle storage facilities at its stations that are not reserved to one specific bicyclist. Currently, each host city determines how many and what kind of bicycle storage to offer. At many of the stations, there is a waiting list for reserved bicycle lockers. The use of technology with modern secure bicycle storage systems can overcome and expand the viability of bicycling and Capitol Corridor travel. The CCJPA has a tiered list of prioritized stations to deploy such systems. The last option is to lease folding bicycles to riders. A new innovation from United Kingdom (UK) company Brompton Dock, features the Brompton folding bicycle. This innovation is a bicycle share-like program except these bicycles are available for a day or more at a time to members who sign up for the service. Sacramento, Davis, and Berkeley are ideal locations to feature these services and the folding aspect is crucial since it encourages mobility while not using valuable space on the train. 1.5. Funding , Economy and Environment Funding opportunities are available to support the plan. All indications are that with local and regional support, local economies and the environment benefit from implementation of this plan.

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