In our effort to improve safety, access and sustainability, Metro is expanding our understanding of bike and pedestrian barriers faced in commuting to our Metrorail stations. Over the past several years, we have focused our bike and pedestrian project planning and implementation efforts on improvements we can make to our station areas such as, installing bike racks or constructing pedestrian improvements. Now, we’d like to expand the envelope and develop a list of access needs beyond our own boundaries and work with our jurisdictional partners to make needed improvements.
One way we are doing this is by gaining a better understanding of where auto commuters come from when they drive to our stations, and zeroing in on areas where we see a good deal of auto access to determine if there are barriers to walking or biking to the station.
The map at right (full version) shows auto-to-station “hot spots” around the Forest Glen station, to pick one example, locations from which clusters of customers drive and park at Metro. According to the 2007 Metrorail Passenger Survey data, many customers drive from within a 1-3 mile radius; some are even closer. So why are so many people from this area driving? In our 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, we teased out some of the more broad-based reasons why people drive rather than walk or bike – now we’d like to explore each station’s local conditions and see what can be done to improve walk and bike access.
The Forest Glen station is located north of the Capital Beltway and west of Georgia Avenue. More commuters to Forest Glen are from north of the Beltway and east of Georgia Avenue. There is pedestrian overpass over the Capital Beltway which helps facilitate foot traffic: Is crossing Georgia Ave then a barrier? There are four Metro rail stations located within a 2-mile radius of Forest Glen which draw away commuters farther from the station. This could help to explain the highly localized nature of the parking shed.
There are many factors not considered here such as demographics, bus usage, and average driving trends. Further research into parking and commuting trends is in the works.
If you commute from this area, can you comment about what you experience on your commute? Do you drive? If so, what factors influence you to drive instead of walk or bike? Would you like to walk or bike, but the infrastructure isn’t there or the traffic is too daunting? Or do you see something else from this data? We want to hear from you and appreciate any feedback you have that can make our system more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.