Metrorail Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Improvements Study

December 3rd, 2010

As Metro plans for the future, expecting ridership to increase from a current average of about 750,000 trips per day to more than 1 million, the question of how so many new passengers will access our system is a critical one.  Our most recent passenger survey estimates that about 39% of our riders arrive by car – either parking or being dropped off; 33% walk to our system; 22% take a bus; 4% by commuter rail and <1% arrive on bike.   Accommodating those new riders with the same modal split as we see today could be quite costly for the region.  Therefore, Metro decided to take a look at where we could improve our mode share for those modes that require fewer financial resources – namely bicycling and walking.  In 2009, we began a study that would provide a framework to help us achieve these higher shares.

Our Metrorail Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Improvements Study has identified strategies that will enhance bicycle and pedestrian access and connectivity in and around Metrorail stations.  It provides recommendations for a range of physical infrastructure improvements, as well as policies and programs to encourage more walk and bike trips to stations.  These recommendations fall into two main categories – those that Metro can implement alone, and those that require coordination with local partners.

Bicycle Mode of Access to Metrorail by Station, excerpted from the final study report.

Within each category are programmatic elements that cover:

  • multi-modal policies
  • station assessment tools
  • customer information and encouragement
  • operations and maintenance
  • building institutional capacity
  • bicycle parking
  • transit-oriented development
  • off-site connections
  • wayfinding
  • adjacent development

Perhaps the most interesting recommendation is for Metro to adopt a bicycle mode share goal through which we can measure our progress as we implement these recommendations.  The recommendation is to triple the current bike share from .7% (about 1600 riders per day) to 2.1% by 2020 and quintuple it by 2030 – which equates to about 12,000 riders per day. In January we will discuss these goals with the Metro Board.

Metro planners are in the process of developing a six-year Capital Improvement Plan to implement recommendations pertaining to physical infrastructure, signage and bike parking facilities.    In the meantime, one of the things we heard loud and clear is a need for more secure bike parking.   The implementation plan will include construction of secure bike parking facilities like this example from Boston.   We hope to pilot such a facility during 2011 and use it as a prototype for additional locations.

Metrorail Bicycle & Pedestrian Access Improvements Study – Final (18 MB, PDF)

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  1. Daniel
    March 21st, 2012 at 14:26 | #1

    How may more bicycle riders would there be if the current restrictions on bikes were lifted? People who use bikes to commute stay away from Metro because they can’t ride Metro. MetroBus, on the other hand, is great for bikes. Why is half the network off-limits at the times we (bike riders) need it most?

  2. Nat
    April 3rd, 2012 at 12:46 | #2

    It’s a good question, Daniel, but I’m not sure we can easily quantify the answer. This is a perennial challenge for us. Even the comments on many cycling advocacy blogs are divided about whether Metrorail trains should permit non-folding bicycles on board during rush hours. Given that this is such a challenge, we’re focusing our efforts on system access investments. Looking ahead, we’re aiming to provide more bike storage facilities, and to make those facilities safer, easier, and more secure to use. Hopefully, this will make the system overall more bike-friendly, even if we’re not addressing your specific question right away.

  3. Oscar Bolaños
    September 3rd, 2013 at 15:24 | #3

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