2013 Bicycle Parking Census at Metrorail Stations

September 9th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Bicycles parked at racks at Metrorail stations inched up again this year, and Union Station is now Metro’s number-one station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Using bike rack counts – one of two ways we gauge bike-to-rail access – bikes parked at Metrorail stations increased by 1% in the last year.  The number of bike racks increased 20% over the same time period. (The second measurement of bike access from theMetrorail Passenger Survey was published last week here).

Some highlights:

  • Overall bikes parked is up slightly above 2012.  However, we observed each station only once or twice, so it is difficult to discern long-term trends from short-term variation so far.
  • Union Station is now the single biggest station for bicycle access, not including bikes parked  inside the BikeStation there. We counted 130 bikes at that station, well beyond the capacity at racks.
  • Bike parking capacity is up 20% since 2012, including the College Park Bike & Ride. Metro now has space for over 5,000 bicycles at stations. We (and our partners) continue to add bike parking capacity to stay on track to reach our goal of 7,000 bicyclists by 2020.
  • Bike use increased at several major stations such as East Falls Church, Vienna, Greenbelt, and NoMa, but decreased at other stations such as King Street, Braddock Road, and Franconia-Springfield.
  • Bicycle numbers remained about even at several perennial heavy-hitters like Medical Center, Takoma, Grosvenor, and Columbia Heights.
2011 2012 2013 2011-12 Change 2012-13 Change
Parked Bicycles 2,196 2,271 2,285 3% 1%
Bike Rack Capacity 3,544 4,239 5,136 20% 21%

Why is this important? These counts are a key way to measure bike access in the rail system to help us increase mode shares for pedestrian and bicycle access to transit – a key strategic action in Momentum, Metro’s strategic plan. In the short term, we will be adding racks where we can at stations over capacity. In the long term, this information helps us plan bicycle facilities for the future.

The details: Bicycles were counted only on days with good weather from mid-April to early June between 9am and 3:30pm. Along the way, we noted abandoned bikes and locations where bikes were locked to things other than racks.  Bikes parked up to 150 feet from the station entrance were included, but Metro bike lockers were excluded from assessments of both bike parking demand and supply.

Top Stations for Total Bikes Parked:

  1. Union Station, 130
  2. East Falls Church, 104
  3. Vienna, 90
  4. Takoma, 83
  5. Foggy Bottom, 74

Top Stations for Greatest Rack Capacity:

  1. College Park, 252
  2. Greenbelt, 176
  3. Federal Center SW, 140
  4. Braddock Road, 136
  5. Columbia Heights, 136
  6. West Hyattsville, 136

Did you recently start riding your bike and parking at Metrorail?  What factors influenced this decision?  Are you find adequate bike parking at the station?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

2013 counts of bicycles parked on racks, by station

2013 counts of bicycles parked on racks, by station (click for larger PDF)

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Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,
  1. Stephen
    September 9th, 2013 at 13:22 | #1

    I’m intrigued by the results for Southern Avenue. Though small in terms of bike capacity, it seems heavily utilized. What do you think drives that?

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  2. intermodal commuter
    September 9th, 2013 at 15:46 | #2

    Absent from your collection method: Capital Bikeshare, which many of use for first- and last-mile of rail (and bus) trips. You’d probably have to run a survey to figure out how many of us are there.

    Also, do the bike-in-rack counts include the dead bikes that have been stripped for parts and not yet removed? (e.g., Georgia Ave/Petworth station)

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  3. Justin
    September 9th, 2013 at 16:50 | #3

    @intermodal commuter You’re right – Capital Bikeshare access was captured in our Rail Passenger Survey, whose results about bike access are here.

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  4. Justin
    September 9th, 2013 at 16:54 | #4

    @intermodal commuter To your second question: yes, the counts do include the abandoned bikes we saw; we are currently working on tagging and removing them.

    To report a specific bike, fill out our Customer Comment Form with the following selections: Topic: “Facility”, Incident Type: “Other”, and in the comment section give us a description of the bike, and its location and rack if you can, and thanks!!

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  5. September 10th, 2013 at 17:25 | #5

    I’m part of the decrease at King Street: I kept a rusty bike there in 2012 but switched to Capital Bikeshare in 2013. Funny how all those new racks at the Switzer Building (3rd & C SW) pull that station way out of proportion to others in central DC; there aren’t many racks at the Federal Center station itself.

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  6. Patty B
    September 17th, 2013 at 13:32 | #6

    Double the number of bike racks at every station and you’ll have double the number of bikes parked there. Some of us are discouraged by the full racks and drive and park instead.

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