Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bikes and transit

Bicycle projects that connect to transit can receiving funding from the Federal Transit Administration if they have a "physical or functional relationship" to the transit center. According to Cyclelicious, this is generally interpreted to mean 1500 feet. "The FTA now acknowledges, however, that this 1,500 distance is too short. According to the FTA, research shows people are willing to travel about 15 minutes to their bus stop or station. That equates to about 1/2 mile for walking and three miles bicycling."

As a result, FTA is proposing a to clarify their policy on funding of pedestrian and bicycle facilities located near transit: "pedestrian improvements located within one-half mile and all bicycle improvements located within three miles of a public transportation stop or station shall have a de facto physical and functional relationship to public transportation."

The federal registry notice (pdf) for FTA–2009–0052 contains some good information and references about bicycling and transit:
With respect to bicycle facilities in particular, Secretary LaHood has committed the Department to "work toward an America where bikes are recognized to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges." If we are to create livable communities, "the range of transportation choices available to all Americans-including transit, walking, bicycling, and improved connectivity for various modes-must be expanded.

The success of public transportation can be limited by the problem of the "first and last mile." One of "the best present options for solving the first and last mile dilemma are bicycles. Bicycles are the no-brainer of American mobility, one of our great underutilized resources. There are more bicycles in the United States than there are households but most of those bikes sit in garages except for an occasional recreational outing. And yet they are the perfect transportation choice for a short one- to three-mile trip to and from a transit station."
Comments on the policy are accepted until January 12, 2010.

See also The League of American Bicyclists post on this proposed policy change.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TOD presenstation in Reston

We were asked recently to give a presentation on Bicycle and Pedestrian Access in Transit-Oriented Developments (pdf) at a TOD seminar sponsored by local transit groups. The seminar was held today at the Oracle offices in Reston. It was a good opportunity to discuss the importance of bicycling, especially as a way to access transit.

Most discussions of bicycle and pedestrian access in TODs tend to lump the two modes together, even though they are very different, especially in more dense urban areas. In urban areas there needs to be separation between bicyclists and pedestrians, and in most cases bicyclists are safer on the road, either using bike lanes or wide curb lanes, or riding in normal traffic lanes. Cyclists can cover much more distance than pedestrians, and bike connections leading from residential areas to transit areas are especially important.

It is estimated that 40% of ALL trips are 2 miles or less, and for these short trips, bike travel time is comparable to drive time, and it's more predictable.


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