The geography of Miami-Dade county has always been an Achilles heel in providing premium transit service to the far reaches of the county and will continue to be a challenge as we try to expand alternative modes of transportation – but connecting bikes and transit is one of the best ways to leverage our existing transit network. If you factor in a five minute bike ride  - approximately one mile – you start to capture a larger population.  Getting to stations is one of the biggest challenges, as our on-street bicycle network is still in its infancy. One saving grace is the  hugely successful M-Path, which was the subject of a recent shoddy article in the New Times (where my quote was taken way out of context). Simple signage would help, as would prioritizing bicycle infrastructure investments around stations.

 

Metrorail map showing 1/4 mile radius or five minute walk shed around stations.

The 1 mile bike shed shows the area covered by a 5 minute bike ride - significantly more than the five minute walk.

Once at the station, however, there are a host of other challenges that range from poor signage to conflicts with pedestrians.  BPAC member Matthew Toro has been a frequent critic of MDT’s bike and ride policy, and put together some pretty compelling arguments about why the current policy has to change. He writes that the current MDT policy toward bicyclist is “highly contradictory, ambiguous, [and] unenforceable.   There are serious inconsistencies regarding the how many bikes are allowed on the train; where they’re allowed on the train; plans to include vertical bike racks/hooks in future rail cars; bicyclists occupying multiple Metrorail seats, thereby denying non-bicyclist riders the chance to sit, especially during high-occupancy periods, etc.”

He presented the following policy problems and potential solutions at the BPAC meeting on 11/14.

While I don’t think that prohibiting bikes on MetroRail during rush hour is a good idea – especially as we try to strengthen bicycle and transit use – the other policy suggestions are right on. Great ideas Matthew.

I’ll leave you with two other items on the subject of MDT’s bike and ride. One is a powerpoint that Matthew Toro put together for BPAC that illustrates the many problems with bicyclists on the MetroRail and the other is a PSA about the MDT Bike and Ride program that gives more info about the current rules and how to use your bike on the system.

 

As popular as Bike & Ride is – it has its challenges.

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8 Responses to Miami-Dade Transit Bike and Ride: Challenges & Opportunities

  1. Mike Moskos says:

    I’m surprised that after the enormous success of DecoBike on Sobe, MDT and Tri-Rail haven’t brought them on to provide bikes at their respective stations. (I’m surprised the local universities haven’t either–a residential campus like the U of M CRIES for bike share.)

    Clearly, lots of people want to travel with their own bikes, but what about the rest of us? Also, with new cars coming to Metrorail, I wonder if they will have vertical bike racks and/or dedicated bike cars. With so many young people choosing to spend their little spare cash on things other than cars, I think the trend of transit + bikes will only continue to grow.

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  2. Larry Thorson says:

    Also a BPAC member, I like Matt Toro’s ideas. I lived in Berlin for five years and often biked to the office along wide bike paths safely separated from car traffic, with separate signals that let bikes get across intersections before cars. On the Beach we need a long north-south bike path to make bike commuting a real option.

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  3. Tony Garcia says:

    @ Mike: It is only a matter of time before DecoBike expands to UM and MDT/Tri-Rail….
    @Larry: Yes! Collins in mid/north beach is wide enough for a great protected bike lane…we definitely need more protected lanes.

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  4. CB says:

    Just got back from Paris and the biking was fantastic! For 1 Euro I was able to rent a bike for an hour and return it to about 50 stations scattered throughout the city. Residents have a card that’ll work for the subway, bikes and soon a ZipCar type system.

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  5. UDB says:

    I hear there will be a B Cycle facility at Tri-Rail’s Hollywood station. It’s too bad that the lousy land use and unsafe road network around most Tri-Rail stations preclude more from consideration. Future FEC stations will really be a no brainer for Deco Bike and/or B Cycle.

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  6. Rog in Miami Gardens. says:

    We have to simply continue to deseminating sound information about bike community and public transit in general.

    It amazes how many South Floridians STILL don’t see public transit/walking/bicycling as viable options for getting around, and not just for when they visit Disney Land or New York City.

    I am so sick of the excuse, “Oh, if only we were like New York or Paris”. Ugh!

    We will NEVER be an NYC or Paris. Never! However, we are a region that has pretty decent transit options, considering. I think we are suffering from a poor public image. Tri-Rail actually has a pretty good image in the eye of the public. We need to adopt some of their marketing schemes, but we’ll never get a car-obsessed public to leave the cars at home and use transit and their bikes to get around if they think that all of the facilities are dirty and filled with vagrants ready to pounce on them, or if they will get run over the minute they ride out into the street.

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  7. Kevin says:

    FIU, through its Office of Sustainability and transportation departments has been looking at starting a bike share program on-campus. They were in talks with DecoBike, but no agreements have been made yet. Bike share is definitely something FIU is trying to get done and has the support of President Mark Rosenberg.

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  8. [...] a set of possible policy changes to the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee pertaining to the many issues surrounding the Metrorail Bike & Ride Policy. The removal of seats to create more standing and storage area was the primary proposal of the [...]

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