A big shout out to Caltrain staff, Caltrain Citizen Advisory Committee members; Caltrain Bicycle Advisory Committee members; Joint Powers Board (JPB) members Jeannie Bruins, Gillian Gillett, and Cheryl Brinkman; as well as you, members of SVBC and SF Bicycle Coalition, and the general public who came out to the workshop last week to talk Bikes + Caltrain. We all want the same thing: more trains and more people biking, so it was great to explore options together to further these goals.

Staff did a wonderful job of setting up an interactive workshop to study all the options for bike access to Caltrain. The first half of the workshop focused on barriers and opportunities for people to park their bike and/or use bike and scooter share at the stations. A lot of interesting ideas were generated to motivate people to use these options. Examples include: providing discounts for bike share and bike lockers with a Caltrain ticket, more secure and weatherproof bike parking, availability and reliability of bike and scooter share at all stations, clear signage for bike parking, better bikeways around stations.

The second half of the workshop was organized around four tables that had scale cut-outs of future electrified Caltrain cars, seats, and bike racks. Staff asked the groups to consider two options: redesigning two bike cars and redesigning three cars to include bikes. There was an array of options generated with various levels of seats and bike spaces that addressed the security, seating, and bike space concerns. Many attendees stated a desire to see the three bike car option move forward. We will continue working closely with Caltrain staff and strongly encourage them to explore three cars as a way to increase accessibility, ensure bike security onboard, and maximize the number of bike spaces. Staff needs to look at operational, design, and cost feasibility issues as well before final recommendations can be made. This will be presented at the June 6 JPB meeting.

In addition to exploring three bike cars, we also support the following:

  • Maintaining a minimum of 72 bike spaces per train, with a goal of 96 bike spaces on seven-car trains
  • Providing adequate seats in view of bikes
  • Setting a goal of 20% of Caltrain passengers accessing stations by bicycle

On the last point, we are excited that Caltrain has secured $3.5 million to expand secure bike parking at their stations, which is a significant investment to give more options to people who bike to Caltrain. Along with expanding bike share, we believe that this 20% goal is not only aspirational but realistic.

Email emma@bikesiliconvalley.org if you want to be informed of future Caltrain updates before the June 6 JPB Meeting.