Entries tagged: Bus

Bike Pittsburgh Celebrates Major Bike Rack Win

imageAfter a mandate from members and a decade of dedicated work, Bike Pittsburgh celebrated last week as the local Port Authority announced 100 percent of buses now have bike racks.

The story starts way back in 2002, when BikePGH was just getting its feet wet as an upstart advocacy organization. Already, the Port Authority and City of Pittsburgh had received a $75,000 grant for “Ride, Rack and Roll,” an initiative intended to outfit 75 buses with bike racks. But, a year after the program was established, only eight routes had racks — and often, even on those lines, buses would arrive sans rack. So BikePGH got to work.

“[From 2003 to 2006] stakeholders represented by Sustainable Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning, the Port Authority and BikePGH met on and off to try to figure out the issues regarding the Rack ‘n Roll service,” Erok Boerer, BikePGH Advocacy Director, explained on the group’s blog last week. “It was clear the only answer was to get more racks into the entire system.”

In 2004, the program got an influx of money — $290,150 from the federal Transportation Enhancements program — to grow the program to 12 routes. But still, service was spotty and riders had little confidence that their bus would arrive with a rack. So it wasn’t surprising that BikePGH members considered the bus situation a major frustration. “At a BikePGH strategic planning session, members expressed that outfitting 100 percent of Port Authority buses with bike racks should be a high priority campaign that we should pursue,” Boerer explained.

So, in 2007, when the Port Authority announced it was buying new buses without racks the advocates pressed for a new policy that could solve the problem: No new buses should be purchased without a bike rack. The Port Authority agreed. By 2008, the landscape started to change as old buses were retired and, from the get-go, the new ones hit the streets with racks attached. To make sure the Port Authority had the cash to complete the task, BikePGH worked with local officials to get funding from another federal source — the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program — and from a private foundation. By the end of 2009, they had secured the dollars to outfit the remaining 190 buses and the city promised to get it done by the end of 2011.

Finally, on Friday, the Port Authority and BikePGH had reason to party: All the city buses are now equipped with bike racks.

“This momentous development didn’t happen overnight,” Boerer wrote before the event. “It took a decade, with many different folks working to better the program. When it all came down to it, though, it was all about advocacy and leadership that made it happen.”

Read more on the BikePGH blog.

Posted by Carolyn S on September 27, 2011
Tags: transportation enhancements, transit, pittsburgh, pennsylvania, federal funding, cmaq, bus, bike racks, bike pittsburgh
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CORRECTED: MassBike and BCU: Improving Bus-Bike Relations on Boston Streets

In my post last week about the new bike-friendly developments with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, I failed to give the Boston Cyclists Union their due. The BCU played a key role in discussions with the MTBA and their work should have been highlighted in the headline. Thanks to BCU founder and director, Pete Stidman, for bringing the omission to my attention!

imageimageSpeaking of progress in Boston, several other Alliance member organizations — MassBike, LivableStreets, and the Boston Cyclists Union — have been building on their relationships with the local transit agency to enhance bicyclists’ access to stations and safety on the streets.

Back in April, advocates from MassBike and the Boston Cyclists Union met with officials at the MBTA to discuss how they could work together to better align cyclists and buses as allies, instead of enemies, on city streets. The result: An improved bicyclist safety training for bus drivers that draws on best practices from other areas, like Chicago.

Last month, David Watson, executive director for MassBike attended one of the trainings. “We are happy to report that the new training is a vast improvement over past policies and should go a long way to making bicyclists safer on the roads,” MassBike reported in its newsletter. “During the training, a bus driver will review past incidents, participate in a classroom session with a bicycling advocate present to answer questions, go through a number of bicyclist-driver simulations, and finally be tested through road evaluations. The end result should be a bus driver who is knowledgeable and well-prepared for operating a bus safely around bicyclists.”

The MBTA is also making it easier, and safer, for cyclists to take advantage of public transit themselves. Again, with some urging from Boston advocates, the agency is upping its parking options for folks on two wheels.

“From now through next spring, the MBTA will be installing 50 BikePorts around their stations,” MassBike says. “The BikePorts are canopied bike racks, so you’ll be able to lock up with some protection from the elements… During 2011, the T will also complete six more Pedal & Parks — the T’s secure bike-parking facilities. So far, the three operational Pedal & Parks have been a huge success, and are constantly filled with bicycles. The new facilities… will be able to hold 100-150 bicycles… Lastly, over the next 18 months, 100 percent of the MBTA’s bus fleet will be equipped with bike racks, so you’ll finally be able to rely on the next bus having a rack (and let your bike do some of the riding for a change).”

Learn more and follow Boston’s progress via MassBike’s blog and the Boston Cyclists Union.

Milwaukee Buses Get Bike Racks!

imageThe Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin (BFW) celebrated a victory for cycling on November 19th, when the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a measure to put bike racks on all Milwaukee buses. Milwaukee County will provide the local match for Milwaukee’s Bike Racks on Buses Program. The project will be in full swing this spring and completed by the fall of 2010.

BFW has been working with the Milwaukee County Transit System for nearly five years on various measures. The campaign for bike racks on buses has been running for two and a half years. According to Shea Schachameyer of BFW, “I view the campaign’s success as yet another example of the power of grassroots organizing; it was because of the broad base of support which the campaign attracted and the BFW’s ability to mobilize those supporters on a dime’s notice which has led the program to be implemented this spring.”

Read more on this victory from Shea here (http://www.bfw.org/advocacy/index.php?category_id=4027). To read more about the bike racks on buses program click here (http://www.bfw.org/advocacy/index.php?category_id=4170).