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Melding Cycling and Transit

A great video from Streetfilms looking at how Vancouver is integrating cycling with public transit to extend the reach of its system and provide people with a really high quality alternative to travelling by car:

There’s always an interesting debate around whether we should encourage cyclists to carry their bikes with them on PT (either chucking them on the front of a bus or carrying them on the train) or whether the goal should be on storage at stations. I think the answer is obviously a mix of the two, though obviously carrying them on the vehicles only really works if we’re talking about low quantities of users trying to do this.

From memory New Lynn station has decent facilities for bikes, but elsewhere on the rail network I can’t think of the facilities being that great (though I haven’t looked in too much detail). Improving storage facilities for bikes at train and busway stations seems like a pretty low-hanging fruit to focus on.

32 comments to Melding Cycling and Transit

  • pete

    Does Bike Central still run in the CBD? Would be great to see an integrated facility developed at the K Road or Aotea train stations allowing a very integrated transport hub. Hopefully AT have thought about this in their CRL planning for stations?

  • Here’s a short video of how the Japanese deal with the issue of connecting bikes and PT. Like everything in Japan, it is very easy and efficient. The density of Japanese cities makes this park n ride system more achievable in Japan than it would be than in NZ.
    http://vimeo.com/28388913

    • Glen

      Can’t agree with this more. Almost every Japanese commuter station has a bike parking facility. Some are above-ground (like the one in Mark’s video), some are below ground (underneath the bus or taxi ranks in larger stations), and some are at ground level. Sometimes they’re flash, sometimes they’re just a tin shed run by an old bloke who checks bikes into their booked space in the morning rush hour and then shuffles off to do something else during the day.

      The main point is that the facilities exist almost everywhere, and they expand the draw area of the station well beyond walking distance without recourse to buses, park and ride etc. (bear in mind that a lot of Japanese suburbia is lower density than we imagine in NZ, yes small sections but still free-standing houses so quite spread out in places. Bike facilities therefore allow a station to service a wide area at a lower cost than buses)

      The second point is that they’re not always provided by the transport operator, instead often by the private sector. It’s as simple as someone who owns or leases a small patch of land near a station turning it into a bike shelter. Prepaid monthly fees from riders in return for guaranteed spaces mean stable income streams. (fees per bike are not high but a lot of bikes can be stored in a small space). It makes economic sense as well as city-planning sense.

      There are a lot of stations in Auckland where the surrounding land is not very highly developed and hence should be cheap. When will someone in Auckland try the bike facility concept?

      • It’s worth noting that the bikes being used for this Park n Ride purpose are cheap and perfect for slow comfortable riding. Typically they have a basket, carrier, mudguards, chain guard, kick stand. They are perfect for short utility journeys. This type of cycling is an extension of walking and consequently people do not wear helmets.

  • Once the trains are really rocking (CRL) I can see stations like the Kingsland being huge for bike-stash and ride into the cbd. There are some huge elevation barriers for cyclists going in and out of the city centre, with nice facilities (cage, swipe card) it would hugely expand the potential for cycling as a convenient mode- a sort of pedestrian propulsion. Of course the local roads and connections would also have to be improved.

  • James

    See if everyone had a skateboard the space would be no issue :)

  • Matthew

    I think it is a 5 part solution, giving people flexibility because some people need to cycle at one end of their journey or not the other, or they need to cycle at both.

    1. Allow bikes on trains with on-board bike racks such as on the Copenhagen S-Tog suburban trains
    2. Having free lock your bike to a rack bike parking at all stations
    3. Having pay secure bike parking at all stations, which is flexible enough that you don’t have to arrange a year’s rental of the locker first.
    4. Having share bike-hire schemes at central stations and up to a couple kms away
    5. Having safe separated places to cycle from the stations, ie better infrastructure, and prioritising cycling and scooting and pedestrians over cars, and over on street parking (the most useless waste of urban space).

    They moved my job from Palmy to Auckland, and faced with following it to Auckland (I mean come on, who wants to live in Auckland?) I gave them the finger, and got a job in Welly instead, so I’m on the train, which as you may know stops a bit short of most of Wellington City. The buses down the Golden Mile are slow, and the cigarette smoke on the Golden Mile and when waiting for buses gives me the irrits (and then me complaining about it gives Peter M the irrits, which then gives me the irrits all over again), so I’ve got myself a folding adult sized scooter and go down the waterfront. Getting my bike on the train is too much hassle, and getting the bike up the stairs at the office is also a hassle, and I’d have to wear my helmet. I’m not alone in being on a scooter either. There’s some scooter camaraderie with the half dozen or so people I’ve noticed doing the same.

    Costs wise to society the scooting and cycling cost almost nothing. Compare that to extra buses, or extending the train line or extra congestion from more and more cars. All levels of government should really get behind cycling and scooting in a big way, promoting it, making it safer, and making the right infrastructure decisions, because it would save us all bucket loads of money.

    At the new office there’s a couple of skateboard commuters as well.

    • max

      I like living in Auckland! A lot, actually, and it’s ironic because when I didn’t know Auckland, I had the same reaction as you – in fact, my first contract in Auckland had an escape clause written into it, so that after a year I was allowed to switch to another company office elsewhere in the country if I wanted to. By that time, I was like “of course I am staying here!”.

      As for your suggestions:

      1 – bike carriage will be permitted on the future electric trains, with (some) dedicated bike racks, and some multifunctional space for more bikes.
      2 – is slowly coming along.
      3 – is still far in the future, sadly, though AT is considering swipe-card cages for some key stations.
      4 – yeah… the “study to study whether we could have a bike hire scheme supported by the Council” has now been MIA for a while…
      5 – CAA is pushing for that where we can…

      • Bryce P

        Maybe they could tie the lock / unlock to a Hop card instead of another swipe card system?

        • Max

          Bryce, that would be great, though I admit that I don’t know how easy it is to fake registering of the hop card. You wouldn’t want it to be too easy for a thief to get access… since the current HOP setup is only to protect your balance, as far as I know, it may not provide any such security.

          But either way, swipe cards are definitely the way to go.

  • Stu Donovan

    Yeah I’m not a big fan of bikes on buses, as soon as many people start doing it then it becomes very slow. I think the Dutch have it sorted – just store a bicycle at both ends of your trip and avoid carrying it on the train. Bike sharing schemes with stations at PT stops also help to break the chain of individual bicycle ownership.

    • Nick R

      I agree, on (off peak) trains it’s not big deal because loading a bike on and off takes no longer than any other boarding, and quite a few people can do it at the same time. On a bus you potentially slow down the process and at best two people can do it. One of those things that sounds like a good idea but won’t work if people actually do it regularly.

    • bbc

      Often it’s only necessary to use the bike for one leg of a journey so leaving it at a station or picking one up at the station is the ideal. In Seattle bikes on buses are quite common and they’re slow as people have said, the other disadvantage is that there are only 3-4 slots so you’re either luck or you’re stuck waiting for the next bus (or the next). A lot of American cities are also rolling out bike share schemes that are situated at transit stations and then throughout the city, such that people can use them as Stu suggests to get to from a bus/train station – works well and removes the worry of leaving a bike at a station overnight.

  • Yeah, in particular I think there is not great storage at Britomart itself (if there is, I haven’t seen it). So for example, if I cycle into CBD and catch bus out to Eastern Bays I have to lock my bike up outside, so it is in the rain and it is much easier to steal. Maybe there is bike parking inside the station but if so they’re certainly not heavily sign posting it for people like me to find…maybe they think people are only likely to walk to Britomart but that’s certainly not my experience. I know lots of people who cycle down there and then go places by train/bus.

    • Christopher

      There is storage, just ask the guards. :) It was discovered by a friend of mine that they snip the locks of bikes locked up ‘inappropriately’ i.e. not at bike racks, and wheel them down to a cupboard in the Station Manager’s office. She noticed a wee pile of bikes in the cupboard when she retrieved hers.

  • Ingolfson

    Oh, for f*** sake. They really do that? Great. Probably a dozen people around Auckland who have a story of having their bike “stolen” at Britomart, when it was “only” confiscated.

    What’s wrong with simply attaching a “don’t park it here” tag and then removing it LATER?

    • Steve D

      If you parked a car on the footpath at Britomart, it’d get towed pretty quick, and you’d catch the bus out to somewhere like Otahuhu and pay well over $100 to get it back. No-one would leave some weak polite note on the windscreen. If you park your bike in everyone’s way and it gets removed, you’re getting off pretty lightly by picking it from the office inside.

      • Bryce P

        And the alternative parking facilities for cycles at Britomart, or just about anywhere in Auckland, are where exactly? Provide alternatives and cyclists won’t have to lock them to posts. Maybe we should push for a floor of the Britomart carpark?

        • Steve D

          There are already quite a lot of free, on-street bicycle parks around Britomart. You’re welcome to push for more – it’s certainly a better use of space than the on-street car parking. But in the meantime. the fact that there isn’t currently limitless free parking right outside everywhere you want to travel to doesn’t entitle you to dump your bike anywhere you want, and it doesn’t entitle you to sympathy when it’s removed (“stolen” – ha) from being in someone else’s way.

          • Tom

            There are a few spaces but they are often hard to find. Some aren’t public but are reserved for businesses that put them up (Les Mills). After two years I’m still finding ‘official’ parking spots purely by coincidence, they are neither plentiful nor easy to find (unlike car parks).

            …doesn’t entitle you to dump your bike anywhere you want, and it doesn’t entitle you to sympathy when it’s removed (“stolen” – ha) from being in someone else’s way.

            So if it isn’t in anyone’s way it’s fine? Anyway, the point is that no one knew that people are removing bikes from posts around Britomart. No one was notified (or did I miss a sign somewhere?). Is this even legal considering the Britomart staff, AFAIK, aren’t registered as a towie service?

          • Peter

            I used to cycle 3 times a week to Britomart a few years ago. The arrogant staff put their own chain around my bike so I had to go searching for someone to unlock it. No signs saying not to put bikes there! But why couldn’t people lock their bikes to metal rails out of the way? Maybe they thought there might be a hidden bomb under the seat! Meanwhile all the other bike racks were full up with those rental bikes that no-one ever used. Great way to deter cycling.

          • Steve D

            Tom: How could no-one know their bikes were being removed? You go back, and the bike is gone. Seems fairly obvious. Same as with any piece of your stuff that you leave around, whether it’s a car, or a bike or an umbrella – go and find someone who looks like they work there and ask if they know what happened to it.

            Peter: now that’s ridiculous. They don’t want bikes there – so they lock them in place? Just making the problem worse, guys. Just as stupid as clamping cars.

            But why would any of you velocipedians assume it’s OK to park your bike somewhere just because there are no signs, and something there to chain your bike to? You think everywhere that people don’t want bikes, there should be a sign? You could just ask where it’s okay to park. (I’ll ask at Britomart tonight in fact, and let you know).

            Anyway, if it helps anyone, with a minute on Google I discovered bike parking for just $1/day at Giant bikes: http://www.britomart.org/giant-auckland

          • Steve D

            So – if you want to park your bike at Britomart, you can use the bike racks out behind the old CPO building, near the short-stay carpark on Commerce Street. There’s also free bike parking at the Ferry Terminal.

  • SteveC

    again, I’m amazed how poorly rail passengers are treated compared to busway passengers, both covered (locked cage) and uncovered (hoops) bike parking is provided at a busway stations

    as for bike racks on buses, I think they have marginal utility (for me anyway), if I’m riding, then fitness is a major part of the reason and sticking the bike on the bus isn’t going to help unless both tyres are flat

  • Torbayite

    if you wanted to trial a station to have a “big push” to encourage bike and bus I would go for Sunnynook. there is no car parking supplied , and it sits ajacent to a suburb with fairly queit streets. Could potentiall spend some $$ on clycel lanes here to see if worked

  • Svartmetall

    I’m not 100% sure that I like the idea of having bikes on transport in all situations. I know that here there is no way that you could get bikes on the tunnelbana (1,122,000 on 105km/100 stations) let alone the pendeltåg, buses or other light rail lines around the city (Stockholm), it just couldn’t be done given our patronage is far more dense than Vancouver’s (406,300 passengers on 68.7km/47 stations) or Copenhagen (360,000 passengers on 170km/85 stations). What happens instead is a lot of bike parking – much in the same way as Japan. Every station has bike parking and major bus interchanges have bike facilities too. Very few people have problems parking their bikes and that is how it should be.

    What happens to Auckland when patronage takes off on the train lines? Do we still have to have bikes in the way of commuters? If one were to make it off-peak only then it would simply be leisure cyclists rather than commuters that utilise the bikes on board system. Not sure what others here think about that, but bikes are obtrusive and “in the way” on public transport and this is from someone who does cycle around the city.

    • Bike parking amenity is clearly an important and affordable priority at all stations. No upgrade should take place without providing some as well as planning for likely future expansion. Svartmetal is right; our ability to accommodate bikes on trains is a sign that we have a fair way to go in growing the appeal of the service- but we knew that. We should carry them till we can’t.

  • One thing I would like to see is at least train stations with a park n ride having a few car parks turned over to bike parking, perhaps with a locked cage that is activated by swiping a registered HOP card. My local station Sturges Rd has ~170 car parks and even on busy days there are usually 20-50 spaces free yet for cycles there are only a few uncovered hoops. Not a location I would like to leave a bike (if I had one).

  • lucyjh

    I think in a city as wet as Auckland cover is really key. it sucks having a wet bike seat or a rusty bike you need to oil bc its been out in rain for 8 hours.

  • Luke C

    I’m surprised no ones mentioned Amsterdam, especially the vast parks at Amsterdam Centraal. They have the same issue with parking as Auckland CBD does. but with bikes! http://wikimapia.org/6288717/Multi-storey-Bicycle-Park
    I think an integrated approach where bike facilities are built at same time as cycle lanes are built. It is such a great way to easily expand the catchment area of stations very cheaply. And bike parking should not be paid for unless it is very high quality. Most stations dont pay for cars, and these park cost $10,000 a space or so.

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