Combining public transit and bicycling is a great way to travel. Public transit is great for medium to long trips, bicycling is perfect for shorter trips and when you combine them, you have all of your trips covered. This is such a successful pairing that there are often too many bicyclists trying to get on the bus or train. As one piece of the solution, on August 6, 2012 Capital Metro will open the first of many MetroBike Shelters at the Kramer Station on the Red Line. The shelter will be secure and can only be accessed by members via a key card. The shelter will be available to members 24 hours a day and membership for the first year costs only $30. CapMetro opened registration in late July and will accept the first 50 applications. Commuters will now be able to ride their bike to the Kramer Station and hop on the train into Downtown without worrying about lugging their bike on the train or finding secure parking when they get into work. You can sign up here for your pass. Five additional locations are planned for the future including: the Tech Ridge Park & Ride, MLK Station, Saltillo Station and more.
It is well knownthat providing convenient and secure bike parking will increase the number of people biking to work. When riders feel safe leaving their bike for the day they are more inclined to ride into work. Building secure parking facilities at each of the Red Line stations is a great place to start.
Research has also shown that secure parking can increase the perception of safety and actual safety for bicycles by reducing theft and also increasing bicycle commuting and use of public transit. Even more so, combining end of trip bicycle facilities (showers, lockers, changing areas) with secured parking, is a great way to increase bicycle commuting. A recent study shows that commuters with these facilities at their workplace were almost 5 times more likely to bike than those that didn’t have the facilities at work.
Future of transit-bicycle integration
Expecting all employers, large and small, to build showers and locker facilities is a tall order. However, if Capital Metro wanted to take that next step in bicycle-transit integration, they could build a high-profile transit center in downtown, near the Red Line. The Transit Center could have serious bicycle parking, repair stations, shower and changing facilities. Movability Austin discussed placing bicycle showers and lockers in the unused Convention Center parking only to discover management is hesitant to make any long-term commitments until the litigation of that property is resolved. We will continue to work with the City, Cap Metro, DAA and other stakeholders to look for bike/transit station options downtown.