Sunday, December 21, 2008

We've failed to get bike racks on trains; this is the end-game

For over a year, BikeHouston and Citizens Transportation have worked to get bike racks installed on the coming METRO light rail trains, which would've made bikes + light rail an unbeatable intermodal combo.

Despite letters from Judge Ed Emmett, all four Republican and Democratic Harris County Commissioners, and other public officials, METRO is going to place orders for the new trains on Christmas Eve 2008... without any in-cabin racks for bicycle. Our contact at the FTA, the funding agency for the trains, is extremely concerned, but FTA cannot compel METRO to order trains with bike racks.

It looks like we've failed at this point.

If the cycling community cares enough about this, then you can make one final effort on Monday or Tuesday next week. Call METRO CEO Frank J. Wilson's office at (713) 739-4832. Don't send an email. Make someone pick up the phone and spend the energy to talk to you. Also call the VP of Procurement, Paul Como, at (713) 739-4887. Tell him to not order the trains without bike racks.

The agency which has just put racks on its trains, Phoenix, goes live with its trains on December 27, 2008. We put a picture of their equipment on this blog. I'm happy for them, and I'm disappointed that we have such entrenched and unresponsive people in charge of our public transit agency. But, I'm not the only person to make that observation; just go to any METRO board meeting, and listen to the public complaints.

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