Powered by our membership, your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has had a long history of pushing Caltrain to do better at making their service accessible and accommodating for people who bike.
When the Caltrain Board of Directors debated the guidelines for the design of new train cars that would come with electrified service in 2021, our members spoke up and pushed the agency for more ambitious goals. In the end, Caltrain passengers won as the board approved more bike-friendly guidelines.
Over the last several months, we have been encouraging our members to engage in Caltrain’s public planning process as staff looked to meet the goals set out by their board. Unfortunately, the process has been imperfect and often lacked transparency, which is why we joined with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to express our concerns in a letter to Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett. Our letter details our concerns regarding the planning and decision-making process along with issues based on the final preferred design for electrified train cars.
“In hindsight, it feels like Caltrain staff came to the car layout discussion with a fixed design in mind and really only sought feedback for a few minor details,” said SF Bicycle Coalition member Cliff Bargar, who serves on Caltrain’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. “Without adequate transparency from Caltrain it was difficult for those of us on the committee to advocate for the needs and perspectives of Caltrain customers who access the train by bicycle.” ”
As Shirley Johnson, another member and a longtime advocate for bikes and transit added, “The ability to bring bikes on trains allows [Caltrain] passengers to leave their cars at home (or live car-free). The economic benefits for transit agencies are real and significant.”
Ultimately, we know that it will take continued pressure to ensure that Caltrain continues to be responsive to the needs of current and future ridership. As we mount our next push, we need your help to support Caltrain in pursuing every avenue to substantially increase capacity further by running longer trains with more bike space per trainset. Join our mailing list and be another powerful voice in this campaign.