New BART Car Design Postponed

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Despite the outpouring of letters from our members and many comments from disability advocates and other allies in support of bicycle racks on the new BART cars, the BART Board decided last Thursday to delay their decision until the test cars can run their trial period later next year.

As a last minute agenda item, the meeting on Thursday unexpectedly included car design authorization by the BART Board. Two elements in particular required Board approval: the floor-to-ceiling poles and the on-board bicycle racks. Alternative A, which was recommended by BART staff and the BART Bicycle Advisory Taskforce, and supported by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, included one bicycle rack (to hold up to three bikes) on each train car. Advocates – particularly disability advocates – came out in large numbers to give public comment in support of the bike racks, which reduce confusion by providing a clear space for bikes and designating space for all passengers. On a related note, 79% of survey respondents at the recent BART car display found the bike rack design to be “Excellent” or “Good.”

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Despite this strong show of support for Alternative A, there were several BART Directors who preferred Alternatives B and C, which would, respectively, allow bike racks only on some cars or disallow bike racks on all cars. We are disappointed in some of the Directors for being non-responsive to public comment at their own meeting.

In the end, a new motion was put forward and passed by the BART Board of Directors that will delay the decision until additional testing occurs. There will be a ten-car prototype that will go through internal testing before it goes for a public trial between August and December 2016. At that time, the BART Board will make the final decision about the new train cars based on the testing period.

This now gives us more time to build support among the BART Board and to refine the design with stronger bicycle accommodations. To get involved and stay connected on this issue, join our Bikes on BART campaign today.

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