SMART Project Update Biking with SMART? What to Know Before Service Starts
Few people live and work within walking distance of SMART stations, but many are within a bikeable distance. The new passenger rail service has the potential to make car-free commuting much easier throughout the North Bay, though it will be crucial for SMART to make the bike-train experience as seamless and convenient as possible. With your help, MCBC and SCBC plan to monitor SMART’s performance in accommodating bicycles on trains and at stations.
In advance of SMART’s planned “soft launch” and full passenger service, here’s what you need to know about using your bicycle in tandem with the train:
Bringing Your Bike Onboard
In addition to bike hooks, SMART cars have spaces for bikes to lean against folding seats when not in use. Photo: SMART.
SMART’s train cars have space for up to 12 bikes each (24 total for the standard two car train). Some of these spaces come in the form of hanging hooks, while others run along the wall against folding seats.
When trains are crowded and seats are in high demand, spaces against the folding seats will not be reserved for bicycle storage. In these instances, people with bikes may not be allowed onto the train if all bike hooks are occupied. MCBC and SCBC plan to make a webpage available for people to report these incidents so we can monitor the extent to which SMART is accommodating bikes and making necessary adjustments.
Leaving Your Bike at the Station
Thanks to advocacy efforts from MCBC and SCBC, SMART funded and recently installed electronic bike lockers and additional bike racks at all 10 stations in the initial operating segment. To see how many lockers and racks are offered at each station, click here (note that all lockers and additional spaces have since been installed).
Lockers will cost $.05 per hour and can only be accessed by BikeLink cardholders. BikeLink is currently seeking local bike shops to provide physical vendor locations for their cards. In the meantime, you can order your BikeLink card through their website.
Using Bike Share
Bike share in San Francisco. Photo: CBS Bay Area.
The Transportation Authority of Marin and its Sonoma County counterpart are jointly applying for a $1m regional grant to purchase bicycles and install infrastructure needed to run a bike share program. If approved, the system would launch sometime in 2018 or 2019 and likely include 100 bicycles across the two counties, with docking stations located at SMART stations and nearby employment centers or downtown areas.
What About the Pathway?
MCBC continues to advocate for the SMART Pathway to be built as quickly as possible, with our highest priority being the 2nd to Andersen segment between Downtown San Rafael and Cal Park Hill Tunnel. We’ve covered the recent progress on the 2nd to Anderson Pathway in this article, and have published an update detailing the status of the entire SMART Pathway project in this story.