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Unlike Systems in SF, Denver, Bikes (Mostly) Banned from NY Commuter Rails for Friday Before Memorial Day, But OK on Subways

Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 06:30 AM

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) On Memorial Day weekend, bikes are allowed on the subway. In fact, they're allowed on the subway 24/7, year round, though the MTA doesn't recommend it during rush hour. But on the Long Island Railroad? Not on the Friday before memorial day weekend, so that would mean, no bikes on the commuter rail to the Hamptons tomorrow.

Bikes are okay (with a permit) on a very limited number of Metro North trains to upstate counties and Connecticut, but not in both directions, and not at peak times this holiday weekend, one of the busiest driving times of the year, according to the AAA. For the complete rules, and an explanation of why the MTA would seem to be lagging behind commuter rail systems like those in the Bay Area and Denver, which actually encourage bikes on commuter trains, look after the jump.

Subway rules here.

Commuter rail rules here:

And here's the explanation from MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan on why the MTA hasn't been able to do what, say the Cal Train does which is make multiple accommodations for cyclists, including specially designated bike cars on trains.

"The MTA makes every effort to accommodate bikes on board our trains and buses when doing so is operationally feasible and does not interfere with our ability to transport customers. All information related to bike policy is available at mta.info/bike.

"Subways: MTA New York City Transit allows bikes on board the subway 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no restrictions. We don’t believe any other subway system in the world provides this level of bicycle access. And the MTA welcomes properly folded folding bikes on all trains and buses at all times, with the exception of express buses.

"Railroads: Standard full-size bikes are welcomed aboard Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad at most times outside of rush hours and certain major travel days for customers who have a LIRR or Metro-North bike permit. (Lifetime bike permits are available for $5 and can be picked up at any ticket office.) Timetables have information about which specific trains allow or prohibit bicycles, and the bike permits outline which major travel days have bike prohibitions in effect.

"Re commuter rail bike cars: The MTA is aware that CalTrain offers bike-storage cars on its trains. Our trains are constrained by capacity. Adding cars to these trains would mean displacing seats for passengers. And acquiring special new cars for bikes would be a significant capital expense. That said, we are working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to develop and test a prototype bike rack for the new M8 cars.

Re bike parking at stations: Bike parking just outside subway stations is handled by the New York City Department of Transportation. We are delighted that NYCDOT has prioritized transit stations as locations for its CityRacks and sheltered bike parking programs. Inside many subway stations, space is constrained, unlike at some subway systems that have been built more recently. Bike parking at railroad stations has been put in place by a variety of public and private entities, including localities, MetroPool under contract to the New York State Department of Transportation, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and LAZ Parking, Metro-North’s parking operator. Bike lockers, lockable, fully-enclosed spaces where customers can park bicycles, are in place in more than 25 railroad stations. Nearly all of the other stations have bike racks in place. We’re always open to working with communities on ways to better encourage cycling to train stations as a way to help reduce the demand for car parking."

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