Photo by dbking.

Metro is beginning a study to examine bicycle and pedestrian accessibility to rail stations. Many of the stations were originally designed around commuter park-and-ride use, but more recently, more and more people are biking, walking, and riding the bus to stations. The study will formulate recommendations for improving bike and pedestrian access as well as facilities like bicycle parking and lockers.

According to a presentation given to the Riders’ Advisory Council last night, between 2002 and 2007, bicycling to Metro stations increased 60%, and walking increased 18%. Bus ridership as a method of reaching rail stations also grew substantially, with 22% more people taking Metrobus to the station and 35% more taking other local buses.

Bicycling remains the least common mode, but it is quickly catching up to ride sharing, which declined 5% over the same time period. Park and ride was the most popular in 2002, but declined 1% by 2007 while Metrorail trips in the morning peak increased 11%, and walking took the top spot.

Metro will look at the bicycle racks on buses (which can hold two bikes), the system’s 1,660 racks, and the 1,280 key operated lockers. Right now riders can only rent lockers on an annual basis, and there is a long waiting list at many stations, but according to Metro’s Thomas Harrington, they will explore whether to also allow daily rentals. The study will identify missing links for bicycles and pedestrians to reach stations around the system. Metro can then work with local jurisdictions to improve that access, as they recently did by giving Montgomery County permission to build a bicycle path to Shady Grove.

A big part of the study is collecting suggestions from riders. What do you think Metro should do to improve bicycle or pedestrian access to the rail system? How could they improve racks, lockers or other facilities?

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Surface Transit. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions here are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.