BART's bike pilot program to end Aug. 31

Arian Solberg uses his laptop with his foldable bicycle during his commute to the East Bay Aug. 27, 2012. The BART bicycle pilot program ends Aug. 31. Photo by Tearsa Joy Hammock.

Many Bay Area commuters will be relieved to see the BART bicycle pilot program ends Aug. 31, while others believe the program could support cyclists and the environment.

Throughout August, BART conducted a pilot program that lifted the restriction of bringing bicycles on board during commuting hours each Friday of the month. However, the usual restrictions regarding bicycles on crowded trains and in aisles or doorways remained in place during the pilot program.

“We wanted to remove the restrictions in a controlled way and find out what everyone thinks,” BART spokesperson Jim Allison said.

BART designed the bicycle pilot program to see how traffic and commuters are affected by bicycles on board, especially during heavy commuting hours, according to Allison. August was chosen for the program due to lighter summer traffic.

According to Allison, the motivation for the program started a year ago when Grace Crunican was appointed general manager of San Francisco BART. Crunican wanted to look into lifting bicycle restrictions since it was an issue that was frequently brought up by commuters.

As a result, BART teamed up with both the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and East Bay Bicycle Coalition to design a pilot program that would help bicyclists commute.

“I’m from Chicago so I think it’s good. It helps people with commuting and cutting down on pollution,” Cornel Buckner, a BART commuter, said.

Buckner said it hasn’t affected his commute and doesn’t mind sharing a car with cyclists. However, not all commuters agree.

Pema Guyalpo commutes on BART almost every day. He said it’s difficult traveling with bicycles on board because they tend to block doorways.

“The bikes make it very crowded. The cyclists are angry and the commuters are angry,” Guyalpo said.

The agency had already received approximately 3,000 comments by the third Friday of August through the BART website.

“We are encouraging people to do the survey,” Allison said.

The surveys will be calculated by BART’s research team and they expect to have completed evaluations sometime in November, according to Allison.

As of Sept. 1, the agency will go back to enforcing its bicycle restrictions during heavy commute hours.