When SEPTA released their cycle-transit plan earlier this year, we applauded the Authority for “successfully outlining a strategy that will move the agency in a positive direction.” And now that SEPTA’s $1.3 billion budget has officially been approved, we’re happy to report that $3 million has been set aside to implement at least part of that plan over the next three years—specifically, the installation of new bike shelters at select SEPTA Regional Rail stations.
According to SEPTA’s official budget released on Thursday, May 28, $300 million in vehicle purchases and construction projects were authorized; $1.36 billion in operating costs and a $535 million capital budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015. As per SEPTA’s capital budget:
Installation of new bicycle parking shelters at select Regional Rail stations across the SEPTA service area. Installation will consist of constructing a concrete footing and slab for a pre-cast fabricated structure and bicycle parking racks. This project will initially be advanced as a three-year, phased program providing bicycle parking shelters at 15 Regional Rail stations per year. The addition of bicycle parking shelters will improve bicycle access and security at SEPTA Regional Rail stations, encouraging more customers to bike rather than drive. This will increase the size of the car-free commuter-shed for the affected stations, allowing more customers to use SEPTA without a personal car or additional bus ride.
We’re a bit disappointed the official plan doesn’t include a bike station on South Broad Street in Philadelphia, which was mentioned as an idea in the cycle-transit plan. As we noted in our original blog analyzing SEPTA’s plan, “developing context-sensitive bicycle infrastructure—i.e., bike racks, and protected ones, inside and at SEPTA stations” was one of our favorite things SEPTA was thinking about, and could have long-lasting effects on the number of bicyclists in Center City:
Specifically, we’d like to see bike cages (similar to what Boston’s Mass Transit system has developed) inside Suburban Station, the South Broad Concourse and 30th Street Station and high-quality sheltered bike parking at Regional Rail stations, as identified here. Better bike parking will encourage more people to use their bike to commute to a SEPTA station without having to worry about thieves or inclement weather.
A SEPTA official tells us that which stations the Authority intends to equip, though, will not be made official until Fiscal year 2016 (which begins in July). We’re also told that although the budget is what it is for now, “nothing is off the table” including a South Broad Concourse bike cage.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to do, we think. After all, PATCO has already put some simple bike parking in their Philadelphia stations, as evidenced here:
Fifteen stations per year is no small feat, but we feel an enclosed, safe bike station in the Broad Street concourse would increase SEPTA and bicycle ridership in the city by both inviting cyclists to use both forms of transit, and allowing us all to leave our bikes in a safe, secure location.