Kramer Station gets new bike parking

Capital Metro has been pleased to see a fairly constant increase in train ridership over this past year.  Growing ridership on the trains includes cyclists who transport their bikes on the train and then use them to connect to their origin and/or destination, sometimes resulting in crowding.  Capital Metro wants to accommodate the needs of cyclists while providing optimum services to our other passengers as well, so we are taking steps to address cyclists’ needs in a variety of ways.

1) We are looking at first/last mile opportunities to help cyclists and other passengers to connect to/from the trains. A first mile/last mile survey will soon be posted on our website.  The survey will be available through November 2011, and we welcome your participation! We will alert readers when the survey is available.

new bike parking at Kramer Station
Capital Metro recently installed new bike parking at Kramer Station.

2) We recently installed new bike racks at Kramer Station, south of the platform.  This station has consistently had the highest volume of bikes since the train opened.  Racks are added to stations/stops as part of an ongoing process.

3) Mid-2012, Kramer Station will have a fully-enclosed bike storage facility north of the platform.  It will provide protection from the weather and an added layer of security for bicycle parking, offering another option to cyclists that may be traveling with their bikes on the trains.  Secured storage is planned at other transit stations subject to grant funding.

4) Finally, we are evaluating bus connections, working with car2go to provide parking near the train stations, and supporting the city of Austin’s evaluation of bike-share program options.

We hope that these and other efforts will welcome bicyclists to use the train and the buses, and increase the comfort and convenience for everyone who wants to take advantage of public transit. Thank you for riding Capital Metro! And if you haven’t yet, give it a try!

40 thoughts on “Kramer Station gets new bike parking

  1. The bike sharing idea sounds like a good first/last mile conncetor program that could work. Denver has B-Cycle at a number of light rail stations as well as their downtown transit center and seems to work pretty well for them.

  2. Good lines don’t worry so much about first-mile, and worry hardly at all about last-mile. The fact that the Red Line needs to worry about it so much is the reason why ridership, even at all-day service levels, is 1700 boardings/day instead of 30,000 boardings/day.

    You can’t fix a bad route, and you can’t build from a bad start.

      1. 30,000 boardings/day is what the 2000 light rail route would have had, easily. This commuter rail line, which Capital Metro has conflated with light rail during its entire genesis whenever it suited them to do so, has forever precluded that from being built; and it’s now running all day (and Capital Metro assured us back in 2004 that once it ran all day, it could approach light-rail-like ridership).

          1. There’s really only about 15 major light rail systems IN this country. And, yes, the Feds rated ours hitting that target, easily.

            We can’t build that anymore because the Red Line is on its intended right-of-way from Lamar/Airport further northwest. Do you need a refresher on what the 2000 proposal actually was? If so, you could ask for one far more nicely than you’ve apparently done so here.

          2. Matt

            >>And, yes, the Feds rated ours hitting that target, easily.

            Eventually. After like 25 years of operation:

            http://www.fta.dot.gov/publications/reports/reports_to_congress/planning_environment_2915.html

            Unless you’ve got a better source that shows a ~30,000 estimate 2 years after opening (so that we’re doing an apples to apples comparison). If you think you can even believe that estimate.

            >>Do you need a refresher on what the 2000 proposal actually was? If so, you could ask for one far more nicely than you’ve apparently done so here.

            No thank you, I’m aware of the proposal. Do you need a refresher on the definition of the word “forever”? Or is there some unique aspect in the construction of the redline tracks that makes them impossible to remove and upgrade to a light rail system at some future point?

          3. Matt, that’s one of many ridership estimates released for the 2000 proposal. My 30,000 in first year is actually on the low-end based on what we’ve seen in similar systems that have opened up since then. Here’s another one:

            http://www.lightrailnow.org/features/f_000001.htm

            “Capital Metro’s starter line is projected to carry over 32,000 daily person-trips, with peak ridership enough to eliminate the need for approximately 4 freeway lanes.”

            As for “forever”; we know the Red Line won’t be torn up. Mistakes like that are forever. For any useful definition of the word.

            If your interest was pedantry rather than something more productive, let me know more quickly next time please.

          4. Matt

            You said you had a Federal estimate of 30,000. The only one I found was 25 years off (so comparing it to the first years of the red line is a bit unfair). Your next link above is from a light rail cheerleader site, so at a minimum it may be possibly biased. And even then it’s not explicit as to whether that’s the first year ridership or the same 25 years later numbers.

            As for the existence of the Red line keeping a light-rail system from being created:

            1. You still provide no actual evidence of that being the case, other than some vague appeal to bureaucratic inertia. My argument is that with the minimal capital investment that has gone into the red line so far, if the need (and the huge amount of money required) arose to replace it, it could be done. All that’s required is to pull out the lines that they would have had to pull out anyway for the 2000 plan.

            2. The section in question (in the middle of the Crestview/Wooten neighborhoods between Lamar and 183) where the right of way is narrow is a bad spot to run a light-rail line anyway. It’s all single family residential. There’s no mixed-use, minimal commercial, and no room to build new. If the money for light-rail was made available, continuing up lamar from that point would be a better route anyway (more commercial, more multi-unit residential, more room for redevelopment).

            3. Even if the 2000 plan had passed, I have doubts that this section would have been open and running anytime soon. In addition to the high probability of cost overruns (which may have left the system with the downtown portion completed but not the fringes), there’s still the outstanding question of the freight traffice cap metro is legally required to run on that line (which is one of the factors preventing the full success of the red line).

          5. Matt, I REALLY don’t have time to give this the response it deserves. But light rail would have been open a few years ago by now, and the important part about running on the Red Line ROW was to hit the park-and-rides AND all the major urban core residential density and destinations. IE, people could (would) ride from Lakeline to work/shop at Heart Hospital/Central Market, or UT. People would get on the line outside the Triangle and ride to the actual front door of UT. Etc.

          6. Matt

            >>people could (would) ride from Lakeline to work/shop at Heart Hospital/Central Market, or UT.

            But in the 2000 plan, the rail didn’t make it out to Lakeline (at least in the initial phase). It stopped at McNeil.

            >>People would get on the line outside the Triangle and ride to the actual front door of UT

            And they still could, as this section of the 2000 light-rail plan isn’t in conflict with the red line.

          7. Matt, the section on the Drag cannot justify the disruption of taking a lane for the urban passengers (plus whichever suburban passengers would be willing to transfer). I’ve made that clear on numerous occasions in the past – and that is the main reason why the city’s urban rail plan stays clear of Guadalupe despite it being what everybody else in the country recognizes as the top rail corridor bar none.

          8. Matt

            If the light-rail system couldn’t stand on it’s own without that extension, I fail to see how the minimal number of additional passengers it would have gained from that suburban spur would have made an appreciable difference. As noted on the FTA page: “Densities are highest around the eight stations in the CBD and UT area, while the northernmost two station areas are largely undeveloped. Currently, only minimal development exists along the northern portion of the MOS between McNeil Road and Howard Lane. “

          9. Matt, the light rail system from downtown to Airport/Lamar can’t stand on its own because the disruption required to give it its own lane on Guadalupe, especially between 26th and 30th, is so extreme that only the highest possible levels of ridership would justify doing so. But without having its own lane, ridership would be even lower – because traffic congestion during peak hours on this stretch of Guadalupe is particularly bad.

            I’m tiring of the requirement to produce homework for you. I’ve worked on this since before 2000 – the 2000 system would have produced a lot more suburban riders than the Red Line has done because a huge number of people could have ridden from those suburban park-and-rides directly to their offices or class buildings without needing to transfer to a shuttle-bus. The transfer to the shuttle-bus turns off most people who have other options – as seen in the paper I posted further down the thread.

            So the Red Line lost 100% of the urban passengers and perhaps 80% of the potential suburban passengers of the 2000 proposal. Get it?

          10. Matt

            >>Matt, the light rail system from downtown to Airport/Lamar can’t stand on its own because the disruption required to give it its own lane on Guadalupe, especially between 26th and 30th, is so extreme that only the highest possible levels of ridership would justify doing so.

            If ridership isn’t high enough with urban riders, the much smaller number of suburban riders the system would gain with the spur over the cap metro right of way won’t help very much. If more riders are needed, the logical response is to extend the system along a corrider of higher density (and higher mass-transit usage) further north along Lamar.

            >>I’m tiring of the requirement to produce homework for you.
            Then stop making unsupported/unsubstantiated claims.

            >>I’ve worked on this since before 2000 – the 2000 system would have produced a lot more suburban riders than the Red Line has done because a huge number of people could have ridden from those suburban park-and-rides directly to their offices or class buildings without needing to transfer to a shuttle-bus.
            And what’s the support for this claim of huge numbers of suburban riders? The FTA document itself notes that the northern portion of the original plan is largely undeveloped.

            >>So the Red Line lost 100% of the urban passengers and perhaps 80% of the potential suburban passengers of the 2000 proposal. Get it?

            It didn’t lose it, it never had it to begin with. They are two different systems serving two completely different use cases and needs (while being complementary if a light-rail system is eventually put in place, as most successful light-rails have connectivity with commuter rails).

          11. Matt, I really don’t have time for this – you’re going to have to forgive me for making “unsubstantiated claims” based on working on this issue since before 2000 – I don’t have hours to waste here, unlike Cap Metro’s paid PR folks.

            The 2000 route had such high ridership #s because suburbanites would drive to the park-and-rides in order to take a train straight to their office. Nobody (not me) ever claimed the areas around those park and rides were highly developed. Clearly, though, far more people would have ridden that line without the shuttle-bus transfer requirement.

            Again, my estimate is that 80% of the projected 2000 ridership from the suburbs was lost due to the fact that they didn’t want to ride the bus in the first place (or they’d already be taking the fairly good express buses straight to their office), and 100% of the 2000 projected urban ridership was lost due to the fact that it doesn’t make sense to take a bus to the Red Line and take a bus back to your destination when you already have bus service straight there. Period.

            And a new light rail line running up Guadalupe/Lamar cannot justify taking away vehicle lanes on this stretch (one part was so bad it would have resulted in one-way car/bus traffic only in one lane only on Guadalupe) for the smaller projected ridership it would get compared to 2000. Period. And without running in its own lane, it isn’t worth doing – the corridor is so congested that it would be a disaster. Period. Again, this is why the city isn’t trying to go there with urban rail!

            You can choose to believe the same people who were wrong all this time, or the guy who was right. Your decision. I will not accept homework from a person I don’t know who hasn’t been here the whole time – again, this is something I can spend 5 minutes a day on – not the 8 hours a day Cap Metro’s paid PR guys can and do spend.

          12. Matt

            >>And a new light rail line running up Guadalupe/Lamar cannot justify taking away vehicle lanes on this stretch (one part was so bad it would have resulted in one-way car/bus traffic only in one lane only on Guadalupe) for the smaller projected ridership it would get compared to 2000.

            Okay, I’ll humor you and use your numbers (even though as far as I can tell, they’re complete WAGs). You think that the current red-line ridership (~1700) is 20% of what the suburban ridership of the 2000 light rail would have been (or at least that’s my interpretation of your claim that it “lost” 80%). So in that case, the expected suburban ridership of the 2000 plan (what is lost by not having the spur in the cap metro right of way through the neighborhoods northwest of airport and lamar) is 8500. So in order to construct a system of equal viablility to the 2000 plan (but without using the right of way now allocated to the red line), 8500 additional urban riders have to be found somewhere else.
            The current ridership on 1L/1M/101 is 17500 (source: http://www.capmetro.org/docs/MetroRapid_Board_Cmte_Update_May_2011.pdf ). If instead of extending the light rail northwest from airport and Lamar as in the 2000 plan, it was instead extended north along Lamar from this point, it should capture a significant portion of these riders, possibly enough to recapture the ~8500 you claim are necessary for the viability of the system. And that doesn’t even count:

            1. Additional riders that could transfer onto the light rail from the red line (for instance, at airport/lamar).

            2. 8500 seems like an awfully large number of suburban riders (basically a third of the total ridership estimation), as compared to the total number of intra-urban riders.

  3. Bravo! Great move and hoping that this will also ease on the bike congestion that has become more of a problem on the trains! I also think the bike share partnership idea would be great for Austin and CapMetro.

  4. I am getting real tired of hearing this constant criticism of this rail line. While I may tend to agree that the line does run in an awkward location and doesn’t directly connect the major employment centers, I think it’s time we get past this and try and do what we can to make this work better. Most light rail systems do have to address the first/last mile connections and I applaud Capital Metro’s efforts to look at alternatives like car and bike sharing.

    1. Paul, you’re incorrect. Most light rail systems do not have to address the last mile connections problem, because the whole point of light rail is to run where the people want to go rather than requiring most people to transfer.

      This line can’t be ‘fixed’. It fundamentally can’t be made to ‘work better’. Every dollar invested in it is taking us further down a dead-end; when the city’s urban rail plan, flawed as it is, actually has some chance of eventually carrying non-trivial numbers of people but will die for lack of funds.

  5. Well Mike, I am not sure where you get your information from. Can you even tell me how many light rail systems there are in the US? I spent six years of my career developing an integrated bus/rail system in Dallas back in 1996 when the system started. I had to develop a system of feeder and shuttle routes that feed into rail lines and even developed a series of guidelines on when to and when not to divert routes. Without these routes, many of which still exist to this day, the systen would not be as successful as it now is. Since the lines started, there have been many transit oriented developments around stations that have provided additional ridership to the system but the feeder routes are still a very important component of the system.

    Only three so-called legacy light rail systems, which is defined as systems built prior to 1980, have sufficient density to operate without a major feeder component. Every system built since 1980 has a signficant feeder bus component.

    1. Paul, notice in my comment I left out “first mile”. Go back and read it again.

      The key difference between this abomination (and its model, Tri-Rail in South Florida) and rail lines that are actually successful is that it doesn’t go within walking distance of enough good destinations. People can and do take the bus TO the train in the morning, but taking a bus from the train to their office is another story (as we’ve seen by the cancellation of the rail shuttles – which weren’t being used).

      1. I stated it the way I did because the first mile going one direction usually ends up in the last mile in the reverse direction. So quite frankly I don’t care how you define it.

        I wish you would better define what your defintion of success is. Do you consider Dallas a failure? As I mentioned before, while Dallas has done a good job on encouraging transit oriented development since rail started, it still relies a lot on shuttles/feeder bus routes and park & ride for its ridership.

        The biggest problem with this line is not so much the location of the line as much as it is with the speed of the train itself. There are places on the line where you would think the speed could be faster. If the trains could be speeded up and the overall travel time including a shuttle trip could be decreased by a significant amount, then you would find ridership would be better even if a shuttle ride was included. The shuttles failed because of the overall travel time not the location.

        You also cite Tri-Rail in South Florida. I would argue differently that it did succeed in providing a transportation alternative during the I-95 reconstruction project. When the project ended, the rail line continued because of the good ridership numbers that it achieved despite the need for shuttles and park & ride lots. Now the system is expanding and creating better connections to the airport and downtown Miami. So I am not sure why you would consider that system an “abomination”.

        1. First-mile usually means to the train from home; that’s the method I was using. Taking a bus from home to train is, for whatever reason, not as much of an impediment to ridership as taking a bus from the train to the office (actually, I know why – but your attitude makes it clear you won’t agree). Dallas doesn’t require that nearly all passengers transfer to shuttle buses to get to their offices the way we do with the Red Line (or did, until we cancelled most of the shuttles because they weren’t being used).

          Tri-Rail is a disaster – 20 years after construction it has not achieved ridership projections; and has sucked all the air supply out of rail transit in the region since it was built – in an area with people that desperately wanted rail transit to begin with (transplants from the NE make up a large part of that population).

          “better connections” is code for “more shuttle buses”. And, no, it never achieved “good ridership numbers”. Where on earth did you get that idea? It was nearly cancelled within the last couple of years.

  6. I read the ongoing debate between Mike Dahmus and Paul McGregor with interest, and have a few observations of mine to make.
    First of all, I have not used it, but heard from many users that Dallas light rail is a success! I do have comparative viewpoints from using public transport in Washington DC, New York, Portland, Denver, Houston (!)..and that’s only in the US.
    I have to say Mike’s portrayal of ‘abomination’ is closer to the truth than Paul’s rosy outlook.. after using Capmetro for 4 years commuting to work..read on for more details.
    Paul’s comment ‘The shuttles failed because of the overall travel time not the location. ‘ is only one small reason. A reason that carries more weight, in my opinion, is that the shuttles did not add value by serving some target employers. Case in point, the UT shuttle service has sufficient ridership to continue, because it serves a large employer, that could not otherwise be reached (easily) from the MLK station, hence the value added. The downtown shuttles were doomed from the start, the employers they aimed to serve were 2-3 blocks away. I walked 3 blocks faster than the bus would take me there – this is not a casual statement, but based on observation – because the shuttle waited for people to load. There were several that biked that extra 2-3 blocks.

    This is a good place to segue to my experience – Prior to Capmetro Red Line service starting, I had been commuting for 3 years from Northwest Austin to my employer in the corner of St.Elmo and Freidrich (I-35 and Ben White in south Austin, for general audience) – the whole trip was 1.5 hours in the morning and slightly more in the evening. Considering Capmetro’s appalling north-south connectivity, 1.5 hours is not bad – but it bothered me, specially in the evening, when I just wanted to get home. I eagerly waited Capmetro’s light rail to open up, because that would shave off 15 minutes of my trip that the 982/983 spends crawling through UT campus area – and then there would be shuttle buses waiting to whisk me away to my employer –surely they must serve some of the South Austin employers in the Industrial Park that employs thousands of people….What a disappointment, the ‘crippled schedule’ light rail that opened up catered only to downtown employers — I still had to rely on Route # 7 to take me the final 5 miles, entirely within the range of a shuttle bus. Not only that, if I worked beyond 5:45 PM, I had no train service back home….Wait a few months, and Capmetro improves their service further…a ‘crippler schedule’ is released, which eliminates the 6:05 PM northbound Red Line service, and to add to inconveniences Capital Metro adjusts the Route # 7 timings (every 6 months) to botch up my “connections” to the train. I wouldn’t have to fight this schedule rearrangement every 6 months if there were actual connecting shuttles straight to the railway station, but that would be out of the league mental agility for Capmetro’s pedestrian thinktank. Anyway, the long and short of that is I am back to my old 982/983 instead of the train, to cover the downtown-northwest sector, hoping one day Capmetro will self-extinguish by virtue of its own doings, and a better company will take over…we are supposed to be all about choice / competition in the US, why not in the field of public transport?

    So yes, Capmetro has abominable service, in general, barring a few bright spots in the Northwest sector.

    For those who get the urge to chime in with the inevitable suggestions about ‘move closer to work’ – thanks, but no thanks – I love my neighborhood, and my choice employers happen to have been in South Austin, I wouldn’t change that.

    1. parker, appreciate the kind words but the fact is that the shuttles weren’t designed to serve those within 2-3 blocks – they were designed to serve the overwhelming majority of downtown office buildings which are FARTHER away than that.

      2-3 blocks is generally considered by all to be short enough that the walk wouldn’t turn off many potential customers. The problem is that the Red Line is within 2-3 blocks of essentially zero major employment centers. The UT shuttles are ‘full’ – but aren’t even carrying as many people to UT as the express buses are – if the shuttle (and required transfer) weren’t a turn off, the express buses would have depopulated of their own accord rather than having to be gradually killed by Cap Metro.

      1. and the fact was that downtown workers further than 2-3 blocks away simply didn’t want to ride at all – while UT has such comparably worse parking availability for its employees that there are some willing to ride the shuttles – although, again, nowhere near as many as ride the express buses from the same stations!

  7. erik

    The bike congestion problem has ZERO to do with a lack of places to lock up. But, speaking of, where are the bike lockers that we were promised?

  8. Pingback: Where did the missing 2000 riders go? | M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile

    1. Matt

      >>”assured us that the Red Line would be “as good as light rail” once it ran all day”

      What’s your source on this? The commuter rail cost ~$100 million. Light rail costs Billions. Obviously there’s going to be a difference in capability.

      >>”compared to the 25-30K mediocre light rail lines that run all day are pulling”

      As I noted above, 25-30K isn’t “mediocre” light rail lines. It’s in the range of top 15 systems. And most of those lines are in much larger cities, have many more miles of track, have been operating for more than just a couple of years, or all of the above.

      (oh, and most of those in the top 15 have connectivity to a commuter rail line).

      >>”and that the 2000 light rail route would easily have pulled”

      Not in the first couple of years it wouldn’t. You’re comparing the red line numbers a couple of years from opening to the 25 year estimate of the light rail.

      Your whole post is a strawman. No one every claimed that the red line would have the same ridership numbers as the light rail system. It physically can’t, there’s not enough carrying capacity in the system.

      1. Are you calling me a liar? Or just giving me more homework?

        I’ve been working this issue since before 2000. In 2004, Capital Metro claimed that if they ran trains all day on this POS, it would be as good as light rail. Period. My source? My ears. They came to us at the UTC and told us that. They also told the public that in the media. They told people it was ‘urban’ and in some other materials made claims that once they got frequencies and running times up, it’d carry five digits per day.

        They are now running trains all day (not at light-rail like frequencies, but getting closer) and ridership only now approaches the original projections for peak-hour-only service, after they killed some of the better express bus competition.

        25k boardings/day is mediocre. Seattle, for instance. Disappointing to locals.

        1. Matt

          >>Are you calling me a liar? Or just giving me more homework?

          Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or at least some sort of evidence. And I’d call an expectation that a system one tenth the price would have the same number of riders somewhat extraordinary. A link? A Statesman story with quotes? something?

          >>They are now running trains all day (not at light-rail like frequencies, but getting closer)

          Not even close. The 2000 plan called for 10 minute intervals peak, 20 off-peak. And while they may be running “all day”(time) (with dead times of up to an hour), they definitely aren’t running at all hours of the day. From the schedule, it looks like they’re up to 16 runs per day (in a given direction). That’s less than 3 peak hours of the light-rail schedule.

          >>in some other materials made claims that once they got frequencies and running times up, it’d carry five digits per day.
          Link to such materials? And I’d hardly call adding a couple more mid-day runs (all they’ve added so far) getting the “frequencies and running times up”.

        2. Matt

          Let’s look at this from the other direction. The vehicles used by the red line have a capacity of 200, including standing room only (source: wikipedia), and from cap metro’s schedule it looks like they’re running about 16 runs each way per day. So even if it was running at basically 100% capacity, with the cars 100% full all the time (unlikely, as Americans like their personal space), and off-peak runs as full as rush hour (never going to happen in a real system), the most riders you’d see per day is ~6400. That’s not the actual physical maximum (as you could have a rider get off a full car at a midpoint, and someone else gets on to take their seat), but this hypothetical situation is already past the limit of credulity and I think I’ve made my point.

          In no possible scenario would you expect the red line (in it’s current configuration, with the current number of cars and runs, with the single track) to ever approach the estimated usage of the light-rail and be “as good as” it. It’s just not physically possible, even if there were end stations directly in front of everyone’s workplace.

          Homework enough for you?

  9. Randall Parry

    Why aren’t Cap Metro’s paid PR people, who don’t know jack s_ by the way, identified on this blog as part of the funded bureaucracy? Matt seems to spit out a lot of words but he doesn’t seem to know much or say much.

    1. Matt

      Are you implying that I’m paid by Cap metro? Not in the slightest.

      “he doesn’t seem to know much or say much”
      Can you point to any factual errors in my numbers or calculations above?

      1. Erik

        Matt’s numbers add up. If we had 100% full 100% of the time and everyone paid for a 31-day pass, that represents 409k/mo. or 4.9 million/yr. Of course that’s not realistic and will never be achievable.

  10. Pingback: Rapid [sic] Bus Fact Check: Will It Improve Frequency? – M1EK's Bake-Sale of Bile

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