Your Comments Needed by 9/19! Comments Needed: SMART’s Bike Parking Plan Falls Short

MCBC and SCBC Call for Action:
Your Comments Needed Monday, September 19 – see contact info at end of this article

With SMART’s passenger service just around the corner, bicycle parking facilities at the new train stations are lacking in quality and quantity.

SMART recently released the SMART Stations’ Bicycle Parking Investment Plan, a framework that forecasts bicycle parking demand in order to determine how much and what types of bicycle parking to install at each station. The plan’s baseline bicycle parking recommendations – which were informed by extensive public outreach and ridership analysis – heavily outweigh what has been installed at stations thus far.

With only a handful of bike racks currently in the ground at SMART stations, MCBC and the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition (SCBC) have partnered to ask that SMART fulfills the plan’s recommendations before public operations begin later this year.

bike parking types

SMART’s Bicycle Parking Investment Plan calls for short-term options in the form of inverted u-racks (left – MCBC) and long-term options in the form of e-lockers (middle –, and bike stations (right –

SMART’s Bicycle Parking Plan calls for a mix of inverted u-racks, e-lockers, and bicycle stations, with the number of racks and degree of safety varying by the amount of bicycle demand expected at each station. In Marin County, bicycle parking demand is anticipated to be highest at the Downtown San Rafael and Larkspur stations.

It is important to note that the recommendations made within the plan come well after SMART’s station design process, which concluded in 2015. Thus, the number and type of bicycle parking facilities reflected in the plan’s baseline recommendations will not necessarily be installed when service begins.

Based on SMART’s station designs, here’s what’s currently installed, compared with what’s in the plan:

smart bike parking (1)

Station tiers were assigned in the Bicycle Parking Investment Plan based on bicycle demand forecasts, with Tier 3 stations expected to generate the highest ridership. Numbers cited in the 65% Station Design columns are based on MCBC staff’s interpretation of the station design drawings provided on SMART’s website. Station designs for the Sonoma County Airport and Novato Downtown stations were not yet available.

As shown in the table above, no e-lockers or bike stations have been installed with service looming only a few months away. The biggest deficit in bicycle parking is at the San Rafael Downtown station, where recommendations call for ten inverted u-racks and a bike station – totaling 80 spaces, some 70 more than SMART has installed. Only Novato Hamilton is set to meet the plan’s baseline parking recommendations.

SMART indicated that it will take an adaptive approach to managing bicycle parking supply at the stations and work to address bicycle parking shortages as they arise. MCBC will closely track this commitment and support city, business, or SMART-led efforts to implement more robust bicycle parking options at or near stations. MCBC will continue to engage members to identify areas of need, both in terms of bike parking supply and security.

This week, MCBC and SCBC submitted a joint letter outlining the organizations’ desire for SMART to 1) install the plan’s recommended baseline bike parking supply before revenue service begins, 2) develop a set of adaptive management strategies specifying how SMART will evaluate and respond to inadequacies in bike parking supply and security, 3) commit to a timeline for funding and installation of long-term bike parking facilities, such as e-lockers and bike stations, and 4) engage neighboring property owners–including cities–to increase bike parking supply and/or security near stations.

To provide feedback on the plan:

Comments can be sent directly to Senior Planner Linda Meckel via email at  

UPDATE: New deadline for your comments: 5 PM on Monday, September 19. 

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