MTA moves to make bike-friendly improvements to transit services

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed today to provide more funding for projects that would boost the number of bicyclists who use public transit in L.A. County.

Proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the plan is to spell out in the 2011 Call for Projects that more money should go toward building bike racks and similar projects.

The declaration is aimed at encouraging cities across Los Angeles County to compete for funding from Metro by coming up with innovative proposals to integrate bicycles in their transportation network.

The motion also calls for bike-friendly improvements to the current transit system, as well as future projects.

In the short term, Metro is to develop a plan to install triple bike racks on all of its buses, and find sources of funds to retrofit its trains to accommodate bikes.

Metro must also make sure that all future transit station designs include stair channels or ramps so bicyclists can wheel their bikes safely up and down staircases, and to increase bicycle parking at high-demand stations.

The goal is to make it more convenient for people to ride a bicycle on the first and last mile of their journey, and take public transit the rest of the way.

"The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority can do better to build bike infrastructure into stations and lines and encourage ridership by incorporating bikes into long-range planning,'' Villaraigosa, who is in Washington D.C. attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayor, said in a

"Los Angeles has the ideal terrain and climate for bicycling, and I want to encourage both casual recreational cyclists and bicycle commuters to take advantage of more opportunities to get out on a bike,'' he added.