BTA was recently provided with statistics on bike shelter usage which indicated:
The waiting list is currently an artificial constraint due to some software and hardware issues that prevents more than 100 registrations per site. A solution to this is being progressed as quickly as possible. The Public Transport Authority is not aware of any instance where a bicycle parking shelter has been full and a person unable to park a bicycle.
I have a full-time job so it makes it difficult to get out during office hours to see what it is like at train stations, but was fortunate to recently have a day off, so I visited Greenwood and Whitford Stations and made the below observations.
Greenwood Station has had a bike shelter for several years and I took a photograph of its usage back in 2010. As shown in the below picture, the shelter was not secure at that time.
A second bike shelter was built at Greenwood in March 2011, and later that year both lockers were made secure with users registering their Smart Rider to access the shelter.
Both the East and West cages at Greenwood are shown above, and my estimates where that they were around 80% full (ie the combined total of both cages is 42, and my quick count at that time was there were around 34 bikes in the shelter).
However, I also observed that there were an additional 25 bikes scatter around the Greenwood Station, with several shown below:
Given that there are an additional 25 bikes not using the shelter, even though there were available bays in the shelter, potentially points to an issue with restricting only 100 people to register per shelter, and the software limitation needs to be rectified to allow for more cyclists to use the shelters.
Even if the software limitation was rectified, there still isn’t enough capacity in the shelters to handle this volume of bikes, and at Greenwood Station an additional shelter is required to support the current numbers, not to mention the increase in cycling numbers occurring.
There are still the original yellow lockers (shown in the last image), which are also being used. As reported to the PTA previously, some bikes won’t fit in these type of lockers and need to be replaced. The condition of these lockers are poor with rust spots, and the location is a long away from the entrance to the station and priority should be given to those who choose to use active transport.
Whitfords Bike Shelter was built around June 2010 and holds 18 bikes. It has 96 registered users with ZERO people on the waiting list.
The below images (taken in August 2012) shows that the cage was around 50% full, but there were similar number of bikes parked outside the shelter.
The Bike Shelter is located closer to the train station entrance, and is undercover. The images were taken on a day where showers were expected later in the day. Why would individuals park their bikes further away from the train station, and in the rain, as PTA indicates that no-one is on the waiting list?
Whitfords and Greenwood Stations are only 5kms apart, but Greenwood Station had on the same day, around 3 times the number of bikes compared to Whitfords Station. Could it be the additional bike shelter at Greenwood which is attracting this increase in numbers?
The Greenwood Station does not have bus connections (think there is only one bus that leaves Greenwood Station), compared to Whitfords. Both Whitfords (around 850 bays) and Greenwood Stations (around 950 bays) have car-parking facilities. Does this mean that Greenwood located residents use alternative means of transport, including cycling to get to the Station. Should the State Government consider encouraging more people to use active transport rather than build more car-parks?
The location of where we build train stations confuses me. The below image shows that at Whitfords Station, there is a large area that we can’t build on, and is located in a 1km radius of this train station. 1km is a short walk, and a even quicker ride.
Shouldn’t train stations be built so that their location maximise the number of people who can walk or cycle to the Station, rather than located on a freeway/major reaods, and having large areas of non-residential areas around it?
Getting to both of these stations is difficult, as you have to cross several lights at major intersections. Why can’t better access be provided including under or overpasses to get to these stations, removing the requirement to cross major roads and having to wait for the ligths?
If we want more people to ride to train stations, we need the facilities to support them. Given the images above, there currently isn’t enough shelters available and the current software limitation is further compounding the issue.
If we want more people to use active transport to get to the stations, locate them where individuals work or live, and provide better access to them so we don’t need to cross major roads.
What are your views?