Over the weekend, the GTTA (yes, that's a real link to their website) announced a short term plan to improve transit use in Toronto and the surrounding area. The main features of the plan are additional train coaches, increased track capacity and new buses (including double deckers, which will be good, if not a little strange, to see here).
On the cycling front, the plan includes bike lockers throughout the GTA and racks on buses. The press release indicates the racks will be on municipal buses.
Bicycle Promotion Initiatives
$2.1 million to $3.2 million for safe/secure bike storage
Installation of 1,000 new safe, secure, weather-proof bicycle storage
spaces at strategic locations across the GO Transit inter-regional
network, to compliment current bicycle storage initiatives by GO
Transit and the City of Toronto, City of Burlington, and City of
$1.0 million to $1.8 million for expanded bike/bus rack program
In a move toward the goal of 100 per cent bicycle accessibility for
all bus routes, bicycle-carrying devices will be installed on 1,000
new-order and existing municipal transit vehicles.
It's encouraging that cyclists are at least being considered by the GTTA. It must be apparent to them that people cycling to the train stations would ease GO's big parking problem.
There are two related items missing in this announcement that I hope the GTTA will start to consider. People living in the suburban areas served by the GO trains still have to deal with cycling on some of the most unfriendly streets around. If the GTTA can get involved in municipal bus issues, it should also be able to contribute to municipal bike routes, even if it is just to get people to a train station.
Also, a bike rack on a municipal bus serves a purpose, but I would guess that a far more popular bike rack would be on a GO bus traveling between cities. Most people can't ride a bike from Newmarket to downtown Toronto, but might like to ride to and from the train stations.
While I'm not quite clear on the "authority" of the GTTA, it doesn't hurt to see them mentioning cyclists. In the suburban areas, where so little is done to make cycling easier, this could be a positive first step, albeit small. For real changes, the next steps must include that majority of cyclists who aren't paying a bus or a train fare.