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68 Guidelines for Providing Access to Public Transportation Stations Local jurisdictions that support bicycle transportation help create bicycle networks that provide access to transit stations. Both Portland, Oregon, and Arlington County, Virginia, adopted land use and multi-modal transportation master plans that emphasize non-motorized access to rail stations. Overall, a strong relationship between a community's comprehensive plan and master transportation plan is needed. Bicycle access to Toronto's GO Transit system varies by the quality of the bicycle network to each station. Stations sited with local street access and bicycle lanes on the streets approaching the station have higher bike-to-rail use. Transit agencies may also experience increases in access by bicycle where a trail connection to a station exists, such as is the case with WMATA's Hyattsville Metrorail station (Northwest Branch Trail), MBTA's Alewife Station (Minute Man Bicycle Trail), and Pittsburgh's First Avenue LRT station (a riverside bicycle trail). While transit agencies may not be able to implement bicycle route improvements unilaterally, they can play an important role in ensuring that improvements occur. For example, LA Metro's bicycle program provides a good example of how a transit agency can help to guide bicycle improvements on the local roadway system. Metro's 2006 Bicycle Strategic Plan focuses on integrating bicycles with both rail and bus transit. The plan identifies a total of 167 bicycletransit hubs in the region on which to focus resources. LA Metro's plan also includes a description of audit procedures for evaluating obstacles for bicycle access with an accompanying audit table (also available electronically from Metro) and a toolbox of bicycle facility design measures that address the purpose of each facility, where to use it, and guidelines on developing it (including photos and diagrams). To support bike-to-transit access at these hubs, Metro has conducted approximately 20 station-specific bicycle access plans, but ultimately relies on individual jurisdictions to ensure that bicycle access is a priority. This strategy has been somewhat successful; for example, the City of Long Beach recently completed a Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Study to its light rail stations complementing Metro's Bicycle Strategic Plan. Factors Affecting Bicycle Access Similar to walking, the decision to bicycle to transit stations depends on a combination of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, safety (perceived and actual), station characteristics, network connectivity, transit agency policy, and surrounding land use. Essential characteristics for encouraging cycling to transit include secure bike parking and high-quality connections to the surrounding road network. A review of international literature shows that it is possible for bicycles to comprise up to 40 percent of transit access trips (36). However, realizing such a high percentage largely depends on factors outside transit agency control, as system-wide quality of bicycle facilities, topography, weather, and bicycle culture all play large roles in people's willingness to bike. A recent study of 280 bicyclists and auto travelers living within 2 miles of the train and light rail station at Centennial Plaza in Mountain View, California, found six predictors for its bicycling versus driving model: trip distance, trip purpose, car availability, race, gender, and proximity to auto-friendly streets (37). In addition, climate and weather affect individual bicyclists differently. Bicycle ridership in areas with colder climates and a good bicycling network stays relatively level when the weather is colder. Days with shorter daylight hours reduce bicycle ridership. Wind and rain generally affect daily bicycle access more than temperature (38). Topography may also impact bicycle access, but high-quality facilities may offset the negative impact of hilly terrain. Even so, research indicates that provision of bicycle facilities at transit stations, in particular high-quality bicycle parking, has a significant impact on bicycle access (32).