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Readers Think St. Clair County Transit Needs Bike Racks On Buses

ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station
ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station

Response to this poll was low but the results are clear, those who voted think St. Clair County Transit needs to add bike racks to their buses.

Q: St. Clair County (IL) Transit District doesn’t have bike racks on their buses, they 1) damage buses 2) damage wash brushes 3) take extra labor. Your thoughts?

  1. Madison County Transit finds a way, so should St. Clair County Transit. 36 [37.5%]
  2. So what if it takes more labor to wash the buses, they need to find a way to pay for it and get racks on their buses 29 [30.21%]
  3. No bus in the region should have bike racks 15 [15.63%]
  4. Other answer… 7 [7.29%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 6 [6.25%]
  6. If it takes more labor saving money is more important than providing bike racks 3 [3.13%]

I thought #6 above would be the primary against answer so the 15 votes that “No bus in the region should have bike racks” was shocking.

The seven other answers were:

  1. SCCT should get over themselves and get with the program!
  2. Its up to the residents of st. clair county to want bike racks
  3. Why do the buses need to be washed, and how much money was spent on that?
  4. modify the bus wash to work with racks, like other transit systems do!
  5. Lame excuses
  6. there needs to be a balance between cost/benefit to the region of the bike racks
  7. If MCT, Metro and tons of other transit authorities can, St. Clair should too.

I’m going to stay on this issue until the day you can bike-n-ride in St. Clair County.

– Steve Patterson

 

Poll On The Decision To Not Have Bike-N-Ride In St. Clair County IL

ABOVE: Metro bus without a bike rack at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis, IL
ABOVE: St. Clair County Metro bus without a bike rack at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis, IL

Monday I posted about how the Chair of the St. Clair County Transit board, Delores Lysakowski, doesn’t allow bike racks on the buses serving 15 municipalities in that county.  On Thursday the St. Louis Beacon looked into the story with more, although somewhat conflicting, reasons why an entire county in our region doesn’t have bike bike racks on the front of their buses:

Delores Lysakowski, chairwoman of the St. Clair County Transit District, says the racks damage the buses when they go through the bus wash.

“When they go through the wash rack, they tear the heck out of the bus,” she said.

But Bill Grogan, managing director of St. Clair County Transit District, has a slightly different tack. He says the racks damage the bus wash brushes. “The washers don’t damage the racks, but the racks can damage the washers,” he said. “They get stuck in those spinning brushes.” (full story: Want to bike and ride on Metro buses in St. Clair County? Forget it)

So which is it? Do the racks damage the buses or the brushes? Both? Neither?

ABOVE: A Madison County Transit bus at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis IL
ABOVE: A Madison County Transit bus with a bike rack, at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis IL

Neighboring Madison County, like Metro in Missouri, sees the benefits:

Madison County Transit (MCT) has equipped all of its buses with bike racks to provide accessible connections between the MCT bikeway and bus systems. Now people throughout Madison County can simply BIKE AND BUS for transportation and recreation. In fact, MCT carries an average of 800 bikes each month, which equal more than 12,000 bike and bus participants and growing since 2003. (source)

In the full story, linked above, writer Kathie Sutin goes to Metro to ask them about their experience with washing buses with bike racks. In short it takes some extra labor to wash around the racks, but it is worth it.  Back in St. Clair County the attitude is they made the decision in the past not to have bike racks so it is not open for discussion.  This whole thing doesn’t sit well with me but I want to get a sense on your thoughts so the poll this week (right sidebar) is on this subject.

Thanks to the St. Louis Beacon and writer Kathie Sutin for digging into this issue!

– Steve Patterson

 

No Bike-N-Ride In St. Clair County Illinois

ABOVE: A bike rack on the front of a Metro bus at the CWE station
ABOVE: A bike rack on the front of a Metro bus at the CWE station

Using bike racks on the front of local buses is a great way to combine two efficient modes of transportation but interestingly those in St. Clair County don’t know the benefits.

Sometimes two-wheel transportation just isn’t enough to get you there. All MetroBus vehicles, except those in St. Clair County, IL, are equipped with easy-to-use external bike carriers. (emphasis added)

The above is the first sentence of Metro’s Bike-N-Ride page.  Really, no bike racks? Metro buses in Missouri all have racks as do buses operated by Madison County Transit.

ABOVE: A Madison County Transit bus at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis IL
ABOVE: Bike rack on a Madison County Transit bus at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis IL

I found it hard to believe that one county in our region had bus service sans bike-n-ride.  I had to see for myself.

ABOVE: Metro bus without a bike rack at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis, IL
ABOVE: Metro bus without a bike rack at 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis, IL

Sure enough, the buses operated by Metro and serving St. Clair County IL don’t have bike racks.  I’ve been told if a bus from Missouri is reassigned to St. Clair County the rack is removed.  For me this is a “WTF?” moment.

ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station
ABOVE: Metro bus without bike rack at the Belleville IL MetroLink station

Don’t blame Metro, they are under contract with the St. Clair County Transit District:

The St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) was created in 1981 under the Illinois Mass Transit District Act. SCCTD does not operate any buses directly but has executed contracts with others to provide transportation service for the fifteen townships that make up the District. The fifteen Townships in the District include:Belleville, Canteen, Caseyville, Centreville, East St. Louis, Engelmann, Lebanon, Mascoutah, O’Fallon, St. Clair, Shiloh Valley, Smithton, Stites, Stookey, Sugarloaf

How is it possible that a transit board, appointed by the chairman of the St. Clair County board, could short change so many?  So I asked why no bike-n-ride.  I received a very prompt reply:

“Because the chairperson of the st. Clair county transit district board does not want them on the buses. Her name is Delores Lysakowski. You can contact her mon- fri at 618-628-8090.”

ABOVE: bikes at the Belleville IL MetroLink station in St. Clair County
ABOVE: bikes at the Belleville IL MetroLink station in St. Clair County

So one person decided an entire county should receive a different level of bus service than others in the region! Thankfully she hasn’t disconnected the wheelchair lifts — yet. If you disagree with Delores Lysakowski’s decision to prevent bike-n-ride in St. Clair County, please contact St. Clair County Transit to let them know.

– Steve Patterson

 

Readers Favor Enforcing Noise Ordinances

noiseResponse to the poll last week was very low. Here is the question and final results:

Q: The City of Alton IL is issuing tickets to drivers of noisy motorcycles & cars. Thoughts?

  1. Good, more jurisdictions should enforce noise ordinances 36 [58.06%]
  2. The noise is annoying but these laws are not enforceable 13 [20.97%]
  3. Unsure/no opinion 6 [9.68%]
  4. Bad, more government meddling 4 [6.45%]
  5. Other answer… 3 [4.84%]

Other answers were:

  1. i am sure I don’t care.
  2. I think the law will be enforced more on the appearance of the driver/rider.
  3. Motorcycles are often times ubnoxiously loud. Regulate them.

Any additional thoughts you might have add them to the comments below.

– Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Regulating Noise From Motorcycles

In January one Illinois town took steps to keep the town quiet:

ALTON – A motorcycle rights and safety promotion group plans to pay for signs to “quiet” motorcycles in Alton, as city officials begin the process to strengthen the city’s anti-noise ordinance.

“We are going to be leaders in this,” said Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst, who campaigned on quieting down motorcycles traveling on city streets and loud car stereos. Telegraph

This week KMOV reporter noted “To date, police have issued 37 tickets to bikers in violation of the ordinance and 133 to motor vehicle drivers.”

The poll this week asks for your thoughts on enforcing noise ordinances.

– Steve Patterson

 

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