On the north side, Seattle's light rail system currently terminates at Husky Stadium, though there are plans to extend it all the way to Northgate. For now, that means if you're a walk-on passenger, you'll get off and still be a considerable distance away from the central part of the University of Washington campus, the University Village shopping mall, and all destinations along University Way. It means you're near the Burke-Gilman Trail, which runs out west toward Fremont, but you're a one-hour walk away from Fremont. A bike would be way faster.
Solution? Bring your bike on the train!
Sound Transit's light rail trains offer two dedicated spaces for bikes. Look for bicycle icons on the outside of the train as it pulls up. Inside those doors, you'll see a partition and a hook. Lift your bike's front tire up and let it hang vertically from the hook. Easy. If the bike spaces are already taken, you can stand and hold your bike next to you inside the train.
Sound Transit says each train car can hold up to four bikes—two hanging and two standing. But in February, the agency cautioned in a blog post: "Room is limited... It's a safety thing. In an emergency evacuation, for example, the doors can't be clogged with bicycles."
That means, Sound Transit clarified, that regular ol' single-seat, two-wheel bicycles—including heavier models with electric assists—are welcome. Bikes with child seat add-ons are okay. But they don't want you bringing oversize, cargo, or tandem bikes on board. No trailers and no engine-powered bikes (like mopeds).
As Seattle Bike Blog's Tom Fucoloro recently reported, that's provoked some consternation among families that use cargo bikes instead of cars for everyday tasks. "Family biking is one of the most wonderful transportation movements our city has seen in recent memory," he said. "There must be some space for compromise."
In an open letter, the transportation advocacy group Seattle Neighborhood Greenways called on Sound Transit to offer more bicycle lockers that fit cargo bikes, so that families that use cargo bikes can store them before jumping on the train. In the meantime, the group said, the transit agency should purchase "flex" light rail cars with more open space to fit larger bicycles, oversize luggage, mobility devices, strollers, and more.
That's something Sound Transit is apparently already planning on. The agency will purchase more than 100 new train cars in the coming years as more light rail stations open up, Fucoloro reported, and one of the design criteria is more space for bikes on the trains.