As the Online Media Specialist for Metro, I hear a lot of suggestions and concerns from Metro riders. Almost all of these suggestions get passed along, and often are incorporated into our customer service feedback or planning decisions. Sometimes we run across the opportunity to take feedback from social media and engage it throughout the whole process, from suggestion to implementation. The new bike rack at North Hanley MetroLink Station is one example.
On May 6, Jennifer posted about the North Hanley capital project to repaving and repair the parking lot and bus bays. In the comments, reader “Jazzy Jeff” made the following suggestion:
Any new “bike racks” for bicycle parking being installed? From what I have seen there are no “official” spots for bicycles to park at N. Hanley. If I am wrong please let me know. Thanks for reporting this since I have seen the beginning of this new construction and never was sure all that was going to be completed beyond the “heaters” on the platform just in time for Sprint / Summer ;0) LOL! Better than never I suppose…
Flash forward a few weeks, on a dreary and rainy day, Metro Engineering and New Construction Project Manager George Gress and I were looking at the North Hanley station for possible bike rack locations. We even spotted a bike chained to a tree near the west entrance of the parking garage, illustrating the need for a rack. We scouted a spot near the north entrance to the parking garage, close to the roof overhang and near the security office – the kind of location suggested on Twitter to keep the area sheltered and within site of the platform. Patty Vinyard, former Executive Director of the St. Louis Bicycle Federation, had worked with Metro Engineer Jerry Wittenauer to find a bike rack style that cyclists preferred and that worked with Metro’s specifications. In this case, she suggested using an almost artistic helio design rather than the standard “U” shaped racks. Wittenauer passed along this information to Gress and Chuck Clemins, Director of Right-of-Way Maintenance.
Gress worked the bike rack into the construction project with the help of other Metro supervisors, and included a sidewalk and landing area around the rack. This grassy area was frequently walked over by pedestrians and was often muddy before the pathway was installed.
The bike rack is now installed, and I took a picture of the camera-reluctant Gress with the new rack. Many thanks to Director of Capital Projects Chris Rimsky, Chuck Clemins, and George Gress for going along with the project and incorporating the rack into the construction plans.
Now North Hanley has a bike rack and Metro staff have a good example of working with social-media feedback to improve the transit system. Good work, everyone!