I went to Usdan today and was reminded of how frustrated I am with Physical Plant’s recent crackdown on “illegally” parked bikes. Where, I wondered, could I lock my bike without the risk of it being confiscated? The bike rack was full, the lamppost was occupied, and the handrails were taken, too. What to do?This issue was recently covered by the Argus. Liz Wojnar ’12 interviewed Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant, and I beg to differ with his view. While Ashton’s statement was correct:
Bike racks are, and continue to be, provided in many locations, convenient to classroom, dorms, Campus Center, and other buildings. However, in spite of best efforts to provide bike racks, locking of bikes to handrails continues.
… his statement overlooks the real problem. The issue isn’t so much the convenience or the location of the bike racks. It’s that there are simply too few bike racks to reasonably accommodate the number of bicycling students on campus. Says Ashton:
We often see bikes locked to handrails within 30 feet of an empty bike rack.
Well, more often, I see bikes locked to handrails within 30 feet of a fully-occupied bike rack:Of course, bicyclists shouldn’t block handicapped access to buildings, or block stairways, or prevent egress from a building in the event of an emergency. But, when our only choice is to obstruct a handrail—or risk having our bikes stolen—we all know what students are going to do.
Physical Plant, I beg you: stop forcing us to make that unfair choice. Install more bike racks as soon as possible.