Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Roosevelt Island Bikes Stored At Subway Rack For 24 Hours Are Legitimate, Others Will Be Tagged And Removed - Did This Start With RIRA Committee?

Image of Tagged Bikes at Subway Station Rack

RIOC President Steve Shane reported to Roosevelt Island 360 that bikes stored at the subway and tram station bike racks during the early morning hours will be removed starting next week:
We decided to put warning tags on this week. ......enforcement next week.
Some bikes have already been tagged and are subject to removal next week.

Image of Tagged Bikes at Subway Station Rack

It appears that this policy may have originated with fellow residents from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee (ISC). According to a RIRA ICS Committee Report:
Bike Storage Racks At Subway Station
After ISC contacts with RIOC officials, RIOC has begun to remove bikes which have either been at the racks for too long or are abandoned (as evidenced by flat tires and/or rusted chains). If RIOC is aggressive on this issue, we should see more spots available for legitimate short-term (less than a day) storage of bikes.
Of course, abandoned bikes should be removed but I don't know what makes bicycles stored for less than a day more "legitimate" than others.

UPDATE - 2:30 PM - A reader comments:
What is problematic is the no overnight parking of bikes. Commentators on Streetblog have so many good ideas how the RIOC could deal with abandoned bicycles.
Some suggestions from Streetsblog readers include:
The standard protocol, from a quick google-around, is to affix a notice to a bike, wait a few days, then confiscate and hold for a week or more before disposal.

RI could offer bike registration, which would allow them to trace ownership in many cases and then they could send a notice to the owner as well as affix a notice. That would also allow a cyclist to notify the authorities when they plan to be out of town so that their bike is not considered abandoned while they are on vacation.

A modest fee for bike registration would perhaps allow RI to fund some serious bike facilities
The way chicago deals with orphaned bikes is if a neighbor reports an orphaned bike the city will securly tie a sign to the bike that says "move your bike within 3 weeks or we'll take it". Which is fair. Maybe some neighbors complained about seeing a lot of discarded bikes locked to racks and wanted the eye sore cleaned up. But talk about a HUGE overreaction. I agree with the 360 reader, can we also ban cars from parking on the street at night? That would improve my quality of life as a cyclist; I'd never have to worry about being doored on my early morning commute.
As a car-light community I was surprised Roosevelt Island isn't oarticularly bike friendly. The 36th Avenue bridge doesn't allow cycling on the sidewalk and the roadway is a real danger to narrow tires. And the roadways leave much to be desired.

Now the idea that cyclists can't use the bike racks overnight makes absolutely no sense. Why should Roosevelt Island cyclists have fewer rights than other cyclists throughout the city?

This would seem like a prime environment for various forms of bicycle parking, from indoor garages to the various individual bike enclosures we've seen elsewhere, or even Bike Shelters.
They could even institute a version of alternate-side parking: paint half the racks one color and the other half another color, and say that on Wednesdays the blue racks will be cleared for "cleaning" and on Fridays the red on
Read the full Streetsblog posts here and here.


Anonymous said...

What is problematic is the no overnight parking of bikes. Commentators on Streetblog have so many good ideas how the RIOC could deal with abandoned bicycles.

Anonymous said...

The rusted bikes stored on the bike racks are unsightly and take away from the beauty of the island. Moreover, they take up spaces for those who really use them for their intended purpose.

Unknown said...

Agreed, so remove the abandoned bikes, not the ones that are locked there legitimately by someone staying out late or visiting/leaving overnight.

Unknown said...

Here's the official answer I got directly from RIOC president Steve Shane (The Octagon rack reference is to a specific question about the rack at my building):

We are enforcing the policy as to bikes overnight at the Tram and subway only. We have nothing to do with the Octagon bike rack. The purpose of enforcement is to free up the racks for commuters so as to encourage bicycle ridership. Locking to street signs or other "fixtures" is not allowed. If you're out past 2AM, either plan ahead and take the bus or retrieve your bike from PS when and if it is taken from the rack. It's a strange parent that doesn't know their own child. Similarly with bicycles. We are always considering alternatives and want to thank you for your suggestions. The grace period was for the week when the policy was first announced and is not in effect. Enforcement is having a salutary effect. Witness the available spaces in the racks by the Tram and Subway.

Stephen H. Shane
President & CEO
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.
(212) 832-4540 x 319
(212) 832-4582 (fax)

Basically they're saying "screw you" to legitimate cyclists who happen to be a small enough minority that it's easier to ignore them than to do things more sensibly..... and I have no idea what the "strange parent" thing means.