Campus Lacks Sufficient Space For Locking up Bicycles

After a long day of work at the Barker Center, Professor of English and American Literature and Language Peter Sacks locked up his office, turned off the lights and walked outside to retrieve his bicycle.

He found the bicycle as he had left it—except for a large metal clamp locking its frame to the building’s railing.

Bewildered, Sacks called University Operations Services. Then he waited in the dark, for one and a half hours, until University Operations arrived.

“Finally, someone came—to release my bicycle and to reprimand me,” Sacks says.

Sacks’ bike, which he had locked to a railing outside Barker after searching for a spot on the overcrowded bike rack, was allegedly blocking an entrance.

“At that moment, the untenability of the situation became clear,” he says. “There was absolutely no place to lock it on the rack. I haven’t ridden my bike to school since then.”

Overcrowding of these racks is a perpetual problem as hordes of students and some faculty elect to bike to class before the winter sets in. While building superintendents have tried a number of tactics, including removing old bikes and adding new racks, bike riders say they don’t foresee any easy solution.

“I keep checking the rack [at Barker] to see if it has become less congested,” says Sacks, who says he hopes to start riding his bike again if he can find a place to lock it up. “But it’s as crowded as ever.”

Congestion in the Yard

On a rainy Friday afternoon, Pier J. DeMarco ’03 unlocked her bike outside Sever Hall. She says that even on a Friday, it’s difficult to find a spot.

“I only began riding a bike this year because I have classes that are in far-away buildings. I’ve seen the mess the racks cause—it’s absolutely horrible—so I never dared to bring a bike before,” DeMarco says.

This problem has forced students and faculty to find other options. Some go as far as to carry their bikes into their offices or dorm rooms.

Some forgo use of the bike racks in favor of railings and street signs.

Out of convenience, many students simply lock their bicycle wheel to its frame and lean it against a building. This is so common that there is even overcrowding along the walls of buildings such as Sever Hall or the Science Center.

“I leaned my bike against a building for one class period, and when I came back to get it, people had stacked four or five bikes on top of it. I could barely get to my bike through the layers,” DeMarco said.

Biking Home From Class