Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bike station needed at MBTA?

Bicycles parked at Alewife MBTA Red Line stationFrom the Malden Observer, 06.29.07:

Thieves swipe bikes from Malden Center T station
A slew of bikes were allegedly stolen from outside the Malden Center MBTA stop last Thursday night, according to police and eyewitness reports. Two bikes were recovered, and officers took those bicycles into police custody at their downtown headquarters.

Gerard Teichman, a self-described Malden "bicycle enthusiast," is one victim of Thursday’s theft spree who said he doesn’t expect to get his bike back. "When I went to get my bike (Thursday), I noticed from far away that it wasn’t there. I had just put some money into it, so I was a little bummed that I didn’t get a chance to try out the new stuff. But I could see why it would be a target.”

Teichman, who owns other bikes but said he largely relies on the stolen one for transportation, said his bike had been locked with a "hefty" braided cable chain on the Commercial Street side of the station, on a bike storage rack on MBTA property.

"It was cut straight through, so these guys were really serious," he said. "They must have had the right tools. I feel a little bit like these people (who stole the bikes) targeted the T stop, and people who may be depending on their bicycles for commuting purposes. It's a loss in that sense. I'm kind of low income, so it's not so easy for me to replace it. I don't own a car." (Read more.)
Multimodal bicycle commuting--combining a bike and transit for longer trips--is more attractive when there is secure bike parking available. This is the major appeal of Bikestations, facilities that provide staffed secure bike storage and other services. Bike lockers provide greater security, and many systems have installed them at busy transit stations. Unsecured bike racks like the one pictured--at the MBTA's Alewife station in Cambridge, near Malden--are absolute magnets for bike thieves.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) last month announced: "The MBTA is moving forward with an aggressive multi-faceted bicycle program, developed in conjunction with the MBTA’s Bikes and Transit Advisory Committee, MassBike, and Livable Streets Alliance to improve access to public transportation."

This is an encouraging statement; it will be interesting to see how the "T" responds to the bike theft threat.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

1 comment:

Tim Pierce said...

This may be nitpicking, but I want to say I don't quite agree with the comment that "unsecured bike stations are magnets for thieves" and illustrating it with a photograph of the Alewife T station. The sheer number of bikes seen in this photograph gives you a good idea of how well trafficked the area is. It is one of the busiest commuter stations on the MBTA, and the bicycle parking is prominently located in the front area of the station, where MBTA personnel are on duty all night long. As far as I know this area does not have a serious problem with vandalism.

The Malden T station mentioned in this article, on the other hand, has been criticized for poor placement of its bike parking facilities. A recent post to the massbike mailing list discussed this in more detail:

The one thing that seems clear is that areas that receive low amounts of traffic or are infrequently visited are going to be magnets for vandalism and theft. I haven't visited the Malden T station and can't speak to it first-hand, but it is possible that the situation there could be improved just by moving bike parking to a more visible location near the station.