University of Pittsburgh's bike rack replacement project (fyi)

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argylepile
Participant
#

I work at the Cathedral and bike to work…last week I noticed 8×11 sized paper/flyers attached to the bike racks out front where I usually park for the work day. The papers state that the university’s “bike rack replacement project” is May to July and any bikes/locks/tires on the racks will be removed by the parking authority.

Same signs can be found on other bike racks on campus(as in front of Bellefield). Color me confused. So, I called the campus parking authority to find out some detail. The rep who answered explained that the racks would be replaced a section at a time(a section could be, say, all the racks around the cathedral). She also assured me that I will still be able to park/lock my bike up May to July–further announcements are to be made in regards to exact dates of replacement so people know when/when not to park. She said the signs are mostly for those that park their bikes for the summer(which seems kind of weird to me…don’t really know anyone who does that). I made sure to ask(a few times) “will my bike be okay if parked for 7.5 hours while I work” and she said yes. I’m still considering putting some sort of signage on my bike because I’m paranoid about it being removed without my knowledge.

Anyway, long story short–if you park on campus often, keep an eye out for any posted signs at the rack to protect your property.

If you have any questions about this or want more detail, the contact info is:

U. of Pittsburgh Parking Authority

412-624-4034

Ps. Anyone know what the rack replacement entails? Will they be the same style of racks?

Thanks!


sarapgh2
Participant
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Thanks for the info on your conversation with them, you had better luck than me. I also asked the question on what the replacement racks will be and haven’t received an answer yet. Not sure why they’re replacing them.


argylepile
Participant
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Honestly, I was surprised to talk to somebody nice–I dialed their number fully prepared to deal with a cranky person(funny how I assume that customer service peeps are going to be rude, but it can be an unfortunate truth). The woman I talked to was way patient with me, which I appreciated.

That being said, I will be calling again at the end of this week just to be sure, and to see if I can get specific dates from them. If I hear anything more, I’ll post it here.


Pseudacris
Participant
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@argylepile, it might be worth calling the Facilities department to find out what the new racks might be. At many universities that would the department to order & install racks, and the Parking folks would enforce rules about their use.

Just a suggestion. Not sure how it works at Pitt.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I’ve sent an email to the person in charge of Bike parking at Pitt. I suspect she’ll get back to me later today. I’ll be in training all afternoon, but will be able to post more (I hope) this evening.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I don’t suppose anyone at Bike-Pgh was consulted for tips, suggestions, best practices, etc.? Pitt is doing this all on its own and thinks it knows everything?

As long time transit activist and good friend Jonathan Robison has often said, there are two times for public input in major public decisions: Too early and too late.


rsprake
Participant
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From what I’ve seen and used they are doing a pretty good job so far. I would imagine they are adding capacity?


argylepile
Participant
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I hope they are adding compacity! That would be sweet.

I will also see about contacting Facilities; that’s a good idea. I gave my boss a head’s up about it and he told me to just “tie my bike to a tree.” Sigh.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Facilities is not the proper party to contact. It would go through the parking office. Hold on until I see if I hear anything back, though.


Swalfoort
Participant
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@ARGYLE – was that a typo, or are you really hoping for more compact bicycle parking?


argylepile
Participant
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argh! It was a typo, haha sorry.

UPDATE:

Called parking authority again because I am just not convinced by the blissed out/positive response I received earlier. Lo and behold…

The individual I talked to this time told me that according to the paperwork they received from management–the bike racks CANNOT be used during the period of May thru July. She couldn’t tell me if this would be done in sections or not–their boss is out until Wednesday so she advised me to call back later this week for more information.

I’ll post more upon receiving the info. of course. If they shut ’em all down at once–ugh. That would be ridiculous.


ieverhart
Participant
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I got the following notification via email last week:

Registered Bikers,

The University will be replacing most of the bicycle racks on campus this summer. If you are not on campus this summer, make sure to take your bicycle with you. Do not leave your bike, lock, tires, etc. stored on any rack, or overnight, if you will be on campus.

Thank you, and have a great summer vacation!

jt

Janet D. Thomas

412-624-8802

412-624-8616 (fax)

Assistant Director for Parking

University of Pittsburgh

3525 Forbes Avenue

114 PAVLN

Pittsburgh, PA 15260


I immediately called and talked with her, and she allayed most of my concerns. It seems most of the racks will be replaced with similar but more sturdy racks, and (she said) most definitely NOT toast/toaster racks. I will be working and commuting in (almost) every day over the summer, and she said it should not be a problem. What they want to avoid is people (students) going away for the summer using the racks for long-term storage. She said they had yet to work out the exact schedule, but my definite impression was that the crews would be working on a rolling basis, and except on the specific day or week of the replacement, we could continue to use the racks.

Long story short, if you are using the racks for daily parking (not overnight/long term), there shouldn’t be much of a problem.


argylepile
Participant
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Hooray! Music to my ears.


dwillen
Participant
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Argylepile, don’t read too much into what some of those parking people say. I rent a bike locker from them a couple are extremely helpful/nice whenever I go in there renew it. The rest of the office acts like dealing with a cyclist is quite possibly the worst part of their entire day. I’ve been told that all the lockers are rented and that they changed the lock on my locker (my bike was parked in it when they told me this). I don’t know what their deal is, but Swalfoort’s contact stated that they’ve never been at capacity, so these people are just feeding me a line of crap either out of stupidity or spite.


edward m
Participant
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My bike was stolen from the rack in Presbyterian Hospital garage in February. Bike has been reported stolen and serial number listed.The thief cut my 2 lightweight chains and kept my padlocks and chains. Use heavy chains or u locks in Oakland. And they should remove all the bicycleless locks on the racks. They get in the way.


ieverhart
Participant
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@ Edward M. – And they should remove all the bicycleless locks on the racks. They get in the way.

I leave one (smaller) U-lock on the rack outside the law school overnight, so that when I get there to leave my bike there all day (9 a.m. to 10 p.m. many days) I can lock it twice–once with my U-lock that I always carry with me and again with the “local” lock. It’s easier and lighter to just carry one lock especially since I am at one single location so much.

When you write “Use heavy chains or u locks in Oakland,” I take your use of the plural seriously, and while it could get out of hand, I think leaving one U-lock hanging overnight is not a bad use of bike rack real estate.

The real problem is when there are the abandoned single wheels still locked up months after the rest of the bike was stolen…


sarapgh2
Participant
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so ian – here’s the chance I’ve been waiting for: to talk to one of the people that leave a lock on “their” bike rack in perpetuity. I certainly understand the reasoning you give. My question is this – do you consider the rung you leave your lock on to be “yours”. If I come up there with my bike and happen to lock to that same spot, are you ok with that or do you feel it’s already taken? If the rack is full, can I lock it there?

I’ve wondered about this because there is a lock being left now at the space I always use (the rack is generally full with several bikes that haven’t been moved in months)and I’m not sure what the etiquette is. If that is the only open rung, I’m going to use it but is that asking for trouble?


edward m
Participant
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My bad it was January when my bike was stolen from Presby Garage. All the loose locks on bike racks scratch your bike up. They are installing more bike racks. Use the rack and not a tree or fence, security has bolt cutters and can remove your bike if you park it somewhere foolish.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I don’t leave U-locks all over the place, but I can see their purpose. I would not have a problem locking to a rack which already had a U-lock on it. A) Chances are not great the owner will need that spot. B) Owner of said lock can move it to another rack or slot.


Lyle
Participant
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My question is this – do you consider the rung you leave your lock on to be “yours”. If I come up there with my bike and happen to lock to that same spot, are you ok with that or do you feel it’s already taken? If the rack is full, can I lock it there?

God, I hope nobody is that much of an Adam’s Apple to get bent out of shape about you locking to any space available.

I do as Ian describes, have done forever, and would certainly not begrudge you the space. I’d just take my lock and go look for another spot.

AAMOF, at the rack I use, all the regulars leave their empty ulocks in the exact same place, all stacked together on the end of the rack.


salty
Participant
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fwiw, when i was at Pitt i *always* took the front wheel off and used one big U-lock to lock both wheels and the frame to the rack.

nowadays I typically take my chances with my front wheel, which is probably going to lead to a sad bus ride home some day. although, i typically don’t have to lock my bike up anywhere for more than a few hours at a time.


ieverhart
Participant
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@ Sarapgh2 – I essentially agree with Lyle. On the “coathanger” racks I usually use, some substantial proportion of times (10-30 percent maybe? I don’t keep track), there is a bike locked in one or both of the spaces next to my dangling lock, and I can’t say it bothers me. I guess I view it basically the same way as a “favorite” position on a totally empty rack. If the rack is empty, I like to put my bike facing in on the left side, in the second-from-farthest spot from the wall. But if someone is in that position, it’s not a big deal to move to another spot. Unless the rack is completely full–but in a year, that has never happened, and even if it did, there is (fortunately) a pretty good density of racks around.

Long story short, I think of it much less as a claim to “ownership” of the space than a convenient way for me to increase security without carrying around the extra weight every day, and the specific locations is an afterthought.

I don’t leave U-locks all over the place

I don’t leave locks over the place either. It’s just this one place, in an area with a decent amount of shady activity, where I leave my bike for many hours every day.

All the loose locks on bike racks scratch your bike up.

My U-lock is mostly rubberized, and since it’s just loosely dangling from one of the “hangers,” will move pretty readily even if you bump into it with your bike. And even then, I would suggest that it scratches up a bike no more than the rack itself, especially if the rack has some peeling paint and/or rust in some places, which is the case for the one where I do it.

My practice, a legacy from when I had a harder-to-remove bolted-in back wheel, is to lock the frame and front wheel to the rack, and then use the second lock to link the back wheel to the seatpost tube. I was kind of nervous about leaving there all day, every day, but then I realized I had this extra lock just doing nothing at home in the closet. Sometimes when I’m in a rush to get into the building, I’ll forego the second lock, and in those instances, I’m not too concerned about the marginal difference it might make to a back wheel-seeking thief.


Steven
Participant
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Yup, you can’t use a lock to reserve a parking space. A chair, on the other hand….


sarapgh2
Participant
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Cool, good to know and thanks for the responses.


rsprake
Participant
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Sheldon Brown wrote an article about locks and I think it makes sense.


sarapgh2
Participant
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Just got a response from Pitt parking regarding the replacement project:

from Janet Thomas “I’m very excited about the rack replacement project as many of our existing bike racks are in very poor condition. The notice that was placed on the racks was primarily to alert anyone leaving for the summer that the racks will be replaced, and that they should take their bikes and locks with them. Daily commuters will have racks throughout campus all summer. They won’t all be replaced at the same time, but over a period of several weeks. The racks will be swapped one for one as much as possible.

The racks nearest Craig Hall are at the entrance to Bellefield Hall. Those would be a convenient alternative if the Craig Hall rack isn’t available. However, most of the racks will be replaced very early in the morning so that our daily bicycle commuters aren’t disrupted. In addition, my plan is to post the racks a few days in advance, further alerting our bikers to the upcoming change.

Also, the bike racks design is similar to what we already have on campus. Each rack will accommodate a minimum of 10 bicycles, can be used on both sides where space allows, and provides for the wheel and frame to be locked to the hangar. Pitt’s bike police reviewed the design.”


Swalfoort
Participant
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I got something similar from her:

The flyers that were posted on the existing racks were primarily to advise anyone leaving for the summer to take their bicycles and locks with them. This is finals week, with Commencement on Sunday, and I wanted to get the word out in time for our biking commuters to make other arrangements, if necessary.

The racks are expected the 2nd week of May with installation to begin shortly thereafter. Racks will be swapped out/replaced early in the morning and again in the afternoon. I plan to post the racks a few days in advance to further inform bikers to use another rack for a day or two. The project will begin on lower campus because that is where we have the greatest number of racks. Most of the racks will be replaced, but there are some that will not be replaced because they are fairly new. There will always be racks available. The locations of all of the racks are on our brochure and website at http://www.pts.pitt.edu/commuting .

The racks are similar to what we currently have on campus. They will accommodate a minimum of 10 bicycles, can be used on both sides, space permitting, and permit locking of the wheel and frame.

I’m sure that our bicycling commuters will enjoy the updated inventory. The lockers are similar in that one locker accommodates two bicycles, each with a separate key.


dwillen
Participant
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Wonder what they’ll do with the “old” racks (most of which seem to work just fine). Seems like plenty of places around town could put those to good use.


argylepile
Participant
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Awesome! Thanks so much for posting that info.


dwillen
Participant
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Email someone forwarded me from Pitt parking people:

Hello everyone,

Bike racks are due to be delivered this week. Replacement will begin next

week as follows:

Cathedral of Learning Week of May 16th

Law School Week of May 23rd

Posvar Hall Week of May 30th

Racks will be posted with alternative rack locations. Schedule is subject

to change.


argylepile
Participant
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just received the info too. thanks for posting!

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