Students call for more bike racks, not fines
February 23, 2009 2:56 PM
Passionate chants calling for a bike-friendly campus filled SF State's Malcolm X Plaza Monday in a rally stressing the need for better bike rack locations.
ECO Students and the Bicycle Advocacy Group organized the event in an effort to promote the Bike Safety Campaign and to tell the university to stop bike ticketing and instead, provide better locations to park bicycles.
The Bike Safety Campaign is a large outreach effort to educate bikers about campus policies and bike safety, while making bike parking accessible for all students, according to Suzanne McNulty, founder of ECO Students and co-founder of Bicycle Advocacy Group. It will leave rails unobstructed and create a bicycle-pedestrian friendly atmosphere, she said.
"We should be getting more racks, not tickets," shouted Christine Osorio, an environmental studies major. "More racks will make it easier for us to bike, and seeing more bikes will make it appealing for others to start cycling."
Last fall, SF State added bike racks enabling 200 more bicycles to park on campus.
"It's great that they added these 200 extra rack spaces," said Osorio. "But they aren't suitable for cyclists because they're inaccessible. They need to be in better locations."
Marc Caswell, program manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, stressed the need to make sure bike racks are in front of buildings and near students so that they can be seen and not hidden on the outskirts of campus.
"Why aren't we putting our racks where we are being ticketed at?" he asked the crowd who had gathered despite drizzle and an ominous sky. "If this is where you lock us, this is where we need racks."
Nikki Bengal, a graduate nursing student, had her bike booted and ticketed for $55 without any warning.
"If cars are able to get citations before getting booted, why not bikes?" she asked. "This bike booting is purely punitive."
According to SF State's Budget Administration and Operations, parking fines money can be used only for the development, enhancement, and operation of alternative modes of transportation and for the administration of the fines and forfeitures program.
"If this is true, then where are all the improvements?" asked Jesse Marie Di Carlo-Wagner, liberal studies major. "Where is this revenue from tickets truly going? Just to give out more tickets?"
Di Carlo-Wagner was ticketed for parking on the side railings by the HSS building.
"[There needs] to be a solution, compromise, or at least a better system for everyone who rides to and from campus," she said. "The locks are still out there. I am in the four to six week process of protesting my ticket and it sucks!"
University officials were also there to listen to the students.
"The university is doing things to improve the situation," said Gene Chelberg, associate vice president for student affairs. "We are committed to putting the racks in safe, well-lit locations."
The university will be adding new bike racks in six to eight weeks, though it is not confirmed as to where the racks will be, according to Chelberg.
"All we want is for them to give our campaign a trial and relocate the bike racks," said McNulty. "Part of being a bike friendly campus is to see a bike friendly campus."
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