Vandals, Thieves Targetting Bikes at Metro Stops

12_8_08_enci.jpg
Photo Taken from Enci’s Cell Phone at Red Line Universal Station

As Metro struggles to make room for bikes on their trains, it seems the agency may have another bike issue to deal with:making their rail stations safe and convenient places to store bicycles.

This weekend, the Pasadena Star News reported on the sad trend of bicycles being stolen at Metro facilities, specifically Gold Line Stations, that lack the facilities to properly secure bicycles.  The story has two arcs.  One focuses on the story of a bike advocate who has had four bikes stolen from the Lake Avenue Gold Line Station in Pasadena during the past year, and a story on a four year quest to get bike facilities installed in the station that will end this January.

Unfortunately, the problem with a lack of bike facilities isn’t confined to just theft.  As the above picture shows, bikes chained to wave racks in areas away from regular foot traffic provide an easy target for vandals.  Proper statistics for vandalism and theft at Metro stations isn’t widely reliable because most people don’t know where to report a problem.  Any crime committed on Metro properly should be reported to the county, but most people, myself included until reading this article, would report a theft to the local municipality.

In addition to bike parking areas, Metro will install 300 more lockers county-wide and is examining the costs of having supervised bike storage rooms.  From the sound of it, improved bike facilities can’t come soon enough.

  • KateNonymous

    I don’t know why they didn’t put in more lockers along the Orange Line; at many stations, there is room for several more lockers–and long waiting lists for those that exist. Clearly there is demand.

    I also don’t know why they didn’t provide better lighting for the bike areas. At the station nearest to me, both the lockers and the racks have no lighting near them. It’s not that easy to lock and unlock a bike without light.

  • The answer is probably just money. Measure R should help.

  • KateNonymous

    Surely it will cost more to retrofit than it would have to put in a light in the beginning. There are other lights, after all. The parking lot is lit. The stop itself is lit. But the bikes are in the dark. It’s not just money, it’s how they thought about the various pieces of the puzzle.

  • Sad tale.

    Then again, ever since I saw the yellow police tape around the 7th and Metro station a couple weeks ago from the murder that had happened there, I’ve been a bit leery of the ole MTA and train riding. Eeee.

    That’s it. I’m saying it:
    Looks like we (cyclists in general) got snoozled by the MTA with Measure R.

    Not too surprising given their demonstrated lack of ability to think creatively and find innovative solutions to the litany of traffic related problems we face in LA.

    But if we could get some money from the local returns in Measure R and somehow get a creative smart person into the job of spending that on smart bike infrastructure….

    It could happen.

  • angle

    One word: bikestations.

    (Unless that’s “blke stations”, in which case it’s two words.)

  • These racks at Universal are not U-Racks but wave racks. Probably the worst racks next to the toaster. I talked to Lynne Goldsmith (Metro Bike Planning Manager) from metro about a year ago regarding the bad rack and the lack of racks (I see bikes locked up to fences, poles and trees at this station all the time) but nothing came of it. She never got back to me and nothing was improved. And I see vandalized bikes there on a weekly basis.

    The answer in my opinion:

    – U-Racks (with instructional stickers on how to lock up securely)
    – Well lit area with foot traffic around it (not in the dark off to the side)
    – Security (who will clean up around the area, who will say hi to the people, who will take pride in his job, and who rides the Metro and/or a bike)
    – And last but not least, if people would sue the Metro once and for all for not accommodating cyclists, maybe they will listen.

  • In response to Ingrid,

    How about police that gasp, actually get out of their cars. They sit in their patrol cars outside of stations and idle around. I’ve never seen a sheriff actually in the train station, let alone riding one of the trains. People evade the fares so easily not just because there are no gates, but there is never any police around to ticket for fare evasion, let alone fight crime and make our city safe. Lets make the police do their job before we start talking about abandoning transit use.

  • Enci, you’re right. Of course they’re wave racks. I made the change above and thanks for catching that one.

  • Interurbans

    We are dealing with and agency that has little concern for the safety of its riders. Security is almost nonexistent with little or no fair inspection and with the Sheriff’s never on the trains and only sitting in their cars at stations.

    If we were dealing with an agency that cared they would have the bike lock up areas in view of the street with lighting and security cameras. They would have a security force that would be riding the trains and checking stations. They would have ticket inspectors checking for fair evaders. They would dump the planned gates that would make the system even less secure and use that money to put people on trains and at stations. This is a simple low tech solution that will work and even increase ridership because riders would know that they would be safe from crime on trains, venders, obnoxious riders as well as homeless people who just ride to get out of the weather.

  • On why there aren’t more lockers: Metro is worried about terrorism! A couple years back they were looking to rip out all their opaque bike lockers and (someday?) put in ones where you can see what’s inside…

  • KateNonymous

    “A couple years back they were looking to rip out all their opaque bike lockers and (someday?) put in ones where you can see what’s inside…”

    Fine, then they should do it. Maybe install the new ones, and then replace the older ones. This would also be a solution for the lack of lockers in many schools, BTW, but every time I’ve mentioned it, someone has said, “Yes, but you’re thinking about it logically.”

  • Of course there’s the other issue at the Universal Metro Station of people urinating next to the bike lockers. Absolutely disgusting. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

  • @Steve K. – Yah! What is wrong with Metro people not putting bathrooms at places like Universal Metro Station?

  • Crieger51

    were would i repot this to the county? my beach cruiser got stolen from indiana staqtion a few hours ago

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Breaking News: Metro Reverses Rush Hour Ban on Bikes on Trains

|
Gunpowder doesn’t have to fear getting ticketed on his way to Metro Board meetings. Photo: LAStreetsblog/Flickr Announced this morning at LA Bike Week’s kickoff event in front of LAPD headquarters, Metro will be lifting restrictions on when and where you can bring your bike onto Metro Rail (the Purple, Red, Blue, Green, and Gold Lines).  Current […]

Better Bike Parking Coming to Metro Stations

|
Bike racks at Metro stations can fill up quickly as illustrated by this photo from March 2008 at North Hollywood Station. The problem of insufficient bike parking isn’t a new one for Angelenos and isn’t limited just to Los Angeles.  Even cities such as New York, which installed 1,377 new bike racks last year is […]

Draft Pasadena Bike Plan Maps Released

|
This image, via CICLE/Flickr, is from this year’s Bike Week Pasadena. Last night, the city of Pasadena hosted a public input meeting for its new bike plan. The big news at the meeting was the release of a draft map of proposed bikeway facilities. Though that map is not yet posted on-line, the city’s Senior […]