Sunday, July 10, 2011
Keeping Your Bike Secure With The New Bike Racks Going Up All Over Santa Monica, And How To Request New Racks
For my column on Santa Monica Patch a couple weeks ago I pointed out that new bike racks were being rolled out all over Santa Monica. Some of these new racks are more of the metal bollards that had been popping up in downtown, and some are a new design like the newest racks at the library. From a functionality stand point the new rack design is a big improvement over the metal bollard racks. They offer two points of contact, which makes it easier to balance the bike against the rack, and they have a thick rubberized surface coating that makes it unlikely you'll ding your paint job.
Below is photo of my bike with a fairly secure lock up with one of the new racks. I'm using one mini u-lock and a medium length coil to secure the wheels. If you loop the coil through the opening on one end, the coil can reach all way around both wheel and up to the lock.
At least some of the places that are getting these new racks are places I specifically had requested before using the city's GoRequest app. This app can be used for reporting all kinds of non-emergancy issues in the city, and you can attach GPS data and photographs of sites. My most recent column for Patch just got posted today on using smart phones and web apps to interact with local government. The app can be downloaded for the iPhone or Android phones, and can also be accessed through the government website. I noticed the Santa Monica website version of the GoRequest form also features some custom categories not available in the app version that is used by a handful of different municipalities. One of these is specifically for requesting bike racks.
I can attest that the city is really looking at these requests. At the last Santa Monica Bike Action Plan workshop, I chatted with the city's Principal Transportation Engineer, Sam Morrissey, and he even referenced information I know was only shared through details on a GoRequest I sent about bike parking observations near my favorite local restaurant. So I highly encourage cyclists to get on board with using this application to call attention to issues of concern, like bike parking, poor road conditions, lights that do not detect. What ever you think needs to be addressed. We might not get everything we want done right away, but it will raise the profile of our concerns. I know Cynthia and Bryan, fellow members of Spoke, had put in pot hole fix requests in bike lanes, and they were fairly promptly addressed.