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Thread: How to get more secure bike parking

  1. #1
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    Default How to get more secure bike parking

    Here's the situation: the Ballston mall parking garage's bike racks are not secure. At all. Although near the parking garage office, there are no cameras even though the area is fairly well trafficked by people going to/from the garage/mall. In the past week, I have had 2 handlebar headlights stolen (the first was stolen one day, then the back-up got stolen the next day), and Greg (GB) had his bike bag with various tools (multitool, patch kit, pump) stolen.

    Note: this is the same place that I had my bike stolen a couple years ago, although it was only locked with a cable lock at the time (I now use a U-lock with cable through the other wheel). I filed a police report at the time after going through mall security and the parking garage office, but my bike was never rescued.

    After getting in contact with both mall security and the parking garage office, it's clear they have no interest in doing anything about this (they have a sign above the racks saying something along the lines of, "We are not responsible for any damage/theft to your property," you know, SUPER HELPFUL). Receiving no help whatsoever, both Greg and I have concluded that another solution is needed.

    My (our) question: How does one go about convincing a private parking garage to provide more secure bike parking (bike cage, camera, etc.)? The bike racks (2 sets of wavy racks) are usually at least half-3/4 full on a daily basis, so there are a lot of people who would benefit from an upgrade.

    Right now the alternatives include: removing stuff from the bike upon locking it up (I usually remove my camera, but someone with a screwdriver and allen wrench could easily steal my bell, speedometer, seatpost, bike bag, patch kit (inside the bike bag), bike rack, taillight, pedals, and spoke lights, and I'm not about to remove all of those every single time), bringing the bike into the office, praying every time I lock up that something isn't missing when I return, or not biking to work.

  2. #2
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    Is it a private parking garage???? I thought the parking lot was owned by the County. And if it is owned by the county, well, there is this guy named Tim Kelley. He might be of some help.
    Last edited by rcannon100; 10-17-2014 at 11:10 AM.

  3. #3
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Tim Kelley with two "E"s. Plus he's a Canon guy.

    Quote: "I am a Canon guy." [referring to cameras though, not puppies]

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    bobco85: If your employer will tolorate your bike in the office, do it. For your peace of mind.

    OK, so the Ballston Common garage is Arl Co's, and management has indicated by word & deed that they *don't & won't care*? BikeArlington and Tim Kelley? Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
    Last edited by Starduster; 10-17-2014 at 10:57 AM. Reason: avoiding the grammar police

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    Might want to contact Arlington DES (Dept of Environmental Services). I have no idea - assuming Arlco owns the garage - what department it falls under. But DES might be a good place to start - they are the bike advocates as part of Arlcos transpo plan.

    BikeArlington is a contractor of Arlco.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I actually didn't realize that the garage is county-owned, so perhaps that fact will help in getting better facilities.

    For the time being, I will keep my bike in my office, and I have instructed the other members of the office bike group to do the same. While there is no specific written bicycle policy in our building (I inquired from the building management), the unwritten rules tend to be to keep clear of all emergency exits/doors, not to block any hallways/desks, and to use the elevators at non-half-hour/hour times (to avoid crowded situations). While I live less than a mile from work and do not need to worry about showering upon arrival, our building has no shower facilities, meaning any commuters will have to go into the building sweaty/smelly with their bikes (not a pleasant elevator ride), leave the bike at the office, and then go into the mall to access a gym with showers.

    I will contact this "Tim Kelley" person you speak of, and hopefully we can get something going.

  7. #7
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    Last year a tool bag and pump were stolen from my bike in the Valet parking section of a parking garage in downtown DC. Since then, if it can be removed without tools, I take it off the bike myself. I use a U-lock on the frame and put a cable through the wheels. I would not recommend anyone to leave lights etc. on their bike in a garage. And if I rode a nice bike to work, I would definitely take it up to my office.

  8. #8
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    KLizotte is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Seems like Clarendon/Ballston would be a great place for another BikeStation or a bike valet service. I'd rather pay a few dollars for a valet (more secure, I can leave my stuff on my bike) than be forced to buy a new bike/stuff due to theft. Just like the county provides public parking garages, why not more secure, convenient bike parking? It is a shame that parking at a u-rack on the street isn't sufficient though due to thieves. Sigh. Of course, private businesses could help if they provided better parking for their customers and employees.

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    There are a couple empty store fronts in the Ballston Mall. Could be a pretty good business. Bicycle Parking + Bicycle Repair while your bike is parked + Coffee Shop. Just saying.

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    So tell me more about what exactly you're looking for... A members-only bike cage/room in a publicly accessible parking garage?

    In the past, the county has installed U-racks in the right-of-way, but I don't think anything on a larger scale has been attempted.

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