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Bikes on walkway railings being removed

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Department of Facilities Management and the Department of Public Safety have undertaken an initiative to remove bicycles secured along walkway railings across campus, which stand in violation of Rhode Island fire safety code, according to Michelle Nuey, the manager of special services at DPS.

The walkway railings outside of the Rockefeller and Sciences Libraries and Faunce House have been particularly misused, said Catherine Axe, director of Brown’s Disability Support Services, though abuse is not limited to these locations.

DPS officers identify bicycles in violation of the code by marking them with red tags, which bear an explanation of the violation and a request for removal, Nuey said. Bikes that are not removed by their owners are documented and taken away by Facilities Management.

“It’s an issue of a shortage of bike racks at various locations across campus,” Nuey said, adding, “We don’t want to cut locks. Locks are expensive.”

Bikes secured to railings not only violate Rhode Island fire code, but cause difficulty for disabled students and faculty who require specific walkways for access to buildings, Axe said.

There have been several cases when students have been unable to access walkways. “I often hear from people: ‘This is happening to me on a repeated basis,’ ” Axe said. “You have to provide access. As a university, if that’s how we provide access, then those railings should be free of bikes.”

Many students use railings to secure bikes, unaware of the potential consequences. Others say that they are aware of interfering with traffic on the railways, but use the railings out of necessity.

“I’ve had to use the railings quite a few times,” Nareg Aslanian ’11 said. Nareg and Daniel McCormack ’12 both said that space for bikes near Grad Center is frequently unavailable.

Facilities Management has replaced some older bike racks with coil-shaped racks with higher capacities in response to the demand. Miller and Metcalf halls have already had the new racks installed and further construction is planned, Nuey said.

Heather Johnson GS said that more space could be made in existing racks by removing abandoned bikes. Bikes missing parts and worn from long exposure to inclement weather that are “visibly abandoned,” are being removed as a part of the initiative, Nuey said.

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