Letter to the Editor: Bicycle blues

One hundred new spaces in the parking garage addition, 55 in the new School of Media and Public Affairs building; 125 more valet spots at the Marvin Center; 200 at the Elliott School of International Affairs building under construction. Our University certainly craves more parking spaces and is willing to fund and profit from them.

The same University so concerned with providing facilities for its motorized commuters has created zero new bicycle facilities in the past three semesters while blocking access to the Lafayette Hall storage room due to construction. A quick count reveals approximately six smallish bike racks on campus, though because the convenient ones are usually filled, trees and parking meters usually suffice.

The present facilities are indeed sufficient because there is always a place to lock a bike. On-street parking is also sufficient, because there is always a perhaps inconvenient place to park one’s car. The issue is of intention and propriety, and as a tree is not the intended or a proper place to lock a bicycle, the sidewalk is not the intended or a proper place to park a car. Upon the need for a facility – parking garage, academic building, residence hall – the University constructs the appropriate structure. Curiously, this general pattern does not extend to meet the basic storage needs of cyclists.

In short, accommodating and promoting bicycling is a cheap and effective solution to the University’s need for parking. It is my belief that we should not reward with brand-new facilities those who would menace us and pollute our air while simultaneously marginalizing those who choose or need alternative transportation.

-Geoffrey Langham

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