Eyes on the Street: The Bike Parking Fence Doesn’t Make Sense

New bike parking at Morse CTA station
Bike parking area at Morse. Photo: Justin Haugens

Last week, the Chicago Transit Authority finished construction of a partially-sheltered bike parking area on Lunt Avenue under the viaduct at the Morse Red Line station. The area is well-lit but surrounded by a tall fence with a single opening, on the alley. Instead of making the bike parking area more secure, this fence may actually decrease the perception of safety here.

I asked a few people who bike how they feel about this design; the consensus was that “the fence doesn’t make sense.”

Eboni Senai Hawkins, organizer of Red Bike and Green, said, “The fence would only make sense if it was completely closed in and there was some kind of attendant.” Having CTA staff nearby would also help, said Michelle Stenzel, co-organizer for Bike Walk Lincoln Park. “For my own physical safety, the important factor is always whether there are other people around who could help if trouble arises,” she said. “So if there’s CTA personnel at ground level at this station somewhere close and they can see through the fence, then that increases the feeling of safety.”

Could the fence make bikes less secure? Gin Kilgore, a program manager with the League of Illinois Bicyclists, thinks so. “It’s great to see so much more covered bike parking available at train stations, but it really does not add security,” she said. “Anyone can still go in and steal a bike; in fact, it probably provides more cover for people to do so.”

New bike parking at Morse CTA station
The view of the bike parking area, looking southeast (##http://goo.gl/maps/uqIaE##Street View##). Photo: Justin Haugens:
Fenced in bike parking at the Morse Red Line station
At least the bike parking has good lighting. Photo: Justin Haugens

We are awaiting a comment from Alderman Joe Moore’s office.

Updated 15:43 to provide Kilgore’s complete quote and to change photo captions. 

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