Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Apartment Building Says Bikes Hurt Property Values

From my August newsletter here at Roosevelt Towers in Falls Church:
In walking in the community, we have seen a number of bicycles locked up on the railing of the lower lobby entrance. This is NOT the place for them, not the look we want to portray for potential and/or current residents and more importantly, it is an extreme safety hazard. Because we are unaware of who they belong to, we ask that the owners of these bicycles please remove them immediately. We do have storage space allotted for bicycles. We ask all residents to please help us in keeping the community beautiful and safe!
Given that my building is less than a mile from East Falls Church Metro & the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, I can imagine bike commuting is a popular option. I can also understand why people might not want to drag their bikes into the building, up some stairs, and down a long hallway to a storage area, then repeat the process before work the next day.

What's less understandable is the "extreme safety hazard" reference. The areas in question are wide paths, so they're not blocking the way. And there are railings on either side, so it's not like they're costing elderly residents their only handhold. If you were trying to move in or out through that entrance, it might be annoying, but dangerous? What are they really getting at here?

Then we come to the real meat of the argument: Thinly-veiled references that only poor people use bikes to get around frequently. The rest of us can lock up our bikes in storage and only pull them out on weekends.

It's strange that building management would respond to apparent resident need for more convenient bike storage not by gauging interest in a bike rack but by threatening to confiscate bikes. And it's not like the complex is hurting for outdoor space - even on the most-full nights, there are always at least 5 empty spots in the parking lot and usually a lot more.

They were responsive on my request for more recycling, so I emailed them:
I don't have a bike myself, but if there's such great demand for bike storage closer to the street, why not install a bike rack in one of the surplus parking spaces on the north side of the building?
I haven't heard back.
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