There was a kind eye witness yesterday who told me that the NYPD was cutting locks at the L train stop in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and taking bicycles. I ran down there with my video camera and did not see any suspicious behavior other that two uniformed police officers standing at the entrance to the subway and a 15 passenger police van parked on the corner. After closer inspection of the area I found pieces of bike chain and locks on the ground and in the gutter, near a street sign pole, 4 feet from the subway entrance. This was on the North East corner of North 7th and Bedford, on the sidwalk between the green railing of the subway stop and the street. There is a sign on the green railing that states, "Any property attached to these railings will be removed and delivered to: The Lost Property Unit located at 34th St. & 8 Av. tel# (212) 712-4500/4501. Ok, no injustice there. The MTA even gives you a phone number so consider yourself fairly notified if you lock bikes there. However, since the lock fragments were found near the street sign pole, that implys that bikes may have been taken from something other than MTA property. Sure enough they were and there are pictures to prove it...right on. A bike locked there is rather in the way when busy crowds are getting off the train but that is no reason for the police to take the bikes. Not to mention the stacks of unread AM NY newspapers that also clutter the area. It's amazing with an active prostitution ring on Driggs Ave. and all the inefficiencies of the subway such as people getting raped in the middle of the day and no one doing anything about it, that the police would see this as a priority. Especially in a city with soo many bikes left on poles each and everyday that you couldn't dream of every getting a cop to come and remove it. My advise to the dozens of people who lock up bikes there and commute on the subway is use the bike racks, there are a lot of them around the area with new ones added recently. Also, take a picture of your bike and keep a record, just in case one day you get home from work and theres nothing but a piece of lock on the ground. Also, if you see bikes being taken by the NYPD or MTA, take a picture or try and get a record of it.
This comment was from nyc.indymedia.org:
Around 7 pm on October 5, 2005 the NYPD removed bicycles locked to the entrance of the Bedford Avenue L station in Williamsburg. Locks were cut, bicycles were tagged and driven away in vans without prior warning. Although signs indicate property attached to these MTA railings will be removed, there was no such warning for bicycles removed from nearby signposts.
In fact, according to New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 24, Section 1115, it is completely legal to lock a bicycle to a signpost, lamppost, bus stop pole, parking meter or any other public street fixture as long as it does not alter or interfere with the operation of public traffic signals and signs. Because of potential harm, locking to a tree is illegal.
This situation underscores the need for more outdoor bicycle parking, one of the many important issues Transportation Alternatives is working on. If you walk or bicycle in New York City, you should really consider becoming a member.
I'll make a more acurate post later, but I got to go to work.