Bike Policy on Hold as SAC Awaits New Racks

As the 30-day comment period following the proposal of a new bike policy from Pomona's Student Affairs Committee (SAC) comes to a close, SAC members are awaiting the delivery and installation of new bike racks on campus before making any final decisions about the policy, which would stipulate that bicyclists who lock their bikes to structures on campus other than bike racks or store their bikes outside their dorm rooms could have their locks broken and/or their bikes impounded.

The proposed policy change drew criticism from some students when it was first announced in an e-mail to the student body on Nov. 1 (see story in Nov. 4 issue of TSL). Within the first few days following the announcement, dozens of students sent e-mails to SAC in which they objected to the new policy, and a protest at the Smith Campus Center (SCC), titled “Lockupy SCC,” was quickly organized. Pomona Dean of Students and SAC member Miriam Feldblum sent an e-mail Nov. 3 clarifying the proposal, and over the last month, SAC has continued to discuss the proposed policy change in light of the initial outrage and the many comments it has received.

According to Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) President and SAC member Nate Brown PO '12, SAC met with Assistant Vice President and Director of Facilities and Campus Services Bob Robinson on Nov. 29 to discuss the status of new bike racks, which Feldblum said would be installed in her e-mail to students.

“Things are moving along; bike racks have been ordered," Brown said. "Everyone on SAC agreed that there should be no policy change or change in enforcement until there are new bike racks. So, basically, right now SAC is waiting for the bike racks to be installed."

According to Feldblum, 18 bike racks have already been ordered and will be installed in locations that will determined according to recommendations that were received by SAC during the comment period.

“We had a student worker go through all the comments and identify what areas are mentioned as needing more bike racks,” Feldblum said. “We also had Bowen Close, Director of the Sustainability Integration Office, make recommendations."

“A lot of the student comments that we got were very helpful in figuring out places that [have] a need for new bike racks, especially the SCC," Brown added. "That was the biggest complaint."

Although Robinson's Facilities Department has not yet given SAC a list of the finalized locations for the new bike racks, Brown said that based on the comments, the committee recommended that racks be installed mainly around the SCC, Frary, South Campus, and the south side of Pomona Hall.

Brown said he expects the new bike racks to be installed no sooner than the start of next semester.

“When we come back, SAC will reconvene. Hopefully the new bike racks will be here, and we’ll see how they’ve affected bike traffic," he said. "SAC will further discuss the proposed policy change and come to a consensus, or we’ll end up voting. And if the majority of SAC wants to enact the policy, then the policy is going to be enacted."

Brown added that even with the addition of the new bike racks, he anticipates the need for a bit stronger enforcement of proper bike parking.

“I think that there should be stronger enforcement for places like handicap ramps or places where there are fire escape issues," he said. "I’d like to see us install bike racks and the problem completely go away, but I’m cautious about that."

In the meantime, as students SAC members await the installation of the new racks, the Coop Store has begun selling U-locks to students at a subsidized price, Brown said.

“The locks cost $20 wholesale, so ASPC is subsidizing five dollars per lock and the Dean of Students office is also subsidizing five dollars per lock, so we’re selling them for ten dollars," he said.

As of Nov. 30, the Coop Store had sold all but three locks of its first order of 50, and it was waiting on a second shipment.

“It’s been very, very successful," Brown said.

Feldblum said she and other members of SAC would continue to update students as more information became available about the details of the bike rack installations.

“We’ll be sending out a wrap-up email to the community as soon as we confirm where they’re planning to install them, how many, and other information that people have been asking for," she said. "Then I think we’ll be in really good shape to implement the new policy."