Report: New Parks Dept. Policy to Clip Locks and Seize Bikes
Just in case you thought all of the bike-related news today was good, a Streetsblog tipster in Queens reports that Parks and Recreation Dept. agents were clipping bike locks and seizing bicycles in Forest Hills, Queens yesterday. She was told by a city employee that the bike seizures are part of a new, citywide Parks Dept. policy. I have a call in to the Parks Department public information office to confirm this story and find out what's going on. Here is her letter to Streetsblog:
Dear Streetsblog Staff,
As you may remember, a couple months ago, Mayor Bloomberg authorized the NYPD to seize hundreds of bikes in Manhattan which were parked "illegaly" on city property.
Yesterday, I was shocked to find a similar incident occuring in my neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens as rangers from the City Parks and Recreation Department cutting chains to confiscate bicycles on 71st - Continental Avenue and Austin Street.
Later, I went to the Parks Department in Flushing Meadows Corona Park where the truck full of confiscated bicycles sat to get the scoop. Here, Captain Kenneth Brown informed me that today began a citywide campaign involving the City Parks and Recreation Department. This time all bikes chained to city trees or to the metal fencing around those trees will be seized in neighborhoods throughout the 5 boroughs. Bikes are then taken by truck to the nearest Parks Department Headquarters where they are held for 2-3 days before being sent to a depot in Long Island. In order to retrieve your bicycle, you must pay a $50 summons - that is if you can find it.
According to the Captain Brown, bicycles are only considered to be parked "legally" to bicycle racks. Unfortunately, the city does not provide proper bike racks here as in many other neighborhoods. The citizens of Forest Hills and surrounding areas rely on bicycle transportation for lack of reliable and adequate public transportation.
We'll let you know what the Parks Dept. has to say.