Opinion: Bike cage difficulties adding up

Josh Yuen and Nika Woodfill

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Senior Ashray Narayan attempts to lift his bike out of the over crowded bike cage. Photo by Saba Moussavian.

Senior Ashray Narayan attempts to lift his bike out of the over crowded bike cage. Photo by Saba Moussavian.

Construction near the Haymarket Theater has forced students at Palo Alto High School to make changes to their routines, some of which involve their morning afternoon commute to and from school. Biking, a popular choice of transportation for many Paly students, has become a challenge this year due to the absence of efficient bike cages. One cage, in particular, has caused distress among many Paly students for a variety of reasons.

The bike cage in question is adjacent to Embarcadero Road, across from Town and Country. Along with the Media Arts Center, the cage is new to the Paly campus this year, but unlike the new buildings, it has not made a good first impression on students. The cage has three parallel racks all enclosed in a very small fenced area. The proximity of the racks makes it impossible for people to maneuver in between the rows. More often than not, people are forced to carry their bikes up and over other bikes while attempting to move through the sea of hastily locked bikes. Students that are running late often find no space to park their bikes, with the front (and only) entrance to the cage swarmed by an overabundance of bikes.

Forcing students to physically lift their bikes up and over other bikes (and people) also puts them at risk of injury to themselves and damage to surrounding bikes. Last year, the Paly campus had difficulties with a lack of bike space as well. Recent construction seems to have aggravated the problem.

To try and solve this dilemma, administration should consider removing one of the bike racks or opening the back of the cage. This, however, only solves part of the problem. Traffic flow through both entrances will still be impossibly tight. Numerous students have complained about the bike cage and the complications that have arisen.

“The bikes are way too close together and people park so that [others] can’t actually get to the other bike racks,” junior Emma Raney said. “They just block you from locking your bike and I usually have to lock my bike to the outside of the cage.”

Some students have succumbed to simply parking their bikes outside of the cage. With construction blocking the front entrance to the school, bikers along Embarcadero have been rerouted to the bike path parallel to the train tracks, where they then turn and bike near the General Education building. Once they reach the bike cage, they are faced with the decision of whether or not to try and push their bike through the crowded entrance or simply lock their bike on the side.

Sophomore Gregory Jerian agreed with Raney, citing the entrance of the bike cage as his biggest concern.

“People can’t get their bikes in,” Jerian said. “[They] have to lift their bike over all the other bikes.”

We feel that there are a sundry of ways to solve the problem. If one of the racks were to be removed or if faculty unlocked the back gate, parking bikes would no longer be the challenging task it is now. Additionally, if the bike cage was expanded to the point where the proximity of the bike racks was big enough for bikes to squeeze by, it would make the process much less time consuming. An elementary part of bike cages is the physical spaces. If there is not enough room in a bike cage for the bikes to squeeze past each other, it is not fulfilling its basic job.

Biking is the most efficient and environmentally friendly form of transportation for most Paly students. The fact that students are discouraged from biking because of the unkempt bike cage is a travesty. With a couple fixes, students and bikers in particular would feel less vexed about their bikes.