Through my involvement with The Reporter and through my own obsession with bicycles, I have spent a large part of this spring semester thinking about the state of cycling at MDC’s different campuses, particularly the safety and security aspect.
I’ve been commuting by bicycle, in and around Miami, ever since the summer before my freshman year of high school, when I rode my department store BMX bike to the first day of a summer film workshop. Since then, I’ve ridden hundreds of miles on Miami streets and realized that, in many situations, the bicycle is regarded as a second-class mode of transportation.
Take MDC’s Wolfson Campus, for example. Only one of the three parking lots features bicycle parking, which is covered by a generously sized canopy but is cordoned off by a metal fence with a flimsy lock that isn’t engaged during the day. Anyonecan enter, whether they’re MDC students or not.
Now compare that to the largest parking facility at the campus: a multi-story concrete behemoth with classrooms on its first floor, 24-hour security personnel and a decal system that’ll tip off the guards to whoever’s not supposed to be parking there.
See the difference? Of course, one mustn’t be blind to the differences between bikes and automobiles. A multi-story building that takes up half a city block obviously wouldn’t befit even the largest mass of bicycles. Simpler accoutrements would do: a parking area with monitored access and egress, a small indoor facility that will shield the bicycles from the elements and a security guard that will monitor the area for at least the majority of the workday.
I believe the demand for such renovations is here. Dr. Edwin Gines-Candelaria, Associate Professor of Biology at the Wolfson Campus, has had bicycle tampered with at least two times with “a couple of years” in between. One incident forced him to ride back to South Beach without a saddle.
I’ve personally had two bicycles stolen around campus within the span of a few months.
Earth Ethics Institute director, Dr. Colleen Ahern-Hettich, and Program Assistant Heidi Lellelid, both agree that the amount of bicycles parked in places like the area in Faculty Parking Lot 1 area has increased substantially since the lot was renovated two years ago. Lellelid also acknowledges that the area needs security improvements.
Granted, times at the college are tough. Dr. Padron’s plight in Tallahassee to get a half-cent tax approved for the benefit of the college is not to be ignored. There are other priorities, college-wide, that need to be taken care of, such as cleaner facilities, truly ubiquitous wi-fi and a working pool at the Kendall Campus.
But by the same token, this atmosphere we’re in, of looking for ways we can improve MDC, is precisely the right time to bring this issue to light.