posted 2012-02-17 17:20:31

Poses Park Bike Racks Seek to Reduce Bike Theft

Secure bike racks installed at Poses Park to combat a string of bike thefts

John Bolger

News Editor

Additional reporting: Kimberly Devi Milner, Associate News Editor and Nikelle Riggs, Contributing Writer

In response to a rash of bike thefts that plagued Hunter's main campus last semester, a series of bike racks has been installed in Poses Park, located just East of the Hunter East building.  The rate of bike theft at the campus has fallen dramatically since the installation, although bikes continue to be stolen.

Poses Park requires a Hunter OneCard swipe to open the park's metal door.  The park is equipped with two infrared cameras which watch the park's five bike racks, an additional camera films outside the entrance to the park.  Although Poses Park offers the most secure option for cyclists to lock up their bikes – according to Meredith Halpern, executive director for marketing and communications at Hunter, no bikes have been stolen from Poses Park – it has yet to gain popularity with bike riders, and bikes continue to be stolen from the campus's 12 other bike racks.

A bike was stolen last month from the main campus's north bike rack, according to Public Safety's daily crime log.  The bike racks along the west building bare the abandoned frames of bikes stripped of their tires and seats by thieves.  As of this writing, three bike skeletons were locked up at Hunter's bike racks.

Alexander Baldassano, coordinator of Hunter's pool, had his bike stolen at Hunter over the summer.     In mid-December, he saw a would-be thief attempting to steals parts off of his bike.  “I had a feeling it was my bike … so I walked over and saw him [a thief] fiddling with a screwdriver,” he said.  Baldassano started to yell and the bike thief ran away.  Baldassano said he notified Public Safety, who called the police, however because nothing was missing a report was not filed.  Baldassano rode home after the incident and noted that many screws on his bike had been loosened.

Ezra Monasebian, an Urban Planning student, said he preferred to park his bike on the scaffolding outside Hunter North because it offered better protection from the elements.  “I like to prevent my seat from [getting wet in] the rain and snow,” Monasebian said.  “Racks to lock onto are nice but they [have] no overheads.  Some schools give students space to lock inside. That would be nice.”

“I park here [Poses Park] because the other racks are usually full,” said Sammy Frummer, 28, studying in the Urban Planning masters program, “but I feel safer leaving my bike in the park than on the street.”

Despite Poses Park's clean track record so far, some students, like Carlos Vargas, felt that security wasn't perfect.  “The security latch does not [re]engage after you swipe,” the Center for Puerto Rican Studies research associate noted.  The metal door will not immediately lock again until the door's exit bar is pushed.  In the time between when a card is swiped and the exit bar is pushed, the door can be opened and closed many times without a OneCard swipe.  Vargas has had his bike handlebar stolen while it was locked up outside Hunter West as well as two lights on a separate occasion.

Poses Park is named after Jack I. Poses, who served as Chairman of the City University Construction Fund. After Poses' passing away in 1982, his wife, Lillian Poses, donated more than $25,000 to Hunter College for the park to be built in her husband's memory.  Lillian Poses graduated in Hunter's class of 1927.  The CUNY board of trustees voted to officially name the park after Poses in April 2007.