As previously discussed, Providence experienced a period of unrest recently as bike locks were being cut by an over zealous city employee. An ecoRI article reports on the recent Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) meeting, where members had an opportunity to meet with Leo Perrotta, supervisor at the Providence Public Works Department. During this session, Mr. Perrotta:
acknowledged the issue and blamed it on one public works employee who he said had a tendency to cut locks of bikes chained to parking meters. He said the employee had been reprimanded and the policy suspended altogether.
Perrotta said that in the case of bike-lock cutting, typically the department is issued a work order to remove a specific abandoned bicycle. But he said there was never a blanket policy to remove bikes locked to signs.
“The only time a bike lock should be cut is when we give a work order for it,” he said. “It should only happen when a bike is abandoned, has no tires or has been stripped.”
As the ecoRI piece notes, this doesn’t agree with what they were told during their initial investigation of the matter. Earlier they were told the bike locks were being cut in places where bicycles were causing damage to the signs. Mr. Perrotta went to assure the BPAC:
that bikers should no longer fear locking their bikes to city signs, but he still cautioned, “Just be cognizant of the fact that there are times we have to repair signs when a pole is damaged.” So bikers may want to avoid locking bikes to damaged street signs.
This sure seems like they are leaving the door open for them to continue the practice of cutting bike locks… when it’s convenient for them to get some work done. Cyclists are again faced with the dilemma of trying to determine if a particular sign is “damaged”. How about the Public Works Department instead tag signs that are “damaged” so cyclists don’t have to guess? We are going to pass along this suggestion and will report back when and if it gains any momentum.