Friday, August 8, 2008

Herndon council discusses confiscating bicycles

In order to harass day laborers in Herndon, Councilman Husch wants the town to confiscate bicycles parked in public rights-of-way. Maybe if the town provided adequate bike parking people wouldn't have to chain bikes to trees and signs. There is almost no bike parking in Herndon despite the fact that the W&OD Trail runs through the center of town. Our favorite bread store, Great Harvest Bread Co. has a rack, but they are the exception.

We plan to find out more about Councilman Husch's proposal and will also contact the county bike coordinator to make sure that Herndon police don't start harassing bicyclists. You can tell Councilman Husch what you think of his idea by sending him an email message. He's not the only one on the council to support the idea:

"At least three other council members - who along with Husch make up a majority of the seven-member council - agreed.

In e-mails obtained by The Times, Vice Mayor Connie Haines Hutchinson and council members Bill Tirrell and David Kirby all voiced agreement that the issue should be addressed."

We're surprised that the town council is discussing town business via email since according to the Virginia Open Meetings law "All meetings of public bodies shall be open" and "No meeting shall be conducted through telephonic, video, electronic or other communication means where the members are not physically assembled to discuss or transact public business." As we learn more we'll post info here.


Not quite right. First the proposal is to confiscate bicycles chained to trees or sign posts in the right of way. The right of way is defined as that space between the edge of the sidewalk, across the utility strip to the curb, across the street to the opposite curb, across the utility strip and to the edge of sidewalk. Further if additional bike racks are needed at bus stop, the will be installed. Finally, in my fourteen years of service on Herndon’s Town Council I have never been asked to get a bicycle rack installed, anywhere.
The blog posting appears to be correct. The memo at says

"Establish a Town policy to confiscate all bicycles that are chained, tied to trees or road sign posts in the public right-of-ways."

Which matches the blog's posting "confiscate bicycles parked in public rights-of-way"

Having a bike rack at every bus stop in the Town of Herndon is great idea I look forward to seeing that happen, as a town of herndon resident please consider this a formal request. We should also mandate that every business which is required to provide car parking must also provide bike racks.
Councilman Husch,

Please let me be the second to ask you to see that bike parking is improved in Herndon particularly at the shopping centers along Elden street. I am not an "official" resident of the Town of Herndon but I live very close and consider myself from Herndon.

I am a born and bred American Navy vet. I ride my bike all over Herndon sometimes with my kids by choice(That means I have a car with gas in the tank). We often have to find "creative" ways to secure our bikes. Sometimes no racks are available and sometimes the racks that are available are very hard to find.

There are times I go to a store or restaurant in Reston rather than Herndon because I can't find a reasonable place to park my bike.
Councilman Husch,

Which problem is this supposed to solve? If the point is to harrass day laborers, then adding racks at bus stops would appear to work against you.

If you're going after day laborers, then find a way to go after only them. Selective enforcement of a broader law doesn't count; you can't trust that it'll be used only that way in the future. It seems to me that going after bike parking and alcohol permits is overly broad and impacts too many other people - lawful business owners and ordinary citizens. Go after the organizers and employers if there are illegal hiring practices taking place.

If the problem is that bikes locked to signposts are affecting traffic by falling off the curb and into the road, then provide more bike parking in the areas where it's a problem. You don't have to wait to be asked - most cyclists only lock to signs and parking meters when they don't see a real rack, so it's a good sign one is needed.
I agree that the item related to bikes is overbroad.

I have a hard time finding a bike rack in Herndon.

I took it for granted, as I'm sure other law-abiding citizens did as well, that I could simply chain my bike up to something safe and sturdy (like a tree) if no bike rack presented itself.

PLEASE reconsider this item and its potential to adversely affect cyclists like me who visit Herndon when we are out riding the W&OD, Councilman.

If you are going to take away what cyclists have come to see as a current bike parking option, then you do want to ensure that you have adequate bike racks around to take up the slack first.

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