A post on the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff's Facebook page indicates that some poor, unknown soul got a parking ticket at Klyde Warren Park. Not a car ticket, but a bicycle parking ticket. If you've ever ridden a bike in Dallas and then unsuccessfully looked for a place to park, you'll know that giving a ticket to a bike chained to a pole is like kicking someone when they're already down. "As a whole, the city is obviously well in a deficit for bike parking," says Jonathan Braddick, a cycling advocate and founder of Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles.
The Klyde Warren ticket in question is an orange sticker placed on the bicycle seat, warning the offender that they are committing an unauthorized parking violation, like a badass.
Many people don't realize that the security situation at Klyde Warren Park is different than the rest of Dallas -- the park is a public space, but one that gets to go by its own rules, because daily operations are run by a private nonprofit foundation. The unusual arrangement gives the Klyde Warren Park security the authority to chase off anti-circumcision protesters, as Eric Nicholson reported, over worries they were scaring the children. And now it is evident that the park security has the authority to tell you to move your bike, and possibly even impound your bike if necessary, though Klyde Warren Park officials say they've never had to go that far yet.
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The park provides two bike parking racks -- what they say holds about 15 bikes -- by St. Paul Street and Olive Street. People who don't want to park their bike at the corners of the park will likely pick a pole on the sidewalk instead, which will spur security to go around and look for the bike owner. Once security finds you, they'll ask you to move your bike to one of the designated racks. But the owner of this particular bicycle was nowhere to be seen, so they got what Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green says is the park's first bicycle ticket. "The challenge with the bike," she says, is that "it was chained to the trolley stop" and parallel to the street, potentially blocking people as they got off the trolley.
In general, Green says, "we ask that if you chain your bike up that you chain it to the bike rack." If you don't want to do that, you can leave the bike in the grass or wherever you're hanging out, Green says, as long as you're staying next to it. And if people do leave their bike illegally parked somewhere -- or even overnight at the official bike racks -- "we would try to get the bike safely into storage," Green says.
Braddick, the Oak Cliff Cargo Bike founder, says that the park should consider installing more racks to encourage more people to ride there. The car parking situation there, in case you all haven't noticed, is terrible when the weather is good. "They [the bike racks] are located in corners, which is where they should be. But the park is so crowded, where else are they going to put any more parking?"
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.