Volume 4, Number 14 - April 22, 2014

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Tomás Monzón
Staff Writer

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a bike
Cruising: Tomás Monzón,19,a journalism major at Wolfson Campus is pictured here riding his black Dutch style city bike. Monzón has been using bicycles as his main mode of transportation for the past six years. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ

Miami Dade College Should Be More Accommodating To Bicycles

By Tomás Monzón

Through my involvement with The Reporter and my own obsession with bicycles, I have spent a large part of this spring semester thinking about the state of cycling at Miami Dade College’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. Anyone can 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 benefit even the largest mass of bicycles.

Simpler alternatives 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. Edwin Gines-Candelaria, Associate Professor of Biology at the Wolfson Campus, has had his 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, 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 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. College President Eduardo 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, if the administration is searching for ways to improve the college then this is precisely the right time to bring this issue to light.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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