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Old 11-30-07, 01:12 AM   #1
LCI_Brian
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Parking - Dealing with Corporate Security

I started work at a new office location (but same employer) this week. Today was the second day I commuted by bike. Rather than use the rack immediately outside the entry door and have to remove my lights, etc., I parked under an inside stairwell (less than five feet from the entry door) as shown in the attached photo. I figure the bike's not in anyone's way, especially if I'm parking next to some boxes that say "basura" (trash in Spanish) on them.

When I came back to the bike this evening for the ride home, there was a "please park bikes in the designated area outside" placed on the wall next to the bike, obviously put there by security.

I plan to talk to security about the situation, but despite the fact that I can't think of any good reason why I can't park under the stairwell, I bet they're going to insist that I park my bike in the outdoor rack, if for no other reason than "because the bike rack is there and that's where the bikes are supposed to be". I do have a big enough cubicle for the bike, but then the bike might get in the way of my guest chairs, so I really don't want to fall back on that option.

My gut feel is that I'm going to have to elevate this past security, possibly up to HR. For various reasons, any solution involving spending money won't happen. Has anyone else been in this situation before and have tips/advice to offer?
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Old 11-30-07, 01:37 AM   #2
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Not the same situation, but I dealt with corporate security before. Talking to the guards and general low level minions is useless. They are like robots, who just do what they are told. Most of the time without the understanding of WHY they are doing it. So talk to whom ever is in charge of security shift/division. Maybe even go through your manager.
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Old 11-30-07, 02:12 AM   #3
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Honestly, I doubt you're going to get anywhere. Yes, the bike rack is for bikes, and the stairwell is for basura. Keeps things in order. Prevents ten people from parking bikes there, and letting the basura pile up in the corridor, as a fire hazard and ADA violation.

Yes it's unreasonable in this situation, but that's how companies work. I doubt HR is going to trouble themselves with an exception for you, since they already provide what they probably think to be a very decent bike parking solution.

And do you really want your bike sitting in a pile of trash that's waiting to be picked up?
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Old 11-30-07, 02:39 AM   #4
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It is likely a fire code violation to have anything in that stairwell, as it is likely a fire exit. I would look for another secure place for the bike and remind them why the outside rack is insufficient for all day, every day use.

If they insist you park outside, ask them for a signed promise to insure security of the bike and cover any lose through building insurance.
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Old 11-30-07, 04:02 AM   #5
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I'm sorry to say it but they probably don't want the bike being wheeled into the building and making a mess of the floor. They are probably being like the nagging wife who doesn't want dirt on the carpet. Best thing to do is get a good lock and keep it where it belongs. It sounds like you have made your mind up that you want to argue with them but it really isn't worth it considering us cyclists are second class citizens anyway.

If you do take it to HR make sure they have a valid reason for not allowing you to park it where you want to. They will probably come up with some BS reason.

Good luck dude....
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Old 11-30-07, 05:46 AM   #6
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If they insist you park outside, ask them for a signed promise to insure security of the bike and cover any lose through building insurance.
And when they answer that worthless bluff with: "Fuggedaboutit," what is the next step?
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Old 11-30-07, 05:51 AM   #7
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Just take it up with you; remove the wheels if you need to save space.
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Old 11-30-07, 05:52 AM   #8
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I know this isn't what you want to hear, but stairwells = fire escapes. Neither the boxes nor the bike should be there. You should go to security and tell them that the boxes are a safety hazard and that the fire marshal might not like finding them there. I'm sorry. You're going to need to find a different place to lock your bike.
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Old 11-30-07, 06:29 AM   #9
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Leave a note on the wall that says "NO!"?
Silly signs were always one of my pet peaves. Ignore it.

Or like 'Basura" Leave a note that says "que?"
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Old 11-30-07, 07:08 AM   #10
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I work in a Corporate Security department and while we don't have a security guard force, we do perform physical security inspections weekly on facilities. In this situation, there are or could be several situations why this isn't acceptable to store your bike there. One could be the fire code issue like someone mentioned above, but the second could be a security situation. By having stuff sitting down in that hole, someone could easily conceal themselves. For that matter, the boxes shouldn't be there either. Doubt you'd get anywhere asking for the exception.

At my company, HR doesn't override Corporate Security so if it's a policy, I'd say look for an alternative, but if it's not, then maybe you can talk to the manager and see why you can't store it there. If it were me, I wouldn't care unless policy said otherwise.
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Old 11-30-07, 07:42 AM   #11
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I'm sorry to say it but they probably don't want the bike being wheeled into the building and making a mess of the floor.
Yeah, a bike probably tracks in half of what a person's shoes do!
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Old 11-30-07, 08:15 AM   #12
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Brian, just get your filthy bicycle outside where it belongs.


lol
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Old 11-30-07, 08:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
It is likely a fire code violation to have anything in that stairwell, as it is likely a fire exit. I would look for another secure place for the bike and remind them why the outside rack is insufficient for all day, every day use.

If they insist you park outside, ask them for a signed promise to insure security of the bike and cover any lose through building insurance.
Huh? like they've provided a signed promise for every car sitting in the parking lot?

And for all you people talking about fire escapes and exit routes... did you actually look at the picture?

--------

Anyway, fighting property management on something like this is going to typically be fruitless. They are going to be very protective of any common space. I'd say find a place inside the office for it. Later on, try the stairwell again.

Then again, it could have been left by the cleaning people who are just pissed that you took over their vertedero.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
It is likely a fire code violation to have anything in that stairwell, as it is likely a fire exit. I would look for another secure place for the bike and remind them why the outside rack is insufficient for all day, every day use.

If they insist you park outside, ask them for a signed promise to insure security of the bike and cover any lose through building insurance.
I bet the fire code restricts combustible material from be stored in the fire exit. The boxes themselves are a violation.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:50 AM   #15
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Yeah, although I didn't list it in my OP, I was wondering about the fire code issue. It is indeed a fire exit, but where the bike is parked doesn't block safe egress. (I'm surprised there's not a railing across, as I've seen in other buildings.) But I guess that doesn't matter, right?

Actually, my manager rides to work on occasion, mostly during the summer, but probably not as much now. He kept his bike in an area with unoccupied cubicles, but those have since been moved into. There's also another manager in the group that rides to work on a more regular basis. I don't know where he parks his bike, but I do know he doesn't keep it in his office. Also, I've seen another bike in the mirror image stairwell on the other side of the building - but no sign there (yet). If we all used the rack it would overflow.

Interesting to hear that security doesn't necessarily report to HR. I know security here reports to corporate security - but I figure on the local level the local security head has to report to someone locally, whether it's HR or the office manager - I have to find that out. Although I would probably only elevate the issue after I find an indoor storage solution that doesn't involve a potential fire code issue. This is a unique situation, as the company is currently desperate for qualified people, and I'm thinking HR would be a little more flexible than normal if it would keep employees happy.

I know the real answer is to organize all the bike commuters into a commuter club and speak with a louder voice, but unfortunately all of us are too busy to take the lead on that.
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Old 11-30-07, 09:19 AM   #16
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I know some fire codes prohibit storage of any kind (even enclosed such as a closet) under stairwells in commercial/public buildings. The reason is not (just) egress, but to prevent any combustible materials being under the fire exit stairs.

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Old 11-30-07, 09:58 AM   #17
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Ah, the combustible materials thing makes sense, thanks.
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Old 11-30-07, 10:10 AM   #18
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Fire code violation for ANYTHING to be in the stairwell. Our building owners actually took it to the extreme, and had a contractor come in and build a store room where the bicycle and boxes are in the original post's picture. So they can still store stuff there, but it's no longer in the stairwell.
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Old 11-30-07, 10:42 AM   #19
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I think it is better to determine the problem with the bicycle parking situation and suggest ways to fix it. Make it better for everybody, not just yourself.
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Old 11-30-07, 11:14 AM   #20
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I think this is a case of unrealistic expectations. I don't think your employer or building management has a duty to provide you with secure indoor bike parking. They don't do that for cars either, do they?

Especially if it as a fire hazard or safety hazard don't expect them to give in to your 'demands'.

One option would be to convince them that indoor bike parking scores major brownie points towards a LEED certification. If you are in a big city like Chicago thay may work, because the LEED certification rubs off on the Mayor. (Hey! Look! We are a green city!)
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Old 11-30-07, 11:36 AM   #21
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I would say if you have to move your bike, they have to move the trash. That being said, just get a second lock, leave it on the rack, and lock your bike outside. What's it take five minutes to lock up and strip your bike of it's lights? I guess I'm a little unsympathetic as I have to lock up in front of a college known for bike theft. It's not like you have to worry about it raining on your bike either, wel exept for today.
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Old 11-30-07, 11:45 AM   #22
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Boxes are definitely a fire code violation - just about anything at all in an emergency stairwell would be.

When we moved offices, we commuters approached our own company to improve the bicycle parking facilities and recommended the kind of racks we wanted. Company and building owners split the cost and we got just what we wanted. Don't go just to complain, go with a proposed solution - a different kind of rack or in a different place.
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Old 11-30-07, 05:11 PM   #23
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I would say if you have to move your bike, they have to move the trash. That being said, just get a second lock, leave it on the rack, and lock your bike outside. What's it take five minutes to lock up and strip your bike of it's lights? I guess I'm a little unsympathetic as I have to lock up in front of a college known for bike theft. It's not like you have to worry about it raining on your bike either, wel exept for today.
Well, that's true, it's not the end of the world if I have to lock the bike to the rack outside. But it doesn't mean I shouldn't aim for something better - that won't happen unless I try, and the worst I can do is end up with the bike on the rack. I do like the suggestions to go to the company with a solution, not a problem.
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Old 11-30-07, 05:55 PM   #24
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I don't see a problem here. They provided you with a parking area and a rack in, I gather, a reasonable manner. Do people working there ignore the parking lot and put their motor vehicles wherever they see fit?

By all means, try to improve the cycle facilities, but I'd suggest not taking the track of getting an exception for oh so special you.
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Old 11-30-07, 06:11 PM   #25
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I started work at a new office location (but same employer) this week. Today was the second day I commuted by car. Rather than use the parking spaces immediately outside the entry door and have to remove my personal items, I parked under an inside stairwell (less than five feet from the entry door) as shown in the attached photo. I figure the car's not in anyone's way, especially if I'm parking next to some boxes that say "basura" (trash in Spanish) on them.

When I came back to the car this evening for the ride home, there was a "please park cars in the designated area outside" placed on the wall next to the car, obviously put there by security.

I plan to talk to security about the situation, but despite the fact that I can't think of any good reason why I can't park under the stairwell, I bet they're going to insist that I park my car in the outside spaces, if for no other reason than "because the parking lot's there and that's where the cars are supposed to be". I do have a big enough cubicle for the car, but then the car might get in the way of my guest chairs, so I really don't want to fall back on that option.

My gut feel is that I'm going to have to elevate this past security, possibly up to HR. For various reasons, any solution involving spending money won't happen. Has anyone else been in this situation before and have tips/advice to offer?
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