Locking up @ downtown garage — risk?

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jamesk
Participant
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Where I usually work I’m able to lock my bike up in a pretty secure spot that I can see from my desk all day long.

Tomorrow I’m biking downtown to our home office for the first time. I’ve just learned that our building doesn’t allow bikes in the building, although if I remember right we have a rack right outside.

Our HR person, who is apologetic about this, suggests that there’s a rack in the public parking garage nearby. My bike is a relatively new Trek hybrid and I worry about the prospect of theft. Am I unnecessarily paranoid?


dwillen
Participant
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Use a U-lock through the frame/back wheel and cable lock the front wheel, and make sure it is all attached to an actual bike rack that is bolted down. Remove bags/lights/pumps/water bottles. If you do this, with all the shitty locking jobs I see around town, you should be more than fine.


jamesk
Participant
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I’m going to hope that the city garage’s rack is bolted down… otherwise, that sounds entirely doable. Removing all my stuff is already a habit. Thanks!

I haven’t yet ridden this far before, I’m looking forward to it.


Swalfoort
Participant
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There are some locations that are more visible than others (in a good sense). Depending on where in downtown you will be going, I’d recommend the following options (just based on general impression/word of mouth):

Federal building – just left of the main entrance to the building on Liberty. It’s up a few steps and sort of behind a fence, so most people on the street don’t know the rack is even there. Would YOU want to mess with a bike locked just a few feet from where people are going through metal detectors?

Portico of the City County Building on Grant. Again, removed from the street, not a key loitering location.

Portico of the Parking Authority Garage on Sixth and Smithfield, opposite Weiner World. I prefer to lock to a railing there (you’ll see what I mean) but there are three rivers racks there as well.

Century Building Bike Center on Seventh Street opposite Bossa Nova. Behind the green shipping containers are vertical and horizontal racks. Again, obscured from street view, not in a location with a lot of general loitering

Parking Authority garage off of Third Avenue (by Art Institute) Bike parking area is wide open, visible from elevators, etc. No dark corners for anyone to hide in while trying to mess with your bike.

I don’t know of much closer to the Point — too much construction/variability there in recent months.

With all these suggestions, I echo earlier comments that if you love your bike, you should lock it right. That means U lock at a minimum, U lock and cable preferred. And lock to something that you’ve taken 30 seconds to determine is actually solid.


pinky
Participant
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If you’re closer to the point, the racks in Gateway Center are good options.

If you’re standing at the fountain facing Gateway 1, there is one in front of you to the left of Gateway 1 (best), behind you between the Hilton and the next Gateway (second best), and one to your right by Stanwix St (third best).

My ratings are based on accessibility vs heavy foot/loitering traffic. 2nd and 3rd best are by heavily used bus stops, and I don’t like bored people waiting next to my bike.

There’s also one by the rubble formerly known as the Gateway T stop, but with the construction and heavy foot traffic, I’d avoid it.

There are also racks in the garage on 6th and Ft Duquesne Blvd, but I skip them because my office is in Gateway and it’s kind of dirty in there.

Lastly, there are some on Stanwix between Ft Duquesne and Penn in a little alcove in the Highmark Building. There’s a security camera there, but I never park there because the racks tend to fill up quickly.


jamesk
Participant
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Thanks Swalfoort — the Sixth and Smithfield garage is where I’ll be locking up.

I have been U locking at my current (ridiculously safe) site, but I’ll bring a cable downtown with me also.


bikeygirl
Participant
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While I’m lucky to bring my bike inside my office, the Garage at Wood Street & 4th Avenue is always brimming with bikes, and there is security people in that area 24/7 with view of the racks, so they are always monitored and covered.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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sixth and smithfield is a good one. another is 9th and penn, the entrance to that parking garage. pretty visible, although the bikes there tend to be locked up well so you gotta keep up with those particular joneses


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I use the Pgh Parking Auth garage at Smithfield/Liberty/end-of-9thSt. There are three places to lock up:

a) Outside the entrance doors off of Smithfield;

b) Just inside the garage by the pay station; and

c) A set of 3 Rivers racks at the bottom of the exit ramp from upper floors.

All are solid and I’ve never had a problem locking up there, but my wheels are definitely lower brow. Do like previous posters said and you’ll be fine.

Remember also that you can ride many PAT buses for free within Downtown before 7. Doesn’t apply to G1/G2/28X. Info to have if you don’t want to walk a few blocks, for whatever reason.


Tabby
Participant
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thanks Stu I totally forgot about that!


JZ
Participant
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When I park my bike downtown, I usually use the one at 9th and Penn. Good visibility, good security, although it’s not a secret, so there’s competition for spots there. ==everyone on thorough locking and taking stuff with you. When I’m doing this, it’s usually because I’m meeting someone for after-work dinner/drinks, so I’m typically fetching it before midnight. I haven’t tried leaving it overnight, but it sounds like you aren’t doing that either.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I agree that Ninth and Penn is a good garage. I should have included it on my list. I decided not to as I have a vague memory of a relatively recent report of a bike having been stolen from there? My memory says it had been left for several days, but I was not confident of that, and I haven’t used those racks in a while, so I left it off the list.

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