Baldwin’s Long Island Rail Road station has undergone several repairs in recent years, with more renovations slated to come, but one issue that has plagued the station for years is yet to be addressed: Local residents and commuters say they leave their bikes locked up on the racks during the day only to have them stolen while they are gone.
“I’ve actually had two previous bikes stolen,” said Daniel Neuburger, a Baldwin resident who frequents the LIRR station. “Because I know there’s a possibility that’s going to happen, I usually get junky bikes, you know? Things that are barely functional so that I can get to the train station with them.” The bikes, Neuburger said, must be too “unappealing to be stolen.”
“Usually I can get about a year and a half, two years out of a bike before it’s stolen,” he added.
After Neuburger reported the multiple instances of bicycle theft on Facebook, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach, took up the call for increased security measures at the station.
Kaminsky wrote a letter to LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski, asking that the agency look into adding security cameras and bicycle lockers. “Many commuters do their part to relieve congestion and parking issues by biking to and from the train station,” Kaminsky wrote. “And they deserve to know that their property will still be there when they get back,”
The problem is not an isolated one. Residents and commuters have reported bike thefts at other train stations as well. A Baldwin native and current resident of Merrick, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “I’ve had three [bikes] stolen in Merrick, no cameras. Now I walk.”
Nassau County and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials could not be reached at press time for statistics on bike thefts at train stations.
Kaminsky was instrumental in securing $5 million in state funding to upgrade the Baldwin station. Planned upgrades include a new platform and waiting areas, charging stations, digital information kiosks, public artwork and LED lighting. Now Kaminsky would like to see measures taken to protect bikes.
The Town of Hempstead began a bicycle locker program in 2011 at the Bellmore LIRR station. There are eight lockers at the station.
In 2014, the Village of Rockville Centre installed six bike lockers at its LIRR station. The town and Rockville Centre bike lockers are awarded by lottery.