Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bike parking a challenge in NYC

Image of bike racks in New York City
From the New York Times, 07.01.08:

For City Commuters, Same Old Story for Another Vehicle: Parking Is Scarce
Carlos Martinez bicycles to work in Manhattan from his home in Jackson Heights, Queens...But when Mr. Martinez gets to his office on East Fourth Street, where he works as the Latin American liaison for an environmental group called Green Map System, he becomes the envy of riders across the city. That is because the office building allows him to bring his bike upstairs and stash it in a walk-in closet alongside bikes belonging to three or four co-workers.

“It’s one less problem for me,” Mr. Martinez said. “At least I know my vehicle is O.K., so I’m pretty sure I can get back home safely.”

It may seem like a simple sentiment, but having a safe place to store a bike at work is an urban amenity that ranks somewhere with having unfettered roof access or a key to a community garden. While people are generally free to wheel their bikes in and out of residential buildings, commercial buildings often ban them.

At a time when, city officials say, the number of people cycling in New York is soaring and the city has been implementing a plan to create 200 miles of new bike lanes, one glaring problem for those who want to cycle to work is the shortage of parking, particularly in areas like Midtown Manhattan.

“It’s one of the biggest missing links preventing New York from being a world-class bicycling city,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that promotes bicycling. “It’s the No. 1 reason that serious, savvy cyclists don’t use their bikes to get to work.” (Read more.)
A great article in today's Times, highlighting a critical challenge preventing New York City from becoming a true bicycling capital: lack of secure bicycle parking. The article finds bicycle commuters begging for space in offices, shops or parking garages: scheming to keep their bikes safe outdoors (including use of the heavy Kryptonite New York Fahgettabouditlock); or finding a friendly courier service to store the bike.

Bike lanes and paths are often more politically attractive, because they are visible and provide media-friendly "ribbon cutting" opportunities for attention seeking politicians. But bike parking is equally critical to creating a bike-friendly urban environment. Efforts are underway in NYC to require commercial office buildings to provide space. Surprisingly in a city infamously thick with bike thieves, transit and high-rise office buildings, no mention is made in the article about creation of a Bikestation-type facility, similar to San Francisco's Warm Planet Bikes.

Image: New York Times.
Visit: City Planning Unveils Bike-Friendly Zoning Regs, Streetsblog
Visit More indoor bike parking for NYC municipal workers, Newsday
Visit: Commuter Cycling Is Soaring, City Says, New York Times
Visit: More bicyclists in New York City, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Valet Bike Parking: Idea whose time has come, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Where's the bike rack (retail)?, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Bike racks are beautiful, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Shelter for smokers, not bikes?, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

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