Williamsburg Bike Parking Woes

A Streetsblog tipster writes in with a nice slice-of-life dispatch:

I was on North 7th street in Williamsburg this morning and I passed a young woman locking up her bike in front of a residential building. There were a handful of old-timers in front of their building complaining about the bikes — "pretty soon there’ll be no sidewalk left" etc. It struck me because it was about two blocks from the much-publicized NYPD bike-lock-cutting & impounding that happened outside of the Bedford Ave subway this past year. It’s clear that there are not enough bike racks in this area. It creates a hassle for cyclists and annoys longtime neighborhood residents. Again, the cyclists are viewed as the problem.

If only there were some place they could put those bike racks. Wait a minute–

montreal_709618.jpg200px_Bentham.jpg

Above is a picture that Aaron Naparstek took in Montreal, showing some two dozen parked bikes, most of them occupying street space that might otherwise have been land-guzzled by just two automobiles. To recap, that’s 24 bikes or 2 cars. Let’s put that to the test: Which parking space allotment would 19th-century British utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham say tended to promote the greatest good for the greatest number?

  • mfs

    Perhaps this item is related!

    DOT has promised a 50-bike parking facility build in the place of a parking spot next to the Bedford L entrance for a couple years now. I remember the bike cutting the 94th did in the summer of 2004 was supposed to speed up the process, but I guess to no avail.

  • i think we need to get this benthem guy a job in city government. is he available?

  • I thought it was John Stuart Mill.

  • I think the enormously influential 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume has a more holistic view that avoids the determinism trap one runs into when dabbling in utilitarianism. But for your purposes, the random philosopher you picked will probably do.

    He looks so… how can I say this: taciturn.

  • MFS,

    Your comment makes one wonder: How long do you think it took the City of Montreal to install this 50-bike parking facility? One day? Maybe a week? It really doesn’t look very complicated or expensive to throw a couple of bike racks up on the street. What could possibly be taking NYC DOT so long? Man, if I were a member of the Community Board in Williamsburg, I think I might just get approval from my Board, raise a few bucks, go out and install a bike rack myself and see what happens.

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  • Frank

    Are there any guerilla movements to simply take parking spaces from cars. From the picture, it looks as though this could be thrown up in a couple of hours, with proper preparation. Realistically, though, this may create even more ill-will towards cyclists. But who knows, a guy can dream.

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