NYC Government Office Cracks Down on Indoor Bike Parking

The seemingly schizoid Bloomberg Administration continues to encourage bicycling with one hand while making it incredibly difficult with the other. Two weeks ago, amidst news of new bike lanes, on-street bike parking, and an impending bike lane media blitz, we heard about a gang of Parks Dept. employees clipping locks and seizing dozens of bicycles at the Forest Hills subway station in Queens.

Now we get news from a daily bike commuter who says that her employer — the City of New York — suddenly, and without warning, started cracking down on employees who park their bikes indoors. Rachel Stein is a 28-year-old project manager at the Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development at 100 Gold Street. She has worked off-and-on for three different City agencies the last six years. Here is an e-mail Stein forwarded to a friend last Thursday, published with her permission:

This morning I arrived at work as usual and was stopped by someone, I think from the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services, or maybe our building security, saying that, as of yesterday, bikes were no longer allowed in the building. I did not have a lock, and no notice had been sent out despite the fact that there are a large number of daily or occasional cyclists in the building. He said I could not enter. I had to call my boss and have her contact Security to let me in, making me late.

Apparently it’s been DCAS "policy" not to allow bikes into City buildings for some time now, but it was only enforced as of yesterday (with no notice). I was told that there may be plans for indoor bike parking in the future but no solid plans are in place. I was also told that security would be upped for the outdoor bike racks but was not told how or when that would happen. There are largely unmonitored racks to the side of the building, unprotected from the elements.

I’ve worked here for over two years and never had a problem. Apparently this has happened at other city buildings as well.

Anyway, I am just trying to get the word out to people that this is happening. The City is supposedly trying to encourage people to bike and bike commute. There are all these posters in the subway about bike commuters, and in fact a bike survey was conducted in my building a few months back asking about ways to encourage people to bike. Yet now they have implemented (or are enforcing) this policy that will certainly discourage people from cycling in. Seems a little backwards, doesn’t it?

Photo: Louis James, Flickr 

  • weeverling

    DCAS did the same thing about a week or two ago at 2 Lafayette Street. No notice. Employees have have been coming in with their bikes for the last couple of years and using the elevators with NO PROBLEMS. DCAS is supposed “Set policy for bicycles in city owned buildings” (p137 PlaNYC Mobility Needs Assessment 2007-2030). It seems they are doing the exact opposite of the stated purpose of the PlaNYC documents.

  • John Hunka

    Perhaps it would be helpful to write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg complaining about this policy. I think his office might act on your behalf.

  • ddartley

    Well, one good thing about the nyc.gov site is it makes it easy to contact City departments, which I’m going to do on this subject! I encourage other readers to do the same:

    http://nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/contact/contact.shtml

    Of course, John Hunka’s suggestion might be better–write to higher-up, the Mayor.

  • Ed Crotch

    let’s see, we have Mayor Bloomberg who is very green and encourages bicycling, then we have the NYPD who thinks that all bicyclists are hippie liberals. Not only that, you have site’s like uncivilservants.org which point out abuses by a lot of the cigty workers. So when these lowlifes want to retaliate, they take it out on bicyclists anyway they can without running you over.

  • pa

    what i wonder is this…
    why is bloomberg so out of touch with what people want as far as bicyle parking in this city? doesn’t he have people on his staff who read this blog and the like and inform him of what’s really happening in the streets? i think he’s done some good things for the city but he is out of touch or just plain not in the know on certain issues. any bloomie peeps read this blog have anything to say about this? it’s just amazing that there is no initiative for secure public bicycle parking in this city when he’s trying to “green” nyc. it blows my mind! how long can this go on already?

  • Tuna Loaf

    No offense to any DCAS StreetsBlog readers out there, but the people in the DCAS offices are a bunch of pencil pushers. They are probably for the most part completely oblivious to the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative, and are enacting this policy to save city building’s floors from bike tire scuff marks. It’s a bureaucratic decision which can probably be easily reversed.

  • Eric

    Anyone ever wonder if we just have TOO MANY city employees? Wanna bet we could eliminate half of them and run things more efficiently? I thought Bloomberg was going to operate NYC like a business.

  • Chun

    Bloomberg is running NYC like a business. Business to make money and rob hardworking people of their money. Look at all that fines, tickets and summons.

  • John Hunka

    I work in Civil Court at 111 Centre Street, and I’ve been trying for over a year to get a bike rack installed at the employee’s entrance to the building. More than eighteen months have gone by since I submitted my request to DOT, and I’m still waiting for a bike rack at that location. In the meantime, those of us who bike to work in Civil Court are locking out bikes to “no parking” signs.

  • Rachel

    I just wanted to point out that while my employment is mentioned in the article any comments I made or will make on this topic are not made as a representative of HPD or City government.

  • Perhaps..just perhaps: If we can combine the invention of Bike Claw from America’s Inventor (channel 7),this would alleviate the spacing problem

  • casper

    Hi from the motherland of all bicycles. Did I read that correctly, you bike around without a lock and expect to put it in the office next to your desk? That would be very strange indeed this side of the ocean. Locks are obligatory by law and rightly so. And it takes around 10 years of permanent exposure to all sorts of weather for tyour bike to wither down. So, luxury problem?

  • R

    Casper,

    I don’t know where you consider the “Motherland of all bicycles” since you did not say where you were from, but obviously you are not aware of the issue of rampant bike theft in New York. So, comprehension problem?

    No, locks are not obligatory here, why would they be if you aren’t parking outside? You need a lock to ride your bike around? Not to mention the fact that it would be one thing if, like many buildings, this was just another private building that had always required bikes to be parked outside. It’s another thing entirely when you work for the City of New York as a public servant and have always been allowed protected bike parking, and suddenly in the same year as the new DOT bike plan and Plan NYC 2030 and numerous campaigns to encourage cycling to work that privilege is taken away.

    Please check out the issues before making assumptions. Protected bike parking is a veritable necessity in this city if you want to keep your bike. Also, you might want to do a little more research on the affects of rain on steel, and particularly on chains/drivetrains, brakes and bolts.

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