Back in July, New York City’s Department of Transportation built sidewalk extensions and bike racks on a few automobile parking spaces-worth of street space near the Bedford Avenue subway stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was the first time ever that on-street car parking had been replaced by bike parking in New York City.
The Bedford Avenue L subway station is a popular park-and-ride spot for bike commuters and demand for the 25-or-so new bike parking spots almost immediately exceeded supply. Even though the NYPD has been aggressive about sawing off locks and confiscating bicycles in the area over the years, commuters have continued to lock their bikes to street furniture, subway railings and fences in the area. Now, it looks like the MTA is getting into the act as well. Aaron Curran sends along 3-minutes worth of camera phone video showing MTA workers "seizing" bikes locked to the subway railing.
Granted, Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t control the MTA — Lee Sander does — but the question must be asked yet again: How does the seizure of commuters’ bicycles fit into New York City’s long-term sustainability plan? Why is the MTA putting resources towards sawing locks and stealing bicycles rather than simply ignoring bicycles as they have done for so long or, better yet, outfitting subway stations and buses with bike racks, as is so common in so many other cities around the world? Perhaps it is time for DOT to accelerate its plans to install another set of bike racks on the northwest corner of Bedford Ave. and N. 7th St., catercorner from the subway entrance.