Council Members Revive Bikes in Buildings Bill

bike_elevator.jpgThe gathering threat.

The Bikes in Buildings Bill is back on the table. Yesterday City Council member David Yassky re-introduced the legislation, co-sponsored by Council member Gale Brewer, and a transportation committee hearing is scheduled for December 8. The new bill, Intro 871, stipulates that building managers and landlords must allow tenants to bring bikes inside office buildings.

The bill also includes language requiring bike parking in new buildings, mirroring a zoning amendment unveiled by the Department of City Planning earlier this week.

Yassky spokesman Jake Maguire stressed that the bill is about access. "It’s a no-brainer that if you want people to stop driving and relieve crowding on subways, you need to allow people to bring their bikes to work," he said. "Hopefully this bill will have a speedy hearing and a speedy debate in the Council. With the support of 30 members we expect it to pass before the end of the year."

To review: The bill provides for bike access to existing buildings (which will constitute the vast majority of commuting destinations long into the future), and bike parking in new buildings. A few weeks ago transportation analyst Charles Komanoff gave us a quick-and-dirty estimate that bike commuting could rise up to 50 percent as a result of universal access to workplace buildings.

Crain’s Insider has reported that the Real Estate Board of New York opposes the Bikes in Buildings Bill. REBNY President Steve Spinola sent a letter to Streetsblog Wednesday outlining his organization’s stance, and confirmed his opposition to the new bill in a phone interview this morning. He questioned the city’s legal authority to mandate bike access and cited concerns about liability, arguing that access should be expanded voluntarily by building managers. More on that exchange later.

Photo: kate at yr own risk/Flickr

  • You know, I was just out in San Francisco where I was in so many buildings that bikes were allowed inside. It was second nature, bikes near people’s desks, in the elevator, people bringing them in stores, a part of the daily grind – no one seemed to mind. Really, what is the big deal?

    Once this passes, it is gonna be just like one of those things that people 10 years from now will be saying, “Why were we so against this?” There are so many things the Bloomberg administration has done (cigarette taxes and laws, new public space initiatives, school reforms) that generate so much up-front battling and then afterwards the world is fine and no one freaks out.

  • Larry Littlefield

    My suggestion — buy REBNY off by allowing property owners to charge $20 per month for indoor bike parking. Thanks to the federal tax credit deal, the net cost to the rider would be zero.

    At 30 square feet per bike for the space and circulation, that would be $8 psf per year. Not much when office space goes for over $70, but it might look good for the lease usable space in the building a year or two from now.

  • rex

    I would suggest in cases where something about a building that would make impractical to bring bike inside, building owners should be able buy offsets. In other words rent space in nearby indoor parking facilities if their building is unsuited to bringing bikes indoors.

  • briand derdiarian

    Ha! Just today I bumped elbows with my superiors over this! I work at the MoMA Bookstore with several other cyclists.One of them had brought in a bare frame that he was selling to another. At the sight of the frame the manager explained that it was going to have to be locked up outside!! I bring in my front wheel everyday, but no… not a frame! Needless to say they make the usual false claims about liability and fire hazards. I can’t wait for this bill to pass and I won’t feel second class just because i choose a cleaner and healthier form of transit.

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