Bike-Friendly Zoning Amendment Clears City Council

bike_parking.jpgPhoto: Department of City Planning [PDF].

Yesterday the City Council approved a zoning change that mandates secure bike parking in new construction, putting the rule into effect. The amendment will help cyclists avoid the risks of locking up on-street by requiring new apartment buildings and offices to provide space for people to put their rides. (Check out this table from the Department of City Planning [PDF] for details.)

We’ve said it before and it’s certainly worth repeating: This zoning change is a good step forward that will bear fruit in the long run; the missing piece — and it’s a big one — is bike access to existing buildings. To that end, the Bicycle Access Bill (Intro 871) would provide a much more substantial and immediate benefit to bike commuters by allowing them to bring their rides inside the workplace, if their employer consents. The legislation aims to reverse the policies of New York City landlords and property managers, most of whom don’t allow bikes inside. By drastically reducing the risk of theft, the bill could boost bike commuting by as much as 50 percent.

After holding a committee hearing on Intro 871 last fall, legislators are currently tweaking the bill’s language. We have a request in with sponsor David Yassky’s office to determine when the revised bill will come up in committee.

  • It’s a start but I wish it applied to all housing.

  • Shemp

    This is a bigger deal than any Streetsblog/T.A. types seem to get. Take a look around at the levels of construction in this city and think out ten years. This is bike accommodations built into class I office towers, it’s bikes built into new apartment buildings and basically every other thing that ever gets built or rebuilt in a significant way in this city starting now. If you’ve ever seen a Dutch residence with bike ramps built into the stairways, etc. and thought “I want that,” you now have it. Most cities don’t. The lack of response or any supportive statements toward Amanda Burden and the City Council makes one really wonder what perspective and short-sight is at work here. Obviously it is what it is and zoning can’t address policies in existing buildings, but that really shouldn’t take away from what was accomplished here. Frankly it would have been very sad if the Yassky bill had passed and this aspect had been left untouched because that would basically give you freight elevator access to new buildings that had once again neglected bikes at the design stage. Fortunately, some beyond the “bicycling community” are thinking about this stuff.

  • saul

    Well done! Thanks to Transportation Alternatives for pushing this.

  • Duh

    So now what – we want to have half the people who ride the subway clogging our streets with their bikes? This is such a stupid idea. If you want fewer cars then stopping giving free parking passes to every city official, teacher, cop and their friends. Then charge ridiculous amounts for city street parking passes. End of the problem.

  • pfa

    re. posting #4: It seems you’re envisioning a kind of bicycle anarchy in which automobile drivers are impeded by throngs of bikers oblivious to the rules of the road. Yet there are other cities where a much greater proportion of street traffic consists of bicycles (like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Berlin) and everyone gets around just fine. Granted, the population density of New York City is greater, but we do have a fairly rational system of roads and for the most part, people know and follow the rules. I sense in your posting a general disdain for bikes and their riders, though, and unfortunately, that’s a perspective that a significant number of people seem to share. It’d be interesting to explore where that comes from…

  • Congrats NYC. This is certainly a big step forward. Adapting older buildings, which NYC will remain will be the challenge as noted. I agree with the author, but the devil is in the details…in this case the design. Even if bike parking is included in the design, if the bike parking is not easy and convenient, it may not perform as required. That said. Here Here!

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