Bicycle Access Bill Clears City Council Transpo Committee

Yassky_BikesinBldgs.jpg.jpgBicycle Access Bill sponsor David Yassky, who first introduced his legislation in 2006, speaks at a press event earlier today.

As anticipated, this morning the City Council transportation committee voted in favor of Intro 871, the Bicycle Access Bill. The tally was 9-0 with one absence, sending the bill to the full floor for the Council’s stated meeting tomorrow. The law will take effect 120 days after that vote.

The final version of the bill isn’t online yet, but according to sources who’ve seen it, the core provisions affecting bike access haven’t changed since the last time Streetsblog checked in. The process of overturning bans on bikes will be gradual, as individual tenants gain access that used to be denied. Basically, the mechanism will work like this: If you work in an office building that has a freight elevator, and the property managers won’t let you bring your bike inside, you will soon be able to request a change in policy knowing that the law has got your back.

Many would-be bike commuters will still have fights on their hands as they seek to reverse anti-bike policies, building by building. Building managers can obtain exemptions if allowing bikes on the freight elevator is deemed to pose a safety risk, or if there’s an adequate alternative supply of secure, covered bike parking within three blocks or 750 feet of the building, whichever is less. It will be up to city inspectors to determine whether exemptions are justified (recent changes to the bill have centered on which agency will do the inspecting, DOT or the Department of Buildings). Streetsblog will run a more complete breakdown of the bill later this week.

Let’s remember that just a few weeks ago, prospects for 871 looked pretty dim, when transportation committee chair John Liu dashed expectations that it would pass quickly. More than a thousand e-faxes were sent out during the final push that followed. If you helped put the Bicycle Access Bill over the top, now’s the time to give yourself a pat on the back.

  • Sure, everyone that signed an e-fax deserves a pat on the back, but the biggest kudos goes to Transportation Alternatives. I don’t deny there were dozens of other major players in the mix of this great news, but it has all been under the guidance of TA and their dedicated efforts. Baby steps over many years – that’s how things get done and stay done. If it had happened overnight years aho, there would have been uproar and it’d be taken away just as quickly. TA persevered and made it happen.. and now I can almost taste Car-Free Parks in our city’s future. Thank you Transportation Alternatives.

  • Josef

    I cannot wait to personally invoke this bill wherever possible. Question: are buildings with no freight elevator exempt?

  • Yes, buildings without a freight elevator have a blanket exemption. That was a significant compromise — the biggest one made during this campaign, I believe.

  • baby steps Josef, baby steps. First we get the freights… then we get the passenger elevators.

  • This is great news! Thank you Trans Alt for your persistence and for everyone else helping move this forward

  • I may have simply missed it, but was there anything interesting that came out of John Liu’s “let me explain why I sat on the bill” meeting that he invited cyclists to attend?

  • What about buildings with no elevator? Or buildings where the cyclist works on the ground floor?

  • Lara

    Congratulations, Transportation Alternatives and team. This is a great step forward. 🙂

  • Paco said it best in relation to passenger elevators. To be clear, however, the bill does not affirmatively prohibit access and egress via a passenger elevator if a building wants to allow it; rather, it just remains silent on the issue and deals with freight elevators instead.

  • SL Green, look out!

  • Gwin

    Does this mean that buildings with freight elevators will have to let people take bikes into their offices, or that they will have to provide indoor bike parking…?

  • Scott

    Does anyone have an idea what the actual process entails? Is there a city office that will be handling requests/reviews for individual buildings?

  • gecko

    #1 paco, “. . . and now I can almost taste Car-Free Parks . . .”

    Car-Free Parks is nothing compared to this. Of course, they would be great also.

  • gecko

    This bill give people permission to do the right thing. Really nice.

  • D

    Brining a bike to work will still be a problem for many of us.
    The problem for me is even if the building allows bikes my boss won’t allow one in the office.

  • rah

    Yeah, does anyone have suggestions for lobbying your company/manager to allow bikes into the office? There is a bunch of unused, out-of-the way space where I work, but I was told that I can’t bring my bike into the office.

  • I’m so glad my anecdotal carfree story of the day is also timely.
    I went to the post office this afternoon, and since there are no bike racks outside, I rolled my loaner bike into the lobby. My bike was stolen over the weekend and a very kind friend is letting me borrow his until I get a new one.
    No sooner did my front wheel cross the doorway and a customer service representative shouts across the lobby “you can’t bring your bike in here!”I leaned the bike against the window in plain view and went on with my business.
    When I got up to the counter I asked the employee “Just for my own education, why can’t we bring bikes inside?” I was not familiar with the ‘no bike’ rule.
    The postal worker stumbled a bit and then managed to come up with “it’s a safety issue. Someone could trip.”
    “On a bike?? And you can’t trip on a stroller??” I shot back. The reason why shocked me. In fact, it seemed downright stupid.
    I understand there’s a huge difference between me and a baby in stroller, or a person in a wheelchair, but can someone tell me what I’m missing??
    I applaud New York city for hitting the mark and once again setting the standard for what’s hip and cool for the rest of the country.

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