So You Want Bicycle Access to Your Building. Now What?

In the weeks ahead, cyclists will get plenty of tips about how to take advantage of the recently passed Bicycle Access Bill. If you feel like you can’t wait to reverse your building’s bike policy, here’s the best advice we can give at the moment: Bide your time and be prepared.

The law doesn’t take effect for 120 days, time that you can use to plan a strong request for bicycle access to your building. In the process set forth by the bill, if you work in an office building with a
freight elevator, the initial step is to have your employer file a request for bicycle access with the building
manager. But before you ask your employer to do that, you’ll be in a much better position if you lay some groundwork first.

Here’s how reader BicyclesOnly put it, in a very helpful comment:

  1. You get nothing unless the commercial tenant you work for requests a bicycle access plan. You stand a much better chance of convincing your employer to sponsor a request for a plan if you have your "ducks in a row" first. Don’t raise this with your employer prematurely! Begin talking with co-workers who bike about what a plan for your building should look like, anticipate the likely concerns of your employer, and look for guidance on how to make a successful proposal from TA and others in the coming weeks.
  2. Freight elevator access is another key issue. Once a building operator with a freight elevator gets a request for a bicycle access plan, freight elevator access may mysteriously dry up. Tomorrow, when you first get in to work and when you leave, take a peek and see if the freight elevator is in operation. Do this a few times over the next few weeks, and keep a written log of what you see.

We’ll post more advice soon, but for now, just keep in mind — don’t go off half-cocked.

Also, in what probably takes the prize for best use of StreetsWiki ever, BicyclesOnly has put together an entry breaking down the Bicycle Access Bill into plain English. It’s still in the "first draft" stage, but I’d say it’s essential reading before you start hatching your plan.

  • Felix

    I would suggest tipping the elevator people around the holidays.

  • CBrinkman

    And be nice, be nice, be nice. Get to know the security guards, the cleaning staff, the bldg engineers, anyone you will be sharing the freight elevator with. That way when the inevitable elevator break down occurs you will be more likely to have a way to get your bike in and out, or help finding a place to store it for the day.

  • Michele

    I am faculty at a health facility at NYU. They won’t even let us in with a folding bike to put under the desk. Any ideas on how I could approach them? They are very resistant. What loopholes do you think they will use? Is there a loophole for healthcare facilities?

  • My building, managed by Jeffries Morris, was bike-friendly before the access bill was passed — ‘freight elevator during its operating hours, passenger cars on off-hours, don’t bring your bike up and down the passenger elevators during rush hours.’ Completely reasonable policy.

    Now: No bikes in the building at all, after 4.30pm, when the freight crew goes home.

    My building management “ain’t gonna be told what to do by City Council.” That’s their motivation according to all the maintenance guys, who all think the new policy is absurd.

    It’s Jeffries Morris by the way, and my building’s mgmt tells me it’s a corporate policy, not specific to this bldg. I don’t know if they’re lying.

    I live in Yassky’s old district, I might accost him about this.

  • J. Mork

    Michele — can you put your folding bike in a bag? At one time I had a nylon bag that would hold mine, and Security didn’t bother me after that.

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