Midtown BID May Transform Empty Lot Into Secure Bike Parking

The bicycle parking laws passed in New York City last year were important steps in taking the worry out of bike commuting. But many New Yorkers are still far from guaranteed a secure place to park their bike when they get to work. So this is welcome news: The 34th Street Partnership is looking to help cyclists who commute to Midtown by converting an empty lot on 33rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues into what they hope will be a state-of-the-art bike parking facility. 

33rd street lot_1.png33rd street lot_1.pngAbove: The possible future home of a midtown bike parking lot. (Image: Google Street View) Below: The bike parking facility in Chicago’s Millennium Park. (Photo: bkusler/Flickr)

The owners of the adjacent apartment building also own the lot, which they decided to give over for community use. "They came to us and said, what are your ideas?," said Jerome Barth, the VP of business affairs for the 34th Street Partnership. When Barth suggested bike parking, the property owners immediately latched onto the idea.

The parking would be operated by the Partnership, which hopes to make it more than just a few rows of bike racks. They plan to have room for at least 100 bikes, and potentially many more. In addition, Barth said he’s hoping to include a repair stand, showers, and a place for customers to buy drinks or snacks. For an idea of what it could turn into, check out this Streetfilm on Chicago’s deluxe bike parking facility at Millennium Park. 

As usual, the main obstacle to completion is money. The property owners have
committed about half the funds necessary, so the Partnership is
looking for another sponsor to provide the rest of the funding. For now, the Partnership wants to hear from cyclists to determine the level of interest in this kind of facility. If you would use secure bike parking at this location, e-mail Lindsey Boylan, the Partnership’s operations manager, at lboylan [at] urbanmgt [dot] com. 

  • Great idea! This would be very convenient for multimodal bike/train or bike/bus trips. Perhaps the Partnership or a franchisee could rent bikes to travelers coming in on train or bus.

  • Not exactly a good use of space. Parking, whether for cars, bikes, or horses takes up space that could be productive. Clearly the property owners value the “view” from their windows more than the economic windfall of proper development.

  • Perhaps a project like this would benefit from an online tip-cup system of donations? I, for one, would be happy to donate a few hundred dollars for a world-class facility like this, and I’m sure thousands of other New Yorkers would as well.

  • I was about to agree with Jass on this but then I thought if the lot was turned into a pocket park with secure bike parking similar to the bike parking facility pictured from Chicago, then it would be pretty cool.

    If it doesn’t have have any park elements to it then I totally agree that it would be better to put a building on that lot and just used the ground floor for a world class bike parking facility.

  • vnm

    Oh wow. The high-rise apartment building / movie theater next door was built c. 2000. Before that, the whole through-block lot was a depressing surface parking lot that reminded me of the decline of the city in the 1980s. When I first read the news about the new development I knew this part of town was on the up-swing. So, given that history, we’re already way ahead of the way things were. Jass is correct in theory – if a developer could be found in this economy to build a short building on a small 25′-wide lot. If that is impossible, the next best thing is probably bike parking.

  • I would much rather have a pocket-park with extensive bike facilities that could hopefully organically turn into a de facto mid-town cyclists hangout.

  • This is a fantastic idea that can be successful on many scales throughout the city, especially in connection to the remarkable network of bike lanes that are now coursing through New York. In terms of finances, aren’t there myriad bike companies that could sponsor the projects? It seems like an ideal place for them to advertise their wares. I question their hesitation.

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