The combination of the Bicycle Access to Garages law and the market’s invisible hand are bringing cheap bike parking to locations across Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. As of last month, every garage operated by Edison ParkFast, one of the largest parking companies in the city, is offering bike parking at the rate of $1 per day or $20 per month.
Edison was already offering bike parking at its larger garages, said Executive Vice-President for Parking Ben Feigenbaum, due to the requirements of the Bicycle Access to Garages law, passed last August. That law required all public lots with over 100 spaces to provide parking for bikes, allowing garages to set their own rates. “We attracted virtually no customers,” said Feigenbaum.
The bikes-in-garages law is set to take full effect later this year, covering all lots with 50 or more spaces — meaning every Edison lot. Rather than wait until that deadline hit, said Feigenbaum, Edison is trying to figure out how to make the economics of bike parking work now. “We need to offer low enough rates to see if people are really interested,” he explained.
So far, said Feigenbaum, “there’s been a few more people that have come out of the woodwork to park” their bikes, but most racks remain empty.
Why the low interest in what seems like a pretty good deal (especially compared to the exorbitant rates we’ve found at some garages)? It may be that potential customers haven’t learned about the offer yet. People may also be reluctant to pay for bike parking when some of the same signs advertising low prices tell cyclists that they park at their own risk. On top of that, cyclists have to bring their own locks. So even if prices are down, the added security of going to a garage isn’t as high as it could be.