Eyes on the Street: NYC’s First Bike Corral Underway on Smith Street

Reader Jeremy Charette sends this shot from the corner of Smith Street and Sackett Street in Brooklyn, where a crew was installing what I believe to be a genuine first for NYC: on-street bike parking.

Eight bike racks are getting bolted into the blacktop in what’s currently a no-standing zone. In addition to the added convenience of the bike parking, anchoring the racks in the pavement will keep the sidewalk uncluttered and prevent illegally idling and/or parked cars from obscuring sightlines at the intersection.

The safety dividend should be significant, Jeremy writes:

Since I moved in seven years ago, I’ve seen countless car accidents at the corner of Smith and Sackett in Brooklyn. Problem is, drivers coming from Sackett Street can’t see around parked cars on the Southeast corner of the intersection, making it a blind corner. Cars tend to roll through the stop sign on Sackett Street, and at least 1 or 2 a year get t-boned by vehicles coming down Smith Street.

This year they finally put up a “no standing” sign for the two spots before the corner, but cars and trucks STILL park there!

I came out this morning to find this! They’ve painted the no parking zone, put up a curb, and are installing bike racks!

In Portland they call this on-street parking set-up a bike corral. NYC DOT has reclaimed curb space for bike parking before, but that always entailed building out the sidewalk, which is pleasant but comes at a considerable expense. This new treatment effectively preserves pedestrian space too, at a much lower cost. (There’s also a hybrid treatment at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station, where DOT added bike parking to an epoxy-and-gravel sidewalk extension.)

It’s great to see bike corrals arrive in NYC.

  • Streetsman

    Just saw that on PMA: http://pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-bike-racks-installed-at-one-of.html

    One concern though – doesn’t the spacing of those racks look a little too close? Will have to hear from people who lock up there

  • Streetsman

    Just saw that on PMA: http://pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-bike-racks-installed-at-one-of.html

    One concern though – doesn’t the spacing of those racks look a little too close? Will have to hear from people who lock up there

  • brilliant ! we asked for those 4 years ago but could not get any traction! 

  • Seems like a great idea but I wouldn’t trust my bike to those racks. I suspect the only other thing they’re good for is making it less convenient to ride a bike after the thief has pried it from the ground.

  • Brooklyn D

    Great idea.  What is the plan to maintain the space since street sweepers won’t be able to get into it? 

  • @8145b7c958ee0f93dd7538720fd0dcec:disqus a big part of the process in getting these installed was agreements with local businesses and civic groups to maintain it with light sweeping etc since sweepers can’t get through as you noted. More of these can be planned if we get more businesses to support.  remember this? http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/24/paco-abraham-turns-duane-reade-on-to-bike-racks/ Maybe we should ask Duane Reade again to lend some support for racks?

  • Tyler

    Streetsman — That’s not the spacing you are seeing.  It’s just supplies on the ground.

    Brooklyn D — Same way tree boxes and curbs are kept clean (or not).  By neighbors and adjacent businesses.

    I’m just curious how long it will take for an article to appear in the NYPost denouncing this as the end of civilization. 

  • Tyler

    Streetsman — That’s not the spacing you are seeing.  It’s just supplies on the ground.

    Brooklyn D — Same way tree boxes and curbs are kept clean (or not).  By neighbors and adjacent businesses.

    I’m just curious how long it will take for an article to appear in the NYPost denouncing this as the end of civilization. 

  • Eric McClure

    @2e41801649b679a89dc1b0fcd1e68cec:disqus , I don’t think those spacers are set yet; the distance between them isn’t uniform.

    @twitter-19831590:disqus , I believe the racks will be anchored the same way they’re anchored into the sidewalks; they should be plenty sturdy.

    @8145b7c958ee0f93dd7538720fd0dcec:disqus , DOT would typically seek a local partner to maintain the space, like a BID or merchant association.  I would guess they wouldn’t be implementing this if they didn’t have maintenance lined up already.

  • Eric McClure

    @2e41801649b679a89dc1b0fcd1e68cec:disqus , I don’t think those spacers are set yet; the distance between them isn’t uniform.

    @twitter-19831590:disqus , I believe the racks will be anchored the same way they’re anchored into the sidewalks; they should be plenty sturdy.

    @8145b7c958ee0f93dd7538720fd0dcec:disqus , DOT would typically seek a local partner to maintain the space, like a BID or merchant association.  I would guess they wouldn’t be implementing this if they didn’t have maintenance lined up already.

  • Stacy Rosenstock,  I hear this from people all the time, but it doesn’t seem like it’s true.  The “staple” racks have a very similiar plate at the bottom of each “end” that holds four bolts-the same number as the new racks.  I would check for a secure connection to the ground, but there’s no reason to think that bike thieves would be able to pry the rack from the ground with any less difficulty.

    It would be much easier to cut through a signpost or an iron/steel railing than it would be to pry four 3/4″(?) bolts from the sidewalk.  Most of the racks that I see that have come unstuck from the pavement bear the scars of a car crash, a circumstance that affects all street furniture.

  • Stacy Rosenstock,  I hear this from people all the time, but it doesn’t seem like it’s true.  The “staple” racks have a very similiar plate at the bottom of each “end” that holds four bolts-the same number as the new racks.  I would check for a secure connection to the ground, but there’s no reason to think that bike thieves would be able to pry the rack from the ground with any less difficulty.

    It would be much easier to cut through a signpost or an iron/steel railing than it would be to pry four 3/4″(?) bolts from the sidewalk.  Most of the racks that I see that have come unstuck from the pavement bear the scars of a car crash, a circumstance that affects all street furniture.

  • Streetsman

    Check out the photos in the link I posted. Those racks look too close together and they look bolted down

    http://pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-bike-racks-installed-at-one-of.html

    Here’s the close up

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13550550@N08/6055614185/

  • Streetsman

    Check out the photos in the link I posted. Those racks look too close together and they look bolted down

    http://pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-bike-racks-installed-at-one-of.html

    Here’s the close up

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13550550@N08/6055614185/

  • I was actually hit on my bike at that intersection when a livery cab ran the stop sign there.  Did not know it was classified as one of the more dangerous intersections on Smith St, but makes sense.  Seems like traffic lights would fix that intersection right up.

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome. DOT for years said it couldn’t be done, who would clean it, etc.  When you want something to work you make it work.  Should be in front of the Schumer-Weinshall residence.

  • carma

    very awesome..  doesnt take parking from cars AND it gives extra MUCH needed parking for bikes..  ive said it for a while.  bike lanes are not very meaningful unless you can have a place to store your bike after you get to your destination.

    This is GREAT!!!

  • Here’s an after picture from this evening. The racks are spaced just far enough apart that two bikes can park opposite each other without any problems. They’ve also added a permanent white pole with red reflective tape to prevent cars from moving over and clipping the bikes’ wheels.

  • Brooklyn Biker

    So much faster, cheaper and better than building out the sidewalks…

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/07/12/an-nyc-first-on-street-parking-spaces-replaced-by-bike-racks

  • @8c971e7df1da9890699d262470da866c:disqus  It just occurred to me that one of the nice aspects of the on-street configuration is that you never have to worry about the awkward transition from pavement to sidewalk. Here the design compels you to just dismount on the street, but you can still get out of the way of traffic.

  • carma

    seriously, i cant believe how fast those spots were filled up.  i propose we put a LOT more of these in some of the No Parking zones all around the city.  drivers keep their parking, and cyclists now have a place to park

  • @gwhalin Traffic lights are not a safety device.  They are a “make cars go fast” device.  

    This bike corral is awesome!

  • cycler

    Great to see!
    I think I would feel more comfortable leaving my baby there, if there were jersey barriers on each end instead of little concrete curbs.

  • Scott

    wow, I didn’t know that NYC didn’t have an on-street Bike Corrals yet.  You guys have been moving along so quickly with all of the other bike facilities and I didn’t know this one was lagging behind.  Congrats New York!  Heres’ to more in the near future!

  • MRB

    I live at Sackett just a few blocks down. While cool, I don’t understand why this particular intersection is so dangerous – it’s just like every other intersection on Smith

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