Are small businesses that cater to cyclists less desirable than those who look to draw motorists? That seems to be the position of Queens Community Board 1.
DNAinfo reported yesterday on the board’s refusal to endorse a bike corral proposed by The Queens Kickshaw, located on Broadway between Steinway and 41st Streets in Astoria.
Owners Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler, the wife-and-husband team who opened the popular restaurant and cafe in March, say a “good percentage” of their customers arrive by bike — enough that Transportation Alternatives has declared The Queens Kickshaw a bike-friendly business. Yet without proper parking, customers have nothing to secure their bikes to other than a nearby meter.
Lim and Sandler went through the city’s CityRacks application process, but their request was denied by both the CB 1 transportation committee and the full board. Since DOT chooses to defer such decisions to community boards, these budding entrepreneurs are back to square one.
And here’s the kicker:
[T]he board denied the request “because it’s going to take up a very valuable parking space,” said Lucille Hartmann, District Manager.
She said the parking is crucial for merchants on Broadway and Steinway streets, which are major shopping areas.
“Many businesses there are competing with shopping malls where there is parking available,” Hartmann noted.
Got that? Community Board 1 quashed a request from a business for more parking on the grounds that it would take parking from businesses.
Speaking with DNAinfo, Hartmann suggested Queens Kickshaw customers could be accommodated by two new bike racks that will soon be installed at a library across the street. There was no word on where library patrons might park.
Hartmann was not available for comment on the board’s decision. Meanwhile, Lim and Sandler — who, it must be said, are being awfully gracious about this — are giving it another shot. They have posted an online petition, which they plan to present to the board once they gather enough signatures. At this writing they have 324 names and counting.