How Bike Corrals Expand New Yorkers’ Access to Businesses

A quick note about the new bike corral on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, which got a vote of approval from the local community board after hundreds of signatures were gathered in support of it. The Prospect Heights Patch reports that two local residents see the on-street bike parking as a symbol of gentrification and have started a petition to get rid of it. If you take a look at the numbers for car ownership and bike ownership, though, it seems pretty clear that more people are going to get some use out of this space as a bike corral than as car parking space, whether you’re talking about long-time residents or newer ones.

Photo: ## Sara Clark/Prospect Heights Patch##

According to the 2000 Census, the car ownership rate in this City Council district is just 33 percent [PDF], far below the citywide rate of about 46 percent. While the neighborhood may be different today than it was in 2000, these car ownership rates haven’t changed much. (Nearby Assembly districts saw car ownership increase between 2 and 3 percentage points in the 2005-2009 Census numbers.)

Meanwhile, the citywide household bike ownership rate is 54 percent, according to a recent New York Times poll. It’s probably safe to assume that bike ownership is higher in this part of the city, given the low car ownership rate, but let’s say it’s the same as the citywide rate.

That would mean 54 percent of the households in the neighborhood now have access to eight parking spaces by the curb here, while before, about a third of households had access to one parking space. On top of that, everyone now has sidewalks that are a little less cluttered.

  • Right, but in the end it’s about who makes a bigger scene when they don’t get what they want. 

    Plus, the automobile is a rather intoxicating object to many. Bikes… they make you look weird. But get in a car, a V8 sedan with leather interiors, four wheel drive, traction control, goes from 0-60 in mere seconds on a city street (where the speed limit is half that)… and then you can whip around corners and barrel down straight urban corridors at an unsafe velocity with the greatest of ease! It gives you a sense of living, to counteract the rest of your dead materialistic existence. It gives you respect, something you can’t earn just walking down the street on your own. It makes you comfortable and secure in a way only an extremely-low-metabolism activity can. And, in the commercials, there’s always a valet, everywhere you go. 

    To deprive people of parking is to ruin a fantasy that is pumped into our brains constantly throughout our lives. It doesn’t matter that the act of inappropriately using personal cars in urban areas is downright unethical. Sometimes we have to make exceptions and live a little, you know?

  • Ben Kintisch

    Well put, Ben. I recently walked past this great bike corral with my wife, baby Dalia sleeping in the stroller. When I told my wife that there was push back against the bike corral by a small group of neighbors, she looked up and down the commercial drag on Franklin Ave. and said, “Who in their right mind would drive to shop here? There’s no where to park your car? It makes much more sense to walk or bike!”  I married a smart lady. 😉

  • There is counter-petition in support of the bike corral here:

  • Anonymous

    Please Please sign the counter petition to save the corral.

  • Mark

    Aren’t cars also a sign of gentrification? One has to have the financial means to own a car in the first place.


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