Read Brad Lander’s Pitch-Perfect Statement on Bike-Share and Parking

City Council Member Brad Lander released a pitch-perfect response to complaints about bike-share and curbside parking today. Other NYC pols should take note.

Council Member Brad Lander.

Every time bike-share expands to new neighborhoods, some people get upset — mainly because the local supply of free curbside car parking shrinks by a fraction of a percent. Last week Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side, demonstrated how not to respond — he validated those complaints by process-truthing and promising to “restore critical parking spaces,” as if parking for bikes that are used multiple times a day is a less productive use of curb space than storing private cars.

In Brooklyn, Community Board 6 has invited people to complain about stations they don’t like, with the expectation that DOT will move at least some of them, despite the fact that station sitings were guided by a lengthy public process.

Lander’s district overlaps with that of CB 6. A statement posted today on his web site is a remarkable example of how elected officials should communicate the value of these types of changes. Here’s an excerpt:

There are approximately 25,000-30,000 parking spots in CB6. Citi Bike has taken away 150-200 of them — about ½ of 1 percent. I know that is small comfort if several of them are right near your house. But it is also important to remember that 57% of the households in our community don’t own cars. And for every parking spot lost to Citi Bike, there are approximately 5-8 bike-share trips per day (far more times than a typical side-street parking spot would be used).

It is, indeed, often very difficult to find parking in our neighborhoods – and this can lead to maddening trips circling the block looking for parking spaces. This is bad for traffic, bad for the environment, and bad for our mental health!

Over time, though, the only real answer to the shortage of parking is fewer car trips. The way to achieve this is to enable those people who can to use transportation alternatives: investments in mass transit, new technologies (e.g. car-share, and eventually driverless cars), and bike-share. If those investments help just a small fraction of people decide they don’t need a car, then we will quickly get back all of the spaces lost to Citi Bike.

You can read the full statement here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “If those investments help just a small fraction of people decide they don’t need a car, then we will quickly get back all of the spaces lost to Citi Bike.”

    Ah, but you also have to do something about the oligopoly pricing of rental cars in Brooklyn. Many of those cars are for trips out of town, with no close non-auto substitute. And non-drivers can be even more crazed out parking, because they have to find a legal place to park during alternate side.

  • Jesse

    You think he reads the comment threads?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    A reasoned statement from an NYC politician, its a miracle!

    There’s a math mistake though. For each spot there are ~8 bikes each making 5-8 trips a day.

  • qrt145

    Are you sure about that math? From what I remember reading elsewhere, there may be up to 8 trips per bike per day, but there are about two docks per bike, so that would make the average up to 4 trips per dock per day, but not all docks are average: some docks at the “edges” of the system, if not subject to rebalancing efforts, might have only one undocking event in the morning, sit empty during the day, and have one docking event in the evening. I would count that as one trip per day.

    (The detailed data is out there; I’m too lazy to look it up, but not lazy enough to type this comment…)

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I was going off of the last systemwide average I remember (7 trips per bike), but since there are ~8 bikes per removed parking space it seems unlikely to me that each is only doing one trip per day. I guess one per day is not out of the question though if a lot of Park Slope residents are using them purely for commuting. That’s really most of the cycling I do as most stores I shop at are within walking distance.

  • ahwr

    ~8 bikes per removed parking space,-73.99242,3a,75y,267.91h,67.77t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s1ljSaFWnZ_3owKpCz94uoQ!2e0!5s20141001T000000!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    Citibike says there are 39 docks at that station. Six parked minivans/SUVs. 6.5 bikes per parked motor vehicle. Parked more efficiently you might have 7 cars in that space. Would get it down to 5.5 bikes. Figure 6-7 bikes per parking spot is a better estimate than 8.

    This is a high use station. In September an average of ~327 trips per day either started or ended at Forsyth St & Broome St. If you are serving 50+ trips per removed parking spot you won’t match that with cars.

    Compare to a low use station. At Clinton St & Centre St you have 21 docks. There was an average 6.8 trips per day starting or ending at that station. 21 dock station would replace 3-4 parking spots. Say each car there in morning moves at some point during the day, and the spots are filled by the evening with an average of 1.17 people per car. That’s 7 person trips per day. Feasible to have low use citibike docks less space efficient than parking spots. Without knowing turnover on a block it’s hard to say if existing parking is serving ~2 person trips per spot per day, but it’s certainly possible it would be less than that.

    The 5-8 trips per day might refer to usage in CB6. Not sure.

    From here:

    Station info, including number of docks

    Trip data. Unzip a month, load it into a database, count the number of trips that start or end at a dock, divide by days in the month.

  • Vooch

    one could also charge market clearing prices for car storage

  • JudenChino

    $250 annual street parking fee — would easily clear

  • tbatts666

    Articulate AF

  • Vooch

    you must mean $250 weekly car storage fee

  • Larry Littlefield

    I think you are overestimating the market clearing price, at least in the long run. When you have a car you have no choice, because you can’t get rid of it instantly.

    However, I think reality is somewhere between the two. I suggested an “incumbent parker” break of $20 per month to park on the street overnight, for those currently licensed and insured in the city.

    And market prices for anyone new in any area deemed to have a “parking shortage,” with the stipulation that the number of permits issued in that area would be fixed and new ones would only become available as old ones are surrendered.

    At least where I live I’d put the expected market price at $60 to $100 per month.

  • Vooch

    I’ll argue that on street parking should cost more or less the same as off street parking

  • Miles Bader

    Presumably the price is going to be similar to what you could get for rent if you used the real-estate for housing instead….

  • Miles Bader

    I’ll argue that on street parking should cost more or less the same as off street parking

    Hmm, isn’t on-street parking something you’d want to discourage for long-term use, because its accessibility makes it valuable for short-term use?

    So I’d think it should cost more than off-street parking, by at least enough to discourage people from long-term use.

    Your guestimate of $250/week for long-term parking (which I’d think is is probably low, but obviously it depends greatly on location) is only about $1.50 / hour. If you double that (to discourage long-term use), that’s $3 / hour, which is actually a fair bit cheaper than what seems to be charged today (according to the DOT website, for “high-demand” areas).

  • Vooch

    surge pricing for street parking is in order. Perhaps on a typically UWS-UES street:

    Daytime – $10/ 30 minutes
    Overnight – $20 for 10 hours

    seems fair and equitable

  • Guy Ross

    Is not investing the time to really get cozy with data and logic endemic to other politicians? Because Lander’s position paper seems so stark in contrast to most of his peers.

  • Guy Ross

    Will reducing the automobile ownership rates of Brooklyn somehow increase the numbers of rentals in those parking spaces? I mean once in a while a guy (me) who gets rid of their car rents over a weekend or something but overall, I don’t see this being a factor.

    A car gone is a car gone I feel.

  • Guy Ross

    in Chicago they have a street parking license fee of $140. It covers neither the true price for that space nor does it discourage car ownership. In NYC it would need to be a LOT more to affect trends I feel.


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