Wider Sidewalks & a Bicycle Park-and-Ride for Williamsburg

Streetsblog has gotten a hold of a draft of DOT’s plan to widen the sidewalk and install new bike racks at the Bedford Avenue L subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As diagrammed above, the plan calls for the elimination of five motor vehicle parking spaces on N. 7th Street at Bedford Avenue, alongside the subway station stairwell on the southeast corner (see the corner at the bottom of the diagram).

bike_stealing.jpgThe Bedford Avenue L is a popular park-and-ride spot for area bicycle commuters. With the bike racks on N. 7th between Bedford and Driggs often overloaded, it is common to see clumps of bicycles locked to street signs, subway railings and just about anything else.

Unfortunately, prior to this development, every so often park-and-ride cyclists would return home from work to find that their bikes were gone. As the New York Times reported last November, the bicycle thief was not who you’d think:

On Wednesday, 28-year-old graphic designer Miao Wang rode her
bicycle 12 blocks from her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the
Bedford Avenue L subway station. She locked up, boarded her train and
went to work. That evening, she emerged from subway to find that her
black Diamondback bicycle was gone. Ms. Wang’s
bicycle was one of nine confiscated in the latest police sweep of bikes
locked to railings, street signs and parking meters around the subway

DOT will be issuing a press release shortly and we’ll have more information on this promising and, I believe, unprecedented development. Does anyone know of any other cases in New York City in which on-street car parking was removed and replaced with bicycle parking? 

Photo: Untitledname on Flickr

  • Clarence


    Yes, I agree! I posted this as one example of what form it could take. One thing particularly good about this: it is amazingly cheap compared to pouring concrete and it can be easily removed and experimented with and expanded with small bumpers and could be started tomorrow.

    Space taken from parked cars and given over to peds, bikes, trees, or frogs should be celebrated. Frankly, I can’t wait for the DOT’s press conference on this cause I’ll bet alot of folks will show up to thank them and say “I thought I would never live to see this day.”


  • Johnny Walker

    Now that’s a nice solution they got in Oregon.
    Park the bikes in the street. Why can’t DOT do that here?

    However,since cars must feed about a dollar an hour to rent space, would cyclists with their smaller vehicles be willing to pay a fraction of a dollar, say 25¢ per hour, or is bike parking an inalienable right and not taxable?

    Just curious, George.

  • I would be happy to pay 10 cents an hour for parking like that (not 25 – that’s unreasonable). Although I think its absurd to try and get cyclists to pay money. They are the cleanest form of travel next to walking, if anything should be subsidized it should be clean forms of travel, right?
    I still think bikers would be happy to pay a small fee because the parking facility is so convenient.

  • I would pay for safe on-street parking. Even 25 cents an hour. However, given that a car takes up well more than 4 times the space as my bike, that car should pay way more than $1 an hour to park their car. That price is essentially free parking.

  • Johnny Walker

    “That price is essentially free parking.”

    $200/sq ft per year is considered a good price for built indoor retail space in downtown Manhattan

    However, at $1 per hour, meters charge for the 10 hours/day (9am -7pm average), six days a week, for 52 weeks over $3000 per annum.

    That is 15 times the $200.

    So, I don’t understand why folks on this Blog continue to say that motorists are getting a bargain.

    Tiffany’s at Fifth and 57th doesn’t pay $3000 per year!

    So, it makes me question all the other assumptions posted here, since simple math contradicts your most basic assumptions.

  • I think your math is pretty far off. I guess it is correct if you assume a car is one square foot.

    If you assume a car consumes around 60 sq ft of space (pretty conservative given some of the beastly SUVs I see around), then:

    Assuming metered parking is in effect 10 hours per day, 6 days per week (per your own assumptions)

    $1 per hour works out to:

    $1 / 60 =~ .017 / 100 = 1.7 cents

    1.7 cents per sq ft per hour
    17 cents per sq ft per day
    $1.02 per sq ft per week
    $4.08 per sq ft per month
    $53 per sq ft per year

    Given that many meters charge as little as 25 cents per hour, those figures drop to

    .4 cents per sq ft per hour
    4 cents per sq ft per day
    24 cents per sq ft per week
    96 cents per sq ft per month
    $12.48 per sq ft per year

    Should I do the calculations for the huge amount of free parking I see in many NYC neighborhoods?

    0 cents per sq ft per hour
    0 cents per sq ft per day
    0 cents per sq ft per month
    0 cents per sq ft per year

    Also, comparing public high demand space to a store front is ridiculous.

  • Johnny’s Manhattan retail rental rates are also way off. In November the Real Estate Board of New York reported that retail rates had skyrocketed to $1,000/sf on Madison Avenue, $479/sf in Midtown and $263/sf in the Flatiron District.

    A metered, on-street parking space is pretty much the best deal in town (aside from free curbside parking space, of course). Why bother renting an apartment anymore? Just buy a Ford Expedition, park it in a nice neighborhood, and live in it. Hell, put a bike rack on the back of the SUV and you never even have to move the truck except for street cleaning.

  • Steve

    FYI, the Times covers the demise of the manual parking meter in NYC this morning, and notes that the reasons for introducing metered parking in the city in the first place were the same twin objectives discussed at this site: reducing congestion and raising revenue. So I hope no one thinks that raising metered parking rates to market rates somehow represents a radical departure from existing policy. Metered parking (and, of course, free parking) is just about the only thing in the city that hasn’t kept pace with or outpaced general inflation. And even when the portion of the costs of maintaining the parking lanes on city streets, meters, administration of the metered parking system , etc. that are taxed against drivers are considered, those costs of PROVIDING the spaces clearly are less than the VALUE of the spaces provided at no or subsidized cost.

    “The first parking meter was introduced in Oklahoma City in 1935. After a trial run, meters were introduced in New York City on Sept. 19, 1951, to ease congestion — and provide revenue.”


  • Johnny Walker


    I said $200 was for downtown, where I work, not Madison Avenue.

    Greg, I was rushing when I did those calculations and I erroneously compared apples to oranges, ie. built indoor retail space compared to street parking. Sory.

    Let’s compare identical fruits.

    Indoor parking in Manhattan is about $500/month, average. Outdoor parking in a lot is about half that, $250.

    Curbside parking charges $10 per day ($1/hr for 10 hours),or $300 per month.

    And that is only for 10 hours, while the attended vehicles at $250/month get 24 hours of parking and not just 10 hours, and insurance for damages, and less vandalism and an attendant and a reserved space.

    A much better deal than metered parking, no matter what keeps getting repeated on this blog.

  • The vast majority of the city’s curbside parking space is free. How does that factor in to your calculations?

  • Johnny, you keep changing your argument. I think you may just be trolling us.

    And, to repeat back to you your own words as I leave this debate:

    “So, it makes me question all the other assumptions posted here, since simple math contradicts your most basic assumptions.”

  • Johnny Walker

    Yes, the vast majority of parking is free, but that is primarily in R zones, where, surely, people should be able to park on their own block.
    Heck, people were hitching horses in front of their houses forever. Then their carts. Now their cars. I think it is the CBD areas that are mostly metered.

    I agree with you that there should be more metered car parking and higher fees, but I guess this debate began when I also stated that bikes (private property) should be likewise charged for use of public space.

    Yeah, Greg, time to leave this interesting debate, keep up your efforts, and Season’s Greetings to you both.

  • Thankfully I live in Bushwick and can chain my bike to anything I want, unlike Williamsburg where image, realtors, yuppies and hipsters have screwed up the simple act of chaining up your bike while you go get food. One more reason not to go to Williamsburg.

  • And we set the record for most comments ever on a Streetsblog post. Congrats. Case closed. Now let’s go on vacation.

    Happy holidays and may NYC have a $90/year Bike Station (with showers, lockers and bike repair services) at a transit hub near you in ’07.

  • One more for the record books – Comment #65: What’s a BikeStation? Here is something fun I did for bikeTV many years back on Seattle’s Bike Station…


  • Jaime

    The math is off again. If the meters only charge for six days a week, then the monthly rate would be $1/hr * 10hr/day * 6day/week * 4week/month, which would equal $240/month.

    I think the real point though is not that curbside parking is cheaper than a parking lot, but that it should be put to a better use.

    And I think some pedestrians get so scared of/startled by bikes because bikes are much more nimble and unpredictable than cars.

  • I agree, Jaime, that in all of this math work, we sort of lost the point. The point isn’t that on-street parking prices should be comparable to ground-level retail rates. But, as Donald Shoup writes, parking rates should help promote and reinforce overall transportation goals — like how much motor vehicle congestion do we want on our streets, how much time do we want people spending circling blocks looking for parking, how much free parking space do we want available for deliveries, how much parking revenue do we want flowing into business district or city budgets…

    Wait, are we still talking about this?

  • David Chesler

    to ease congestion — and provide revenue

    Does ensuring turnover, so that paying customers have a place to park for when they come in, buy something, and leave, come under “ease congestion”? That’s certainly an actual purpose in the rest of the world (including places that have time limits enforced by parking enforcement but not meters.)


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