City Backpedals, Says it is Now Making Space for Employee Bikes
Outdoor bike parking at 100 Gold Street
The stories are similar. Bike-commuting city employees ride to work, same as any other day. But when they get to their buildings they’re told they can’t come in — not with their bicycles, at least — forcing them to leave the bikes outside, in many cases unguarded against theft and the elements.
"There was no prior notice," says "Mike," a regular bike commuter to 2 Lafayette. "They just decided one day."
In addition to 2 Lafayette, home of City Planning’s Transportation Division and other municipal agencies, bike commuters were recently locked out of 100 Gold Street, where the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is located. Both buildings are managed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, or DCAS.
According to DCAS spokesperson Mark Daly, what appeared to be a coordinated crackdown — as reported on Streetsblog and picked up by the New York Post — was likely a coincidence, even though bringing bikes indoors is against policy due to safety and space concerns.
"It can be an evacuation hazard in buildings," Daly says, adding, "We have space requirements that we have to meet, and people work in cubicles and in group settings which in some cases may not leave room for everybody to bring their bike."
Enforcement of the rule has been haphazard at best, several city employees told Streetsblog, and seems out of step with the Bloomberg administration’s stated (if wavering) commitment to encouraging cycling. Not to mention the irony of a crackdown on bike parking in a city whose motoring employees continue to store their vehicles basically anywhere they please.
"All the cars have placards in them, whether they’re legal or not," says another bike-commuting city employee at 2 Lafayette. "We’re overrun with cars with placards."
But things are looking up on the cycling front.
"In response to the mayor’s focus and the interest among employees who want to have indoor bike parking when they bike to work, we’re seeking spaces and opening them where we find them," says Daly. In fact, Daly says DCAS had been looking to add bike storage rooms before the recent lockouts. As of Monday indoor space was to be available at 100 Gold Street, as well as the Department of Buildings at 280 Broadway.
"What we want to do in terms of opening these new rooms is to give everybody a chance to park their bike indoors, whether or not they have a private office," says Daly. "We’ve been able to work things out so far at two buildings, with a third hopefully on the way, and a fourth or fifth down the line."
Specifically, DCAS is looking for space in 2 Lafayette and 125 Worth Street, which houses the Sanitation Department and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
In the meantime, "Mike" has advice for city workers who must to make do with outdoor facilities: "There’s some racks at the Municipal Building. There’s a bunch of security guards there, so that’s generally the best place to park."
How about it, civil servants? What are things looking like on Gold and Broadway?