City Backpedals, Says it is Now Making Space for Employee Bikes

100Gold2.jpg
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?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: DOT to Install Sleek New Bike Parking Shelters

|
While the NYPD, Parks Department, MTA, unnamed authorities and, of course, bike thieves, busily clip locks and cart off New Yorkers’ bicycles in great number, the Department of Transportation is making sure that not only do bike commuters have a classy spot to park outdoors, but their tushies won’t get wet when it rains. Next […]

Building a Better Bike Lane

|
This weekend’s Wall Street Journal has an massive, full-page report on bike friendly cities in Europe. Initially the arguments for more biking were mostly about health and congestion, but in the last year concern for the environment has become an important factor compelling people to travel by bicycle: Flat, compact and temperate, the Netherlands and […]

Now the MTA is Stealing Bikes in Williamsburg

|
Back in July, New York City’s Department of Transportation built sidewalk extensions and bike racks on a few automobile parking spaces-worth of street space near the Bedford Avenue subway stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was the first time ever that on-street car parking had been replaced by bike parking in New York City. The Bedford […]

New York City Ate My Bicycle

|
Streetsblog reader Stephen Kling submits the following: I pedal my little folding bike to the Metro North station every morning, fold it up, and ride the train from Larchmont to Grand Central, nearly every morning, then glide downtown to Union Square. My fellow commuters eye me warily over their Wall Street Journals. Clearly, I’m a […]

NYC Government Office Cracks Down on Indoor Bike Parking

|
The seemingly schizoid Bloomberg Administration continues to encourage bicycling with one hand while making it incredibly difficult with the other. Two weeks ago, amidst news of new bike lanes, on-street bike parking, and an impending bike lane media blitz, we heard about a gang of Parks Dept. employees clipping locks and seizing dozens of bicycles […]

The Streetsies

|
All in all it was a great year for New York City’s Livable Streets Movement. Here are the winners of our 2007 awards. See you in January… Best Livable Streets Project: The Ninth Avenue bike lane, Chelsea. Best New Public Space: DUMBO’s Pearl Street Pocket Park. Honorable mention: Chelsea’s Meat Market Plaza. Best Pedestrian Project: […]