Wednesday: Ask the City Council to Pass the “Bikes in Buildings Bill”

3217126_72811cde7f_o.jpgTomorrow morning, Transportation Alternatives will hold a City Hall rally in support of the "Bikes in Buildings Bill." The bill, introduced in 2006 by Council Member David Yassky, would require owners or managers of "any building" to make "reasonable provisions" for bike access. The bill is intended to supplement a still-pending Department of City Planning rule that would require bike parking facilities in new commercial buildings.

A summary of the bill [PDF] notes that, "According to the Department of City Planning, the number one barrier cited by potential bicycle commuters is the lack of safe, secure places to store their bike." It’s a barrier kept in place not only by outdated codes, but also an inexplicable aversion some building managers have to indoor bike storage.

As the Bikes in Buildings Bill is consistent with the city’s stated goal of fostering more bike commuting and reducing air pollutants, and given the flexibility offered by the bill’s language, shouldn’t this be an easy one? 

Tomorrow’s rally will take place on the steps of City Hall at 10:45 a.m. Attendees are invited to RSVP to Peter Goldwasser.

Photo: Draconum/Flickr

  • rex

    I would like to see an amendment to the bill to include private parking garages. Parking garages should be required to provide secure parking in direct proportion to the current bicycle mode share, and the bicycle rate should not exceed the 1/20th the rate for a car space.

    So if you own a 200 space garage and charge $10/hr/space, and the bicycle mode share is 5%, then you would have to provide 10 bicycle spaces at $0.50/hr. This would be a money maker for most garages since it would be pretty easy to find previously wasted space where you could park a bike or two. Even if you had to devote an entire car space, it is pretty easy to park 20 bikes in a car space. Twice that if you stack or use some of the maneuvering space cars need to enter the space.

    Personally, I would be glad to pay for a secure space to avoid getting another bike ripped.

  • m-o

    it’s not just an aversion by building managers to provide bike storage. it’s an aversion by some building management to even ALLOW bikes in buildings! absurd.

  • Car Free Nation

    What I would like is more enforcement and awareness. There’s this general opinion (shared on this blog) that bike theft is inevitable. It doesn’t have to be.

    One suggestion would be for the police to leave loosely locked bikes in areas with known concentrations of bike theft, and to arrest people when the bikes are stolen. If this no-risk activity (stealing bikes) begins to have a known risk (publicized cases of thieves being arrested and charged), the number of crimes of opportunity will go down significantly.

    As of now, there is no risk. See this video for evidence.

  • Jay D

    I second the idea of legislation that would require parking garages to also provide pay bike parking. I would happily pay a reasonable rate to park my bike securely in a garage. There are many garages throughout the city that could surely set aside a space or two for bike parking.

  • This is Issue Number One. Please, please attend.

    More secure parking = hundreds more cyclists = safer pedestrians, safer cyclists, safer motorists.

    Please attend. Find a way to fit it into your day. Ask your boss for an oddly scheduled lunch hour.

    Especially since I can’t get there tomorrow! Please make up for my absence. And bring a friend or three. If it were any other day, I’d be there.

    Issue number one. Please attend.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I third the statement on the parking garages.

    Requring existing buildings to find a place for bicycles is more problematic, but if there was ever a time, it is now. Buildings are going to have space available. Meanwhile, the mass transit system will decline.

  • Larry Littlefield

    By the way, 7 am and 5 pm rallies might be better attended, and might get on the local news.

    I get 20 days off a year, including vacation, sick days, kids’ sick days, wait for the repairman days, parent teacher conference days, etc, and they have to be spaced to get my reports in on time each quarter. Asking for a day off to attend a rally like this one is asking a lot. I expect I’m not alone.

    The time of my arrival at and departure from work, however, is flexible. I expect that is also common.

  • I didn’t actually suggest taking a day or half-day off work, I suggested taking a weird lunch hour. That’s what I’ve done for past livable streets rallies, and what I would do for this one if I could. (Of course if you are comfortable taking actual time off work for this, cheers to you, do it.)

    I too would support legislation forcing parking garages to accept bike parking as well. And I’ll maybe mention that in the note I’m about to write to my Council Member, reminding him to support this bill. But regardless, I support the hell out of this bill and encourage everyone to attend this rally if they can.

    Here are a couple reasons this bill would have numerous, broad postive effects on the city:

    It would encourage workers–that is, people who are “real people” in the eyes of even prejudiced or dumb city denizens, building managers, cops, and politicians, to bike to WORK. We all know that as of now, the tens of thousands who bike every day are not enough to change eliminate the prejudices! More cyclists is the way to do that.

    More cyclists also make the streets safer. (Although I’d have to defend that point elsewhere, I don’t think I need to here.)

    Sure, there are lots of other things to work on, but please attend this rally! I see requiring buildings to offer indoor bike parking as probably the most important and effective way (through subsequent effects it would set off) to make this city dramatically safer for, friendly to, and respectful of cyclists.

  • Anon

    A simpler proposal and one that should easily gain support is a requirement that bike locking posts be made available on every block. There are so many places that you would expect to be able to lock a bike and there is nowhere to lock up to. For example, outside movie theaters, museums, post offices, hospitals, big box stores, supermarkets, government buildings, courthouses, etc. Personally, I don’t feel the need for fancy covered parking and attended lots or fancy sculptural bike lock posts. A simple upside down U on bolted to the sidewalk would be fine. If large building owners and managers would provide a concentration of these lockup U’s, then the mass of locked up bikes itself would provide a deterrent to theft because of all the coming and going of bikers.

  • Emily J.

    Obviously more indoor bike parking would be great – good luck at the rally! We also are facing a crisis with the lack of outdoor parking. For example, in Chinatown late one Saturday during Summer Streets, there were very few street signs that weren’t already clogged with bikes (and obviously, bike racks were few and far between), so it took a while to find any place to park. People who bike to the subway already are facing this problem in some neighborhoods – especially where NYPD has posted a not-so-friendly notice that bikes locked to the subway station railing will be removed. As cycling continues to explode in NYC, where will people lock up their bikes while they are shopping, dining, visiting friends, etc.?

  • Tracey

    I wish I can be there but I have to work. Last year I had to write a letter to the building manager and after much grovelling he allowed me to bring my bike to work. They told me many reasons why I couldn’t bring it. “Everyone will want to” and “chain it up outside”. The company I work for had no problem with the bike in the office but the building did not want me to bring it up on the freight elevator. I hope this gets passed!

  • Moser

    Regarding the main post above, it would be better not to speak of bike “storage” but of bike “parking.” One of the aversions of office building managers is that they will end up with a situation like a residential bike room that has a lot of abandoned bikes in it. We need to talk about parking commuter vehicles, not storing personal property.

  • Re: #1, I’d like to voice my support for requiring parking garages to accept bicycles at 1/20th the rate. It would instantly solve most of my bicycle parking issues in this city.

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