NYC Start-Up Surveys the Market for Bike Parking

bike_stop.jpgAn online survey for a start-up venture called Bike Stop NYC has been making the rounds on local blogs, hinting at the profit-turning potential of bike parking in the city.

The entrepreneurs behind Bike Stop posted the survey "to support their efforts to raise capital necessary to bring better bike parking options to NYC," reports the latest issue of TA’s StreetBeat.

Streetsblog has a request in to the Bike Stop folks to see how their business plan is developing. Having taken the survey, I can report that they seem to be considering a mixed-use bike parking facility/repair shop/gym/café.

Sounds a lot like this new place down in Austin. Lance Armstrong, care to invest up here in the Northeast?

  • Larry Littlefield

    I had a similar idea 15 years ago.

    The timing may be good, as an early-1990s commercial real estate bust may make space affordable, giving new ideas like this one a chance. (The lack of a similar bust earlier in this decade probaby hurt economic innovation, though some of it just moved to Brooklyn).

    My advice — the big cost is the “rush hour” delivery of hot water if the firm plans on providing showers.

    And make sure to come up with a reason you are not a “phyical culture establishment” or you’ll end up like Atlantic Yards or bike infrastructure in San Francisco — tied up in red tape. So make sure to claim the “primary use” in the bike parking facility/repair shop/gym/cafe is the cafe, Use Group 6. Everything else is an “accessory use.” Lie like an investment banker or a public employee union estimating the cost of a pension enhancement.

  • I welcome any solutions to secure bicycle parking. I hope these entrepreneurs would consider having multiple locations throughout the city, as it would considerably facilitate using one’s bike to commute and run errands.

  • They should also check out the Freewheel bike Center in Minneapolis.

  • My only concern about this type of business venture is that bicyclists are not that different from car-drivers: they want convenient parking directly in front of their destination! How far will a bicyclist be willing to walk from their parking spot to reach their destination? Don’t forget that bicyclists currently may have more varied parking options than cars do. They want security, but they also want convenience! The question is how much will they be willing to pay for each these things and which is more “valuable”. Presumably that is the kind of information they are hoping to get from this survey.

    In China, many spaces become ad-hoc (or formal) bicycle parking lots. Sometimes there is even someone there who watches over things, for a fee of course. Here is a picture of one such parking area near a university: and here is a ‘pay lot’ (note that there are more scooters parked there)

  • Doug

    I actually think bikers are very different from drivers. Drivers would almost never drive from their home, park in one location, and then expect to walk very far to their destination. If I’m already on my bike and active, who cares if I have to park in a somewhat inconvenient location? If I’ve biked a few miles into Manhattan from Brooklyn, I don’t mind parking somewhere and taking the subway or walking a little more to my office. If you consider that I could save $80 a month on my gym membership by combining my workout and my commute it would be worth it!

    Just getting one of these in the city would have a positive effect as it would lead to many more in convenient locations. Considering the concentration of people in any given neighborhood, I’m sure each one would fill up.

    Chicago has a great bike parking facility in Millennium Park. It’s not convenient to every building in the Loop, but it’s a great start and an impressive facility.

  • I consider bicycling as a completely “normal” mode of transportation. No assumptions that bicyclists are more or less active than anyone else. I don’t live in the NYC area, nor have I ever bicycled there so I cannot really say how I would relate to the various transportation options in that city.

    I live in Montreal and I bike around almost everywhere I go for as long as the weather permits – often with children and other things on the bike. At home and at work my bike is always inside and I have no need to lock it. For other places, unless I really do not know where I’m going, I will look for parking on the same block as my destination. If I had ridden a few miles across the bridge from Brooklyn, I am fairly certain that I would ride that additional distance to find some *convenient* parking!

    Now if there was no on-street parking available at all, that is another story. In Montreal the parking meters make very convenient bike parking stands and the city has finally recognized that this is a legitimate use of them, plus there are other more formal bicycle parking spots, with more being added continuously. But Montreal also has hundreds of thousands of bicyclists (literally) and finding a parking space can be difficult at times.

  • There are other populations who would be interested in safe places to change clothing and shower, including homeless people and transgender people – and of course joggers, skaters and miscellaneous athletes. I’ve always thought that cyclists should make common cause with these groups and not present their facilities as exclusively for cyclists.

  • t

    Actually, admitting that a bike parking and shower facility might be used by homeless people is pretty much a guarantee that it will never be built. I definitely think it should be advertised as a facility for multiple constituencies: runners, bikers, rollerbladers, etc. But you can be sure that opposition to these facilities will be largely based on the idea that they will be a magnet for homeless people looking for a free or cheap place to clean up.

    Not to be harsh, but that’s the political and social reality. Think of the opposition some communities have to pay toilets or even park benches! It may not be fair and it may not be just, but it is what happens.

  • Cap’n Transit

    Actually, admitting that a bike parking and shower facility might be used by homeless people is pretty much a guarantee that it will never be built.

    I understand that you’re not endorsing the opposition, T, but you could at least try to find a solution. There was a post on Brownstoner recently about homeless shelter expansions in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, and residents were saying, “we don’t object to homeless shelters, but we do object to housing a disproportionate amount of the homeless in our neighborhood.” One or two shower facilities in Manhattan would probably attract enough homeless people to draw objections, but if there were twenty or more facilities, it would be fine.

  • Doug

    I think that’s a great point, Cap’n. I’m all for any argument that could lead to more bike facilities!


Take the NYC Bike Parking Survey

Wallace Murray and Jason Nu are two graduate students in Hunter College’s geography department.  They have teamed up with New York City Department of City Planning’s Transportation Division to create a bike parking survey. They write: We are working with the NYC Department of City Planning Transportation Division to improve our understanding of the public’s […]

The 2011 NYC Streetsies, Part 3

The third installment of the Streetsies concludes 2011 for Streetsblog NYC, but we still have a few days left in our year-end pledge drive. Please drop a donation in our bucket to help support Streetsblog and Streetfilms in 2012. Have a great New Year everyone. We’ll see you back here on January 3. Elected Official […]

Where Do New York City Bike Commuters Come From?

Park Slope and Manhattan Valley have the largest numbers of bike commuters in NYC The Department of City Planning just released its 2007 New York City Bicycle Survey. With over 1,000 survey respondents, the report documents several trends and key findings regarding bike commuting, parking, and facililties in the city. Some of the highlights include: […]

Streetsblog’s Guide to the Democratic Mayoral Candidates

The September 10 primary is just a few days away, and over the course of this grueling campaign the candidates have had plenty of time to lay out their vision for New York City’s streets. Transportation Alternatives and StreetsPAC both put together detailed candidate surveys and compiled responses from the leading Democratic candidates. For Streetsblog’s guide to the Democratic mayoral […]