Can’t Find an Open Bike Rack at Rock Center? Tough Luck. [Updated]

rock1.jpgPhotos: Mike Noble

A report popped up on Twitter yesterday of a bike parking crackdown of sorts at Rockefeller Center. Per Mike Noble, a.k.a. bikewobble, security officers under "pressure from the city" were threatening to cut the locks of bikes secured to objects other than racks. Maybe this would seem more reasonable if there were nearly enough racks to support the demand for bike parking. Noble points to an inadequate number of racks, and notes that some, at least, are not secured to the pavement (see the photo after the jump).

Also: How is a bike chained to a sign post a threat to pedestrian safety or a "security concern"? We have a message in with DOT to see if the city is indeed involved.

Update: A DOT spokesperson says the agency is not aware of action by the city to regulate bike parking at Rockefeller Center.


  • Pursuant

    This sounds like a job for CityRacks. There is a form to suggest where additional bike racks are needed.

    If someone posts a particular corner etc. I will fill out the request.

  • phil

    I work at Rock Center, and they have the douchiest security of any place in the city. Everything is about the brand image of Rockefeller Center, it has nothing to do with safety. They won’t allow you to bike through the plaza, or even to roller skate through. Combined that with the fact that the guards are about the among the stupidest i’ve come across. That shot is near the corner of 49th and the plaza, right opposite the Today Show studio. Technically, the plaza is private property(which is why it is shut down and altered all the time, so that there is no implied easement to the public), so i doubt you could even get a rack there

  • phil

    And if it is obvious, the explanation that the city is cracking down is absolute BS.

  • bikewobble

    you’ll notice on the cityracks map that there’s a big hole around rock center. there are supposedly some large and small racks on 51st street, but they were absent last i checked. i’ll go check on that this afternoon and report back.

    you might look at that rack picture and think there seems to be plenty of room left for more bikes. i should point out that picture was taken at the same time security did their stickering campaign. if you take everyone locked to anything that isn’t a rack right now, not to mention all of the messengers coming and going, then there isn’t enough rack space. also ridership is down slightly with the cool weather. by next summer, especially with efforts to increase ridership, this will be a big problem.

  • bikewobble

    phil– what building do you work in? any progress on setting up a building plan for bike parking now that bikes in buildings has passed?

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Exactly. Rock Center’s plaza is private property. This is how they manage it. As Phil notes, the security guards there are truly among the stupidest and most heavy-handed and irrational in the entire city. The notion that a parked bike is a security threat is so absurd, it undermines confidence in the entire security apparatus. This is simply the extension of nonsensical office building bike parking policies to the “public” realm. What about my kid’s stroller and my grocery cart? Are those security threats too?

  • bikewobble

    just like the last time i checked, there are no racks on 51st between 5th and 6th, despite what the cityracks map says. i’ll see which BID i need to email about this.

  • bikewobble

    5th Ave BID denies it is their responsibility to provide racks at these locations. In other people’s experience, are most of the racks on the CityRacks map actually there? Is it more of a plan than a functional map?

  • Let them go ahead and try to cut my lock, just like the would-be thieves. I will chuckle over the millimeter-deep incisions they succeed in making, then get on my bike and go home. How dare they.
    Meanwhile in Paris, there are “two-wheel only” parking spots to be found everywhere on the street, where they belong.

  • Steve

    The stubborn folks who own the Time Warner Center won’t allow bike racks to go in anywhere on the perimeter around their building, either. It’s extremely frustrating for the customers of Whole Foods who would like to bike to the supermarket, and for employees in the building, including those who work at CNN. Yes, employees of the network that brought you Planet In Peril have repeatedly been told that they can’t do the green thing and bring bikes into the building, nor will the building allow bike racks to be installed around the building. They, too, have been told it’s a security concern. But the impression is it’s really about not wanting to mar the precious image of their high end condos, the Mandarin Hotel and the Shops at Columbus Circle. It’s extremely frustrating. Perhaps the city’s new law requiring buildings to accomdate bicycles and garages to provide parking for bikes will change things.

  • Brooklyn

    I’m with allostuni –let’s get Kryptonite to sponsor a few dozen Fuhgeddaboutits and pitch it like product research combined with social protest. Securely park a bunch of junk bikes in random “unauthorized” places around Rock Center and watch their security try to defeat the locks.

  • Dave

    Hmmm. As much as i support liveable streets, isn’t turnabout fairplay?

    Bikers complain about cars blocking bike lanes (as they should) when it is possible to go around.

    Can’t pedestrians complain about bikes blocking sidewalks even if it is possible to go around?

  • Brooklyn

    Dave, false equivalent — when was the last time was your path on the sidewalk completely blocked by bikes?

  • JerseyBoy

    am about to take a job at 1251 6th. does anyone know if they allow folding bikes into the bldg?

  • Ian Turner

    JerseyBoy: Fat chance. That is the Exxon Building. However, there are a lot of largish parking garages in the area, which are required to offer secured parking for a fee.


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