City Council Bill Would Weaken Bikes in Garages Law, Keep Number of Spaces

ParkFast advertises its bike parking at Hester and Centre Streets. Photo: Noah Kazis.
Edison ParkFast advertises its bike parking at Hester and Centre Streets. Photo: Noah Kazis

Two years after the City Council passed the Bicycle Access to Garages law, which set aside space for bike parking in commercial garages, legislators are turning their attention back to the issue. In response to low demand for the garage spaces, a bill sponsored by Queens rep Karen Koslowitz would loosen up some of the design requirements for the bike parking spaces while maintaining the total amount of bike parking required.

A report from the Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee, chaired by Manhattan rep Dan Garodnick, lays out the current state of bike parking in garages [PDF]. The law has created 16,378 secure bike parking spaces but, according to a survey of the major garage operators, on average only 27.7 spaces are used each day. That unused space presumably has some garage operators chafing.

Koslowitz’s legislation, which received a hearing last Wednesday, wouldn’t reduce the number of bike spaces garages need to set aside. Currently, garages with more than 50 car spaces must provide one bike spot for every 10 cars, up to their first 200 car spaces. For garages with more volume than that, one bike spot is required for every 100 additional car spaces.

The Koslowitz bill would give garages more latitude in how to provide bike parking, however. A requirement that each bike be given a 2′ x 3′ x 6′ space, for example, would be eliminated, as would certain requirements meant to protect parked bikes from moving cars.

Caroline Samponaro, the director of bike advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, said she didn’t have a problem with the legislation. “The good thing about the bill is it maintains the same number of parking spots.” She said providing garage operators with some flexibility in how they provide the parking was a reasonable adjustment to a new law and that the important thing was that ample parking is still provided. “The lack of secure bike parking is one of the deterrents to people riding in New York. Parking garages can be part of that solution.”

Cost is also an ongoing concern for the Bikes in Garages law, though not one the Council is addressing. While many have cheered Edison Parking’s dollar-a-day bike parking rate, other garages have set rates so high it’s hard to imagine anyone paying them.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

More Bike Parking News From City Council: 20,000 New Spaces on the Way

|
Intro 780 will require commercial parking facilities to add spaces for bikes — and signs announcing the availability of bike parking. Photo: 12th St David/Flickr. Somewhat lost amid the excitement over the Bicycle Access Bill, last week the City Council passed a second law that will significantly expand options for bike commuters looking for a […]

How Much Would You Pay to Park Your Bike in an NYC Garage?

|
What’s a reasonable price for off-street bike parking? As New York City parking facilities start complying with the Bicycle Access to Garages Law, which took effect a little more than a month ago, the rates are looking pretty steep. This photo comes to us from reader BicyclesOnly, who says the $6 daily rate shown here […]

City Offers Tax Exemptions For Politically Connected Parking Operator

|
Raking in millions by inducing more traffic on Jamaica’s congested streets? It’s charity, says New York City, and the business that does it should not pay taxes. A local non-profit with politically powerful friends managed to get its off-street parking garages classified as tax-exempt, despite being used exclusively for commercial purposes. The Daily News’ Juan […]

City Planning Unveils Bike-Friendly Zoning Regs

|
The Department of City Planning revealed a zoning amendment today that would require new buildings to include space for secure bike parking. The lack of indoor parking is one of the biggest obstacles for would-be bike commuters, and the proposed zoning joins other initiatives to improve parking in existing office buildings. DCP’s amendment includes requirements […]

City Council Hard at Work on Pro-Parking Bills

|
Maria Baez wants all teachers to hit the road. Transit-riding New Yorkers, take heart. In these tough times, your City Council members are at this moment pushing a slew of bills that will make your lives easier. All you have to do is trade your MetroCard for a set of car keys. In December and […]