Ydanis Rodriguez Bill Would Open Residential Elevators to Bikes

The City Council is poised to eliminate a major hassle for many New Yorkers who own bikes. A bill from Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez would mandate that all residential buildings in the city allow residents to use elevators to transport their bikes to and from their apartments.

Council Member Ydanis Rodroguez
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who chairs the council transportation committee, introduced the bill today. It is co-sponsored by Antonio Reynoso, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Helen Rosenthal, and Ben Kallos.

From a Rodriguez press release:

Currently, many residential buildings have policies that prevent a resident from transporting their bicycle via the elevator. In some cases, the effects of these policies are as egregious as forcing residents to walk up ten flights of stairs with a bicycle on their back. Upon enactment, [the bill] would render these policies and lease agreements null and void and in violation of the Administrative Code.

These antiquated building policies cause an undue burden on cyclists. This bill would better the quality of life for the over 200,000 people who bike each day or the more than 500,000 adults use their bike at least twice month for exercise or transportation.

The last big move the City Council made to improve bike access was a 2009 bill that gave New Yorkers legal grounds to petition commercial landlords for bicycle access to their workplaces. That was a huge step, yet even now cyclists still have to deal with hostile landlords and building personnel. In 2014 Rosenthal and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer introduced legislation to permit folding bikes on passenger elevators in commercial buildings, but the bill stalled in the housing and buildings committee.

By passing both of these bills, the City Council would remove pointless barriers that keep people from cycling.

  • qrt145

    Finally! I always wondered why the 2009 legislation excluded residential buildings. Politics, I guess.

    I’m lucky that the building where I live doesn’t enforce the anti-bike rule that is technically part the building’s house rules, but I’ll be glad when I don’t have to depend on the mercy of the building’s management to bring my bike up in the elevator.

  • Simon Phearson

    The 2009 bill is better than nothing, but it still falls short in many ways, unfortunately.

    In order for me to bike to work, I have to get my bike into and out of the building during business hours. If I need to arrive earlier or leave later, I need to find a spot on the street to park my bike, few of which exist, and most of which are occupied by abandoned bikes (to say nothing of security concerns). The actual process of getting my bike in and out itself takes several minutes, requires the use of two different elevators (both of them slow, and which may not always be able to accommodate me when they arrive), and requires me to sign in and sign out with a loading dock security guard who may or may not be busy doing other things. When you factor in the fact that the building has limited or non-existent facilities for changing/showering, it’s not hard to see why virtually no one bikes to work in my building (which I can confirm by looking at the logbook).

    Being allowed to take my bike out, or to bring it in, through the main lobby would make it about ten times easier and safer, and significantly less time-consuming, for me to bike to work. Even the ability to get in or out through the loading dock in off-hours would help immensely. But as it stands, the building manager does the bare minimum required, and the result is an intentional affront. I’m told that local garage operators aren’t any different.

    We need a re-think on that law and to repeal laws that require cyclists to use (usually poorly designed) cycling infrastructure. Those two things would make my commute much easier, and me much more likely to opt for the bike.

  • Your experience mirrors mine. The loading dock and freight elevator of the building in which I work operate between 8am and 5pm. Only one of the two freight elevators operates after 3pm; so I have to get to the elevator by 4:45 in order to make sure that I can get out by 5:00. And this isn’t easy in the winter, when the mere act of getting dressed in multiple layers can take 15 minutes.

    And, of course, there is no bike access at all on the weekends.

    My building’s management, like that of your building, does the absolute minimum. The Bikes in Buildings Law says that a building must provide faclities for locking the bike. So the building provides these facilities — on a wall! I suppose that we’re lucky that it’s not on the ceiling.

    I can actually understand the ban on bikes using the passenger elevators and the main lobby during business hours. But, for such a ban to extend after hours is unreasonable. The law should have included a mandate on this question.

    After the hurricane, my office was temporarily located to another building, and I got to see some reasonable management at work. In the temporary building, the management allowed bike entry through the main lobby at all times of the day and night, and also on weekends. It was a pleasure not to have to watch the clock and start wrapping things up as it got to 4:30. After our regular building was repaired, I was sad to come back!

    Anyway, it’s about 4:25pm as I write this. So I have to start getting dressed!

  • joe shabadoo

    never understood why bikes are so offensive but strollers, rolling suitcases, razr scooters, etc. are fine.

  • qrt145

    Strollers are typically perceived as necessary. Plenty of people hate strollers (google “stroller mafia” or “stroller nazis”), but they realize that outright banning strollers from elevators is not going to be politically possible.

    Suitcases are typically perceived as occasional, as most people don’t travel every day (and those who do usually don’t have big suitcases), so they are easier to tolerate.

    Scooters are small and can be carried.

    In contrast, bikes are huge, unnecessary toys that take too much space in the elevator! Their wheels begrime the walls they touch! Bikes can fall and crush innocent puppies!

    OK, I’m exaggerating. But I think there is some reason for people to be annoyed if your bike takes half the elevator car during rush hour. That’s why I always let “pedestrians” take the elevator first when I have my bike with me.

    People sometimes complain that bikes will also begrime the floor, but that argument is absolutely ridiculous as they don’t begrime significantly more than any of the other objects you mentioned (or shoes, for that matter).

  • red_greenlight1

    Its possible that more people lock their bikes up outside. That’s what I do.

  • red_greenlight1

    This! If you can bring your freaking double stroller in then I should be allowed to bring my bike in.

  • red_greenlight1

    About damn time!

  • Andres Dee

    “Your bike will scratch the walls and track mud & poop on the rugs. The carriages and suitcases? Because they’re all doing something important. You, with your bicycle are just some weirdo in spandex. You’re not important and you’re not going anywhere important.” (/sarc)

  • Andres Dee

    You had me at “puppies”.

    (In real life, Andres loves puppies.)

  • Joe R.

    Maybe I might understand the ire about bikes in an office building elevator, and then only if they’re present during peak times. Most of the day they should be a non issue. I totally don’t get why bikes aren’t allowed in elevators in some residential buildings. It’s rare to never the elevator is so crowded the bike represents a problem. If it is, then the person with the bike can always wait for an emptier elevator. The reasons about grime are nonsense because they also apply to strollers or shoes. This bill is a great thing even though I don’t live in an apartment building. If I ever visit friends who do, I don’t have to worry about maybe needing to lug my bike up 10 or 20 flights of stairs.

  • Andres Dee

    It may be that many elevators are too narrow to accommodate bikes without raising them on their hind legs, which then risks nicks to the walls from various metal outcroppings. Elevator and corridor walls require pretty constant maintenance to not look shabby. I’ve lived & worked in buildings where management do and don’t commit to touch-ups and the difference is significant.

  • Joe R.

    That might be a valid reason but it’s rare these days to find elevators so small a bike would need to be held vertically, although I suppose some still exist. Those same elevators would also have difficulty with SUV sized strollers, making it likely they would have been replaced with larger ones.

  • qrt145

    One more thing: in many buildings it’s not even possible to take the stairs from the ground floor, because all the stairs lead to one-way emergency exits.

    (OK, it *is* possible if someone opens the emergency exit for you from inside, or if you go in and prop it open while leaving your bike outside. But that’s hardly a reasonable expectation in my opinion.)

  • Andres Dee

    I did not realize that elevators in existing buildings can be expanded.

  • Joe R.

    Sometimes they can depending upon what’s next to them. Someone I knew lived in a building where the elevator was next to a garbage chute. The space was used for a larger elevator. I’m not sure if older buildings need to comply, but NYC buildings 5 stories or higher require an elevator which accommodates a 24×76 inch ambulence stretcher: http://www.milrose.com/newsletter/code-question-what-are-elevator-requirements-for-stretcher-accommodation-and-emergency-power-supply/

    Obviously that makes them large enough to roll a bike in.

  • Simon Phearson

    How much theft do you have to deal with? How far do you go with anti-theft measures? Do you park in the same spot every day?

    All-day street parking would definitely simplify things. I’m just paranoid I’ll lose a seat, my brakepads, and my handlebar the first day I try it.

  • red_greenlight1

    I have two bikes a beater and a road bike. So how I lock is based on which bike I have. However, I always use a chain lock and a very tough Kryptonite U-lock.

    With the beater I put the Ulock through the rear triangle as well as the wheel and the chain through the front wheel and around whatever I lock to. With the road bike I take the front wheel off and put the chain and Ulock through that and then I weave the chain through as well. If I’m gone for more then four or five hours I carry the wheel in with me. once my bike is locked I give several strong tugs on both it and the object I locked to in order to ensure that it’s secure.

    I try not to park in the same place everyday but in front of one of my school’s building it is unavoidable. I’ve never had a bike nor a wheel stolen in 3 years of commuting by bike. I view locking my bike as not preventing it’s theft but making it so annoying that the thief goes to another less secured bike. I also try to lock up around less secure bikes.

  • Andrew


    Lol. Thanks for the fond memories.


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