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Bicycle Parking

New York City to Install 500 Secure Bike Parking Hubs In The Next Five Years: Sources

Your bike may finally get a roof over its head.

This could be the awesome future of your neighborhood. Graphic: Oonee

Your bike may finally get a roof over its head.

The Department of Transportation will invite vendors to apply to operate secure bike parking facilities with a goal of 500 hubs by 2029, Streetsblog has learned.

DOT's long-awaited effort to provide indoor bike parking on the street will finally get off the ground on Thursday when the agency announces a request for proposals for vendors to win the right to run the program, according to two sources with knowledge of the plans.

Bike parking stations on city streets would mark major milestone in making New York City more bike-friendly, culminating years of failed efforts to build secure bike parking in a city rife with theft.

A previous attempt under Mayor Bill de Blasio to "explore" secure bike storage pilots in Times Square, the Myrtle-Wyckoff pedestrian plaza and near Union Square fell apart in 2020 when DOT claimed it could not find vendors who met its requirements that facilities have staff and amenities like bike maintenance.

Oonee's bike parking pod at Williamsburg's Domino Park.File photo

As the DOT struggled to advance the concept, at least one company made smaller moves on a parallel track to promote a different version of bike parking.

Since 2018, local company Oonee, which provides free secure bike parking facilities funded through advertising, has opened locations in lower Manhattan, Atlantic Center, Grand Central Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The company also operates in New Jersey, where it's in the midst of expansion around Jersey City and other Garden State cities.

In 2022, Oonee partnered with the city to do a roving pilot of one of its smaller secure bike parking stations, in which the structure moved to five different neighborhoods for 29 days at a time. The DOT deemed that pilot a success, but had yet to advance a real secure bike parking program — until now.

The agency has made strides in adding outdoor bike parking, however. After DOT fell dreadfully off of its target to add 1,500 bike parking spots per year during the de Blasio administration, DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman promised to install 10,000 bike parking spaces over the next two years. The effort was a success. Per the Mayor's Management Report, the DOT installed 11,792 bike parking spaces in Fiscal Year 2021 and Fiscal Year 2022, a time period that stretched from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022.

An example of small-capacity secure bike parking in residential neighborhoods.NYC DOT

In the press release announcing the RFP, the DOT said that the winning vendor will be responsible for three types of public bike parking hubs:

  • The most common type of bike parking structure will be "small-capacity units" placed in residential neighborhoods that fit either standard bikes, or adaptive bikes and cargo bikes. The DOT noted in the release that a single curbside parking space could fit 10-12 standard bikes.
  • High-capacity structures that can "accommodate dozens of bikes at a time" are planned for off-street locations at transit hubs and other major destinations. Those structures will also need to fit adaptive bikes and cargo bikes, and may also include e-bike charging infrastructure.
  • The agency is also looking for "self-locking "open-air self-locking racks" that will go on sidewalks or the curb, can fit any type of bike and possibly charge e-bikes.
Examples of high-capacity bike storage near the subway and at a bus hub.NYC DOT

Secure bike parking is a necessary in a city where bike theft requires the use of industrial chains so heavy they scare and even baffle the police. Many apartments and apartment buildings in the city don't have room for bike storage.

A 2021 report from Transportation Alternatives noted that 1 out of every 4 households in the city reported having a bike stolen from them.

The updated outdoor bike racks that the DOT is looking for in the future.NYC DOT

Secure bike parking is also an equity issue: In a 2017 report, the National Association of City Transportation Officials noted that 47 percent of people of color said they would be more interested in cycling regularly if they had more access to secure bike parking.

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