Sunday, November 30, 2008


NYC proposes bike parking rules in new buildings

NEW YORK (AP) — Officials are proposing new rules that would greatly expand bicycle parking in apartment and office buildings around the city, the latest step in a plan to make New York one of the most bike-friendly places in the nation.

They believe making bicycle parking more available in buildings will motivate more New Yorkers to cycle to work or perform errands on bike.

Surveys show that the lack of secure bicycle parking prevents New Yorkers from riding bikes. Some people are leery of leaving even locked bikes on the street for fear they will get stolen, and many places restrict people from parking bikes on the sidewalk in front of buildings.

The rules would require one secure bike parking space for every two units in new apartment buildings and one space for every 7,500 square feet in new office buildings.

"It will really transform the culture of the city from a car-oriented city to a bike-oriented city," Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said.

The rules proposed Monday follow up on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2007 blueprint for a more sustainable city, which includes a push for greater bicycle use.

Transportation officials are doubling the city's bike lanes and expect to have 420 miles in place by June 2009. They also are installing thousands of on-street bike racks.

"We have found that one of the greatest impediments to more biking is the lack of space to store your bike long term at home and at work," Burden said.

Burden said the proposed regulations are comparable to those enacted in bike-friendly cities such as Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. "We have tried to be as aggressive as anyone and more," she said.

The rules would require weather-protected, lockable bike parking spaces at apartment buildings with at least 10 units, commercial office buildings, stores, hospitals, universities and automobile parking garages. They would apply to new buildings, enlargements of 50 percent or more and residential conversions.

Bike advocates hailed the proposal but said they hoped the rules could be broadened.

Elizabeth Kiker, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based League of American Bicyclists, said the league "applauds New York City for answering one of the biggest challenges for cyclists in the city with this progressive set of bike parking requirements. We hope that these will be extended to cover existing buildings in the future."

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a New York group that promotes cycling and public transportation, said: "Mayor Bloomberg's push for indoor bike parking in the zoning code is an investment in the future. We need to match it with bicycle access to the office buildings of today."

Burden said the rules would not burden developers unduly.

"You can fit 150 bikes in 1,800 square feet," she said. "It's not expensive to build at all."

But Mike Slattery, senior vice president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said some in the real estate industry fear there may not be enough demand for all the bike parking the regulations would require.

"It's driven by the right set of goals," he said. "We just don't want to see space set aside for uses that there's no demand for."

The Planning Commission will vote on the new rules after a public comment period lasting several months. If approved, the regulations will become part of city zoning law.

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