For City Commuters, Same Old Story for Another Vehicle: Parking Is Scarce Carlos Martinez bicycles to work in Manhattan from his home in Jackson Heights, Queens...But when Mr. Martinez gets to his office on East Fourth Street, where he works as the Latin American liaison for an environmental group called Green Map System, he becomes the envy of riders across the city. That is because the office building allows him to bring his bike upstairs and stash it in a walk-in closet alongside bikes belonging to three or four co-workers.
“It’s one less problem for me,” Mr. Martinez said. “At least I know my vehicle is O.K., so I’m pretty sure I can get back home safely.”
It may seem like a simple sentiment, but having a safe place to store a bike at work is an urban amenity that ranks somewhere with having unfettered roof access or a key to a community garden. While people are generally free to wheel their bikes in and out of residential buildings, commercial buildings often ban them.
“It’s one of the biggest missing links preventing New York from being a world-class bicycling city,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that promotes bicycling. “It’s the No. 1 reason that serious, savvy cyclists don’t use their bikes to get to work.” ( Read more.)
A great article in today's Times, highlighting a critical challenge preventing New York City from becoming a true bicycling capital: lack of secure bicycle parking. The article finds bicycle commuters begging for space in offices, shops or parking garages: scheming to keep their bikes safe outdoors (including use of the heavy Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit lock); or finding a friendly courier service to store the bike.
Bike lanes and paths are often more politically attractive, because they are visible and provide media-friendly "ribbon cutting" opportunities for attention seeking politicians. But bike parking is equally critical to creating a bike-friendly urban environment. Efforts are underway in NYC to require commercial office buildings to provide space. Surprisingly in a city infamously thick with bike thieves, transit and high-rise office buildings, no mention is made in the article about creation of a Bikestation -type facility, similar to San Francisco's Warm Planet Bikes.