For every bike rack in NYC, there are more than 100 free parking spaces for cars
Current and recent mayoral administrations have failed to deliver on 11 separate plans to improve bicycle parking
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NEW YORK — Today, Transportation Alternatives (TA) released a new report detailing the considerable lack of bike parking in New York City, as well as specific recommendations for improving this crucial piece of transportation infrastructure across the five boroughs. TA also launched an online petition calling on Mayor de Blasio to invest in safe, secure bike parking.
In the report, The Power of Bicycle Parking: An Easy, Affordable and Effective Way to Save Lives, Encourage Cycling, and Create a Fairer New York City, TA argues that secure bicycle parking — just like a protected bike lane — is a critical utility that encourages more New Yorkers to travel by bike. At present, bike parking remains far too limited and insecure, and this disproportionately impacts lower income New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color, as they are less likely to ride when bicycle parking is unavailable. With bicycling booming, traffic fatalities increasing, and bicycle theft up by more than 27 percent, the time is now for the de Blasio administration to fulfill and improve upon long-overdue promises for bike parking.
“Simply put, there is not enough bicycle parking in New York City,” said Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director. “Despite more households owning bikes than cars, bike parking has taken a back seat to free private car storage on our streets. Even peer cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. have significantly more bike parking per-capita than New York. As more New Yorkers turn to bikes, our city needs to start building more bike parking now. Installing dedicated spaces at scale will send a strong signal that biking is safe, reliable, and accessible for all New Yorkers.”
Benefits of Bike Parking
The lack of bike parking is one of the top reasons New Yorkers cite for not biking or biking infrequently. Bicycle parking encourages more people to ride and makes cycling safer. It also encourages stopping and spending at local businesses, and research shows that, per square foot, bicycle parking earns business more revenue than car parking — up to 3.6 times more than space used by cars.
Shortcomings of Recent Bike Parking Efforts by City
The de Blasio administration and previous mayors have failed to deliver on at least 11 separate plans to build bicycle parking. These include failing to meet NYC DOT’s goals for building bicycle parking near transit hubs, adding 1,500 bicycle parking spaces annually, piloting secure bicycle parking in shipping containers and other bicycle lockers, and creating an interactive map of bicycle parking.
Under the Bloomberg administration, bicycle rack installations increased 16 fold between his first and last year in office and averaged over 2,800 installations annually in his final term. Meanwhile, the de Blasio administration has reduced the installations to half the number installed annually by his predecessor.
Transportation Alternatives’ Recommendations
Any plan to expand bike parking must start in lower income communities and communities of color, where there has been a lack of equitable investment in street infrastructure. More bike parking can have a disproportionately positive impact for lower income New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color as they are more likely to rely on a bicycle for transportation over recreation and less likely to live or work in buildings that offer bicycle storage.
Central to any bike parking plan is the need to transform free car parking spaces into spaces for secure bike parking. In the space needed to park only one car, the City can create seven to ten spaces to park bikes. The City should work with partners like the MTA to build bike parking near transit hubs and to leverage the expertise of the private sector to quickly expand bike parking where it’s needed most. Policy changes are needed too, to ensure the NYPD tracks bicycle theft, and to allow developers to build bike parking instead of car parking if this better suits a community need.
“At the height of the pandemic, I had relied on my used bike to commute more than four miles each way to Astoria, but during one hospital shift, my bike was stolen,” said Dr. George Syros, a cardiologist at Mt. Sinai Queens. “Thanks to the Bike Match program launched by Transportation Alternatives, I was able to get another bike, but nobody should lose their reliable transportation option while dealing with the already challenging COVID situation. Many hospital workers are biking to work now, and secure bike parking needs to be significantly expanded to meet this growing need. I hope that the city improves in this area in 2021.”
"We can't be a bike-friendly city without more bike parking, and the Council will continue pushing for more as we recover from the pandemic. Bike parking is part of cycling infrastructure, just like protected bike lanes, and we need more of all of it to encourage cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation as we rebuild our city,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“As Transportation Chairman one of my main priorities has been to decrease personal vehicular traffic throughout the City by encouraging New Yorkers to transition into more sustainable, safe, and efficient alternative modes of transportation and legislating the expansion of our cycling infrastructure. With the pandemic, our reliance on delivery services has substantially increased and delivery workers, many of whom are immigrants have not received any form of economic relief. These delivery workers rely on their bikes to do their job and many lose hundreds of dollars every month on stolen bikes. We need to ensure the City is installing the needed infrastructure so that all New Yorkers, especially our delivery workers, can keep their bikes safe,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “The 2020 cyclist boom has to be met with additional bike and rider safety. I thank all the advocates from Families for Safe Streets and at Transportation Alternatives for the work they are doing to ensure our City is the safest and friendliest city for cyclists and pedestrians.”
“Transportation policy is climate policy,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection. “So often we hear of emissions policies being talked about in terms of ‘getting a number of cars off the road’ that it’s easy to forget that sometimes, the best answer is to simply get the cars off the road. We can’t do that effectively, however, if there are no safe or secure places to store bicycles in most neighborhoods. The report released today shows that bike parking benefits environmental justice communities, small businesses, and our streets as a whole, and I want to commend Transportation Alternatives for their hard work on this issue.”
"Anyone would be amused or horrified to learn what New Yorkers do to fit their bikes in tiny studio apartments. I once had to put my bike vertically in a bathtub while visiting a friend for lack of bike parking or space in their apartment, " said Council Member Ben Kallos. "I fully support every recommendation from Transportation Alternatives and will work to make them a reality. We've already partnered with residents to place bike racks throughout the district anytime they are requested. I am particularly interested in the climate protected and even pods to protect bikes from theft."
"New Yorkers took to their bikes this past year in unprecedented numbers, seeking healthier and safer ways to get around the city during a pandemic. But our city still lags far behind in creating the infrastructure to support safe cycling for all communities. It shouldn't take years to get a bike rack installed in a high traffic area. It's time for NYC to follow through on its commitments, starting with much needed infrastructure in low income, communities of color. Transportation Alternatives is right: increasing bike infrastructure, including bike parking is key to helping people move around the city, supporting local businesses, and getting New Yorkers to work safely and equitably,” said Council Member Brad Lander.
“As this report makes clear, bicycle commuting is up, and adequate bicycle parking is crucial infrastructure for the increasing number of New Yorkers who rely on bike travel. It is critical that we work with our partners across government to provide equitable bicycle parking across the city, something that community leaders have long been calling for. Adequate bike parking is a delivery worker issue, a commuter issue, and a transit accessibility issue — and I look forward to collaborating on Council efforts to make these recommendations a reality. I thank Transportation Alternatives for assembling this report and to leaders like Shabazz Stuart and Oonee for showing what’s needed. These plans should drive the next steps in NYC bike infrastructure," said Council Member Stephen Levin.
"The bike boom is real. New Yorkers are turning to bike transportation more than ever, but we need places to park them. It’s critical that we open up new areas for bike parking, be they personal or shared bikes, including in key commuting areas like Midtown. Thanks to Transportation Alternatives for a dedicated focus on this,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“Municipal governments across the world ensure that their cities have adequate bike parking. It’s time for New York City to follow their lead. Sufficient biking infrastructure will help accommodate cyclists, many of whom are low income New Yorkers, all while enabling more residents to take up biking as an environmentally responsible, healthy form of transportation,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
"As more New Yorkers turn to bikes as a safe and affordable form of transportation, it's critical that our streets and infrastructure reflect this shift. For too long cyclists have held back by the fact that public space is overwhelmingly dedicated to cars and car parking. We can't wait any longer to create accessible and equitable bike parking in New York City, and I want to thank Transportation Alternatives for commissioning this report and I look forward to working with them to make this vision a reality," said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
"When more New Yorkers bike, we get less traffic congestion and we slash emissions from the transportation sector - our leading contributor to climate change. Expanding access to secure bicycle parking along with protected bike lanes will encourage more families to travel by bike and in turn improve air quality. This report also reiterates that what's good for our environment is also good for our economy as bicycle parking helps small businesses earn more revenue. We thank Transportation Alternatives for their leadership on this issue," said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
“New York City has fallen far short of even its own modest goals for installing bike racks, let alone building more robust secure bike-parking facilities. We can’t achieve the status of a world-class city for cycling if we don’t provide ample parking solutions, like those in many European and Asian cities. We applaud Transportation Alternatives for calling attention to the city’s bike-parking deficit, and we urge elected leaders to commit to the initiatives TA outlines in its report,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC.
"Convenient and plentiful bike parking is a low-cost improvement to make cities better for bikes. Bike parking not only incentivizes people to feel comfortable using a bike to get where they need to go, but creates the visibility required to normalize bicycling as a valid means of transportation within neighborhoods and cities. Bike parking is a critical part of city planning that can help people accomplish a wide range of personal, social and economic goals," said Morgan Lommele, Director of State + Local Policy at PeopleForBikes.
“Bike infrastructure doesn’t stop at the bike lane,” said Kate Slevin, Senior Vice President, State Programs & Advocacy at Regional Plan Association. “This is a challenge for our entire region and it is long overdue that bikes be prioritized on our streets as cars have been for decades. As our Five Borough Bikeways report outlines, bike networks should also include infrastructure to support riders - including bike parking, bike freight loading zones and monitoring technology to keep everyone safe.”
“Bike parking should be the easy part of the city’s cycling strategy. Its neglect is another head-scratcher by the de Blasio administration,” said Jon Orcutt, Advocacy Director at Bike New York.
“New York cannot become a cycling city unless we create a large-scale, public secure bike parking system that is both affordable and accessible to all. This is crucial 21st Century infrastructure that other large cities have invested in for years. Moreover, Oonee has shown that medium sized facilities can be built with community support, with no taxpayer subsidy and effectively service a broad array of constituencies. The time is now, we urge New York’s leaders to create a plan for a citywide bike parking system,” said Shabazz Stuart, Founder & CEO of Oonee.
"It is imperative that we create bike parking infrastructure within underserved communities. By doing so, we inherently encourage exploration of the city, inclusivity, safety and support of local businesses," said Milly Louis of the Good Co. Bike Club