NYC bike parking
A bike parking revolution in NYC

New York City bike advocates are taking matters into their own hands to provide adequate bike parking solutions for the 1.6 million bike riders who are currently under-served by the city.

Starting this week, transportation advocacy group Transportation Alternatives announced they will be running a low-cost, secure valet bike parking service at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

For $3 a day, or $30 for a month, people who ride will be able to leave their bikes with a bike valet in a fenced-off area manned by security. Riders can drop off or pick up their bike between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30am. and 3:30pm to 7:30pm.

Bike parking start-up Oonee have also come to the party with one of their secure bike parking pods for anyone who wants to store their bike overnight, and to provide a place for bike delivery workers to store their bikes for free.

Oonee, who claim to be passionate bike advocates, have designed secure bike parking units that fit into one car parking space and can hold about six or seven bikes, plus a pump for public use. They plan to run these bike parking pods as a free service, funded by advertising displayed on the unit, like a bus shelter or newsstand. 

“Secure bike parking must be open and accessible to everyone,” said Stuart from Oonee. “We’ve learned that people don’t want to pay for another service — they already pay for bike share, for the subway, for Netflix. So advertising and sponsorship is appropriate in commercial areas, just as with bus shelters, newsstands and LinkNYC terminals. 

Stuart has a vision of these units being rapidly deployed around the city once the city gives the green light and investors see that the concept works.

"People should be empowered to request one of these for their curb space. Why should a person with a car be unilaterally allowed to say, ‘I’m going to take up eight feet in front of this random building?’ Why can’t the majority of residents of the block say, ‘No, we want to use that space for bike parking’

Despite recent investments into separated bike riding infrastructure, New York City is seriously lacking bike parking, with an estimated one bike parking spot for every 116 bike riders.

A recent report by Transportation Alternatives said that the city is undermining local businesses, abetting a rise in bike theft, slowing the use of bikes for commuting or errand running, and even undermining public safety because of a lack of bike parking. An estimated 1.6 million bike riders are under-served by current bike parking solutions.

After that report came out, Mayor de Blasio appointed intellectual property lawyer Hank Gutman to the position of DOT commissioner, with a mandate to install 10,000 bike-parking spaces by the end of the year. None of these constitute secure bike parking.

Oonee have vowed to install two ad-free pods somewhere in the city based on public votes to kickstart the bike parking revolution. 

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.