New York City has been slow to install sufficient numbers of bike racks. Now, in several fell swoops — and after over 400 community board meetings — the CitiBikeRacks have been installed all over South Manhattan and North Brooklyn. However, ordinary city cyclists still need ordinary city bike racks.
Problem solved, hardly.
This evening at the Bike to Work party hosted by Transportation Alternatives we saw a future battle that will be played out here in NYC, between CitiCyclists and city cyclists. Visitors to the party had claimed every pole-like object within 200 yards of the party. Some, unable to find nearby bike parking, saw the CitiBikeRacks and must have thought “Hey, a bike rack” and locked up their bikes there. As long as your chain was long enough, the CitiRacks worked perfectly. (I tried, but my chain wasn’t long enough.)
Attention New York City Department of Transportation: start installing large numbers of ordinary bike racks for everyday cyclists. Otherwise, the CitiBikeRacks will be full of ordinary bikes and CitiBikers will be unable to use them for their intended purpose: to return bikes. I wonder if this doesn’t also herald a certain class consciousness among cyclists: CitiCyclists who don’t own bikes, or who are tourists, or who are occasional riders, and who will be readily identifiable by their cute blue bikes and harder-core city cyclists who own their own bikes and commute beyond the horizons of the CitiBike program.
The City needs public bike racks that provide secure bike parking, in large numbers, in all neighborhoods.
Idea: install more city bike racks, sell ad space on those racks, and apply the revenue to improving bicycle infrastructure.
How YOU can increase bicycle parking in your neighborhood: help install a bike corral.
Bike corrals are rows of [New York] CityRacks installed in the curbside lane of the street instead of on the sidewalk. This design is a great solution for places where demand for bicycle parking outstrips the available sidewalk space. Anyone can request a bike corral but every bike corral needs a maintenance partner to keep the bike corral clear of snow and debris.
This website at the NYC Dept. of Transportation gives the skinny on bike corrals: how to apply, a link to a downloadable application, locations of completed bike corrals, and a list of bike corral community board presentations.
Nothing will improve unless YOU get involved.