NYC Government Office Cracks Down on Indoor Bike Parking

The seemingly schizoid Bloomberg Administration continues to encourage bicycling with one hand while making it incredibly difficult with the other. Two weeks ago, amidst news of new bike lanes, on-street bike parking, and an impending bike lane media blitz, we heard about a gang of Parks Dept. employees clipping locks and seizing dozens of bicycles at the Forest Hills subway station in Queens.

Now we get news from a daily bike commuter who says that her employer -- the City of New York -- suddenly, and without warning, started cracking down on employees who park their bikes indoors. Rachel Stein is a 28-year-old project manager at the Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development at 100 Gold Street. She has worked off-and-on for three different City agencies the last six years. Here is an e-mail Stein forwarded to a friend last Thursday, published with her permission:

This morning I arrived at work as usual and was stopped by someone, I think from the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services, or maybe our building security, saying that, as of yesterday, bikes were no longer allowed in the building. I did not have a lock, and no notice had been sent out despite the fact that there are a large number of daily or occasional cyclists in the building. He said I could not enter. I had to call my boss and have her contact Security to let me in, making me late.

Apparently it's been DCAS "policy" not to allow bikes into City buildings for some time now, but it was only enforced as of yesterday (with no notice). I was told that there may be plans for indoor bike parking in the future but no solid plans are in place. I was also told that security would be upped for the outdoor bike racks but was not told how or when that would happen. There are largely unmonitored racks to the side of the building, unprotected from the elements.

I've worked here for over two years and never had a problem. Apparently this has happened at other city buildings as well.

Anyway, I am just trying to get the word out to people that this is happening. The City is supposedly trying to encourage people to bike and bike commute. There are all these posters in the subway about bike commuters, and in fact a bike survey was conducted in my building a few months back asking about ways to encourage people to bike. Yet now they have implemented (or are enforcing) this policy that will certainly discourage people from cycling in. Seems a little backwards, doesn't it?

Photo: Louis James, Flickr