Does Times Real Estate VP’s “Joke” Betray Anti-Bike Bias?
In December, Streetsblog reported on the lack of bicycle parking in the new New York Times Building, despite promises to bike-commuting staff that there would be space inside. We talked to several Times employees who said that after initially being allowed to bring their bikes in, they were suddenly denied entry.
A months-long standoff of sorts ensued, until building management finally opened a storage area big enough to hold 20 bikes, with spaces reserved by permit (the building is 1.5 million square feet). The hostility Times' cycling employees have encountered since moving into the Renzo Piano-designed, Forest City Ratner-built "green" tower has caused some to stop riding to work.
Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White sent a letter to Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., urging him to install adequate bike parking. Here is the response, from Hussain Ali-Khan, VP of Real Estate Development for the NYT.
Dear Mr. White,
Mr. Sulzberger has forwarded me your letter regarding bicycle parking in The New York Times Building. I am happy to say The New York Times Building incorporates many green technologies including bicycle parking!
The Real Estate Development team and the Building Operations department worked with our development partner and co-owner, Forest City Ratner Companies, and with bicycle riding employees to identify a suitable location for secure indoor parking. This was accomplished in December. The delay between moving in and setting up the bicycle parking was mostly due to logistics as we had significant construction activity in the building for several months after the Times moved in and we wanted to evaluate a couple of ideas after contractors and construction materials had been moved out. The reports you received were premature or ill informed and employees need only indicate their need to the security officers to be shown how to access the bike parking area.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding regarding bicycle parking at The New York Times Building. Good luck with your mission to rid the planet of cars!
Kidding! But not really.