City Planning Unveils Bike-Friendly Zoning Regs

bike_parking_1.jpgThe Department of City Planning revealed a zoning amendment today that would require new buildings to include space for secure bike parking. The lack of indoor parking is one of the biggest obstacles for would-be bike commuters, and the proposed zoning joins other initiatives to improve parking in existing office buildings. DCP's amendment includes requirements for residential and retail construction as well. (See the full list of provisions after the jump.)

"Our proposed citywide bicycle parking requirements will make it possible to secure one's bike at home and at work, thereby making it easier to commute to work, to school and run errands by bike," said Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden in a written statement. "This is one key piece of a larger package of city efforts to support bicycle ridership."

Before becoming law, the amendment must pass through the public review process, which gives veto power to the City Council. DCP estimates that the new zoning could be enacted within six months.

Another pending piece of legislation, the Bikes in Buildings Bill, would mandate access for bikes in existing commercial buildings and enjoys majority support in the Council. The bill is reportedly opposed by the Real Estate Board of New York, but according to a story in the Daily News yesterday, co-sponsor David Yassky appears confident that it will clear committee and pass:

Councilman David Yassky (D-Williamsburg) said legislation that would allow bikes to be stored in private office buildings would buoy ridership, which city officials hope will reach 18,000 by 2015.

The legislation, which could be voted on by the end of the year, would allow bike access in thousands of commercial buildings across the city, ensuring that all riders would have space to store their bikes during the workday.

"When we [pass the legislation], I predict the number of bike commuters will rise even further, making our city greener, healthier and less congested," Yassky said.

REBNY President Steve Spinola wrote to his members in September asking them to voluntarily comply with a DOT program to expand bike access and parking in office buildings, indicating that he would continue to oppose mandates like the new zoning amendment.

Here are the details from DCP on those requirements.

The new zoning would require that bicycle parking spaces be enclosed, secure, and accessible to designated users, such as residents, employees, or in the case of public parking garages, the general public. To ensure the new requirements do not encumber new developments, required bicycle parking would not count against the permitted floor area. The new zoning provides that:

  • Residential buildings with more than 10 units must provide secure bike parking for 50% of the units, or one space for every two units.  
  • Commercial office buildings must provide one space for every 7,500 square feet.
  • Retail and most other commercial uses, as well as most community facility uses, would be required to provide one space for every 10,000 square feet of floor area.  Smaller buildings, where three or fewer bicycle spaces are required, can waive the requirement.
  • Universities and hospitals will be required to provide secure bike parking but special provisions would allow these institutions to locate spaces more flexibly in a campus setting.
  • For industrial and semi-industrial uses, religious institutions, and certain other facilities with varied employment densities or unusual space demands, bicycle parking would not be required but would not count against permitted floor area.
  • Public parking garages would be required to provide one (1) bicycle parking space for every ten (10) automobile parking spaces.
  • Requirements would apply to new buildings, enlargements of 50% or more, and conversions to residential use.
  • Fifteen (15) square feet would be required per bicycle parking space. The amount of parking space required per bicycle can be reduced to as little as 6 square feet per bicycle with the submission and approval of a more efficient layout.
  • In order to address a wide range of building configurations, bicycle parking may be provided in a variety of locations, including on the ground floor of a building, in a cellar or in a parking garage.

The Chairperson of City Planning Commission may authorize a reduction or waiver of bicycle parking spaces when subsurface or below-ground infrastructure conditions make bicycle parking infeasible.