Bicycle Access Bill Clears City Council Transpo Committee

Yassky_BikesinBldgs.jpg.jpgBicycle Access Bill sponsor David Yassky, who first introduced his legislation in 2006, speaks at a press event earlier today.

As anticipated, this morning the City Council transportation committee voted in favor of Intro 871, the Bicycle Access Bill. The tally was 9-0 with one absence, sending the bill to the full floor for the Council's stated meeting tomorrow. The law will take effect 120 days after that vote.

The final version of the bill isn't online yet, but according to sources who've seen it, the core provisions affecting bike access haven't changed since the last time Streetsblog checked in. The process of overturning bans on bikes will be gradual, as individual tenants gain access that used to be denied. Basically, the mechanism will work like this: If you work in an office building that has a freight elevator, and the property managers won't let you bring your bike inside, you will soon be able to request a change in policy knowing that the law has got your back.

Many would-be bike commuters will still have fights on their hands as they seek to reverse anti-bike policies, building by building. Building managers can obtain exemptions if allowing bikes on the freight elevator is deemed to pose a safety risk, or if there's an adequate alternative supply of secure, covered bike parking within three blocks or 750 feet of the building, whichever is less. It will be up to city inspectors to determine whether exemptions are justified (recent changes to the bill have centered on which agency will do the inspecting, DOT or the Department of Buildings). Streetsblog will run a more complete breakdown of the bill later this week.

Let's remember that just a few weeks ago, prospects for 871 looked pretty dim, when transportation committee chair John Liu dashed expectations that it would pass quickly. More than a thousand e-faxes were sent out during the final push that followed. If you helped put the Bicycle Access Bill over the top, now's the time to give yourself a pat on the back.