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Posts from the Bicycle Parking Category


DSNY Needs to Devise a Better Fix for NYC’s Abandoned Bike Problem

Unusable, forgotten bikes are mainstays of the NYC streetscape, hogging bike parking for months and even years before they meet the Department of Sanitation’s standards for removal. DSNY has proposed a rule change to loosen its criteria, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to solve the city’s abandoned bike problem.

Despite 311 calls requesting its removal, this dilapidated bike has never even been tagged by DSNY for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Despite 311 calls alerting DSNY to this abandoned bike in Greenpoint, the agency never even tagged it for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Reports of abandoned bikes have increased 43 percent this year compared to 2015, according to 311 data made available by the city. But DSNY will only remove a derelict bike after it’s reported via 311 — and only if it meets three of the following criteria:

  • It is “crushed or not usable”
  • It is missing parts
  • It has a flat or missing tires
  • It has damaged handlebars or pedals
  • At least 75 percent of the bike rusted

Under current rules, staff check on a bike once it has been reported via 311 and tag it for removal if it meets the criteria. If the tag is not removed by an owner within one week, the bike gets impounded.

DSNY’s proposed change would lower the threshold for removal from three criteria to two and lower the rust threshold to 50 percent [PDF]. Additionally, “flat or missing tires” would no longer be one of the criteria for removal.

DSNY held a hearing on the rule change August 9 and must now determine how to proceed. Advocates and elected officials who testified at the hearing don’t think the proposal will improve matters much.

Recycle-A-Bicycle Executive Director Karen Overton, who testified at the hearing, said even the new criteria will leave countless abandoned bikes rotting away on sidewalks.

Read more…


Help Fix the Sanitation Department’s Process for Clearing Abandoned Bikes

Rusty bikes missing wheels, saddles, and other parts are a common sight on NYC sidewalks. Clearly abandoned, they clog up bike racks and other places to lock up, making it harder to park bicycles that people are actively using, and they’re an eyesore to everyone else.

Cleaning up abandoned bikes is the Department of Sanitation’s job, but DSNY’s system isn’t effective, so the problem persists. If you want to make the case that DSNY should change how it handles abandoned bikes, Recycle-A-Bicycle wants your help documenting the performance of the current system.

This abandoned bike on Nostrand does not meet the city's current criteria for removal. Photo: David Meyer

This abandoned bike on Nostrand does not meet the city’s current criteria for removal. Photo: David Meyer

DSNY is holding a hearing on its abandoned bike policy August 9. Before the hearing, Recycle-A-Bicycle is asking New Yorkers to report derelict bikes to 311 and record how the city handles the request.

Under current practice, DSNY responds to 311 complaints about abandoned bicycles by placing a neon tag on the bike, after which owners have one week to remove the tag, or else the bike will be impounded.

But in practice, said Recycle-A-Bicycle Executive Director Karen Overton, “It’s hard to know, if someone calls in a bike, if they [DSNY] actually come out and tag it or don’t.”

So Recycle-A-Bicycle wants to crowdsource an evaluation of DSNY’s system. If you call in an abandoned bike to 311, return in a week to see if the neon tag has been applied, and if so, come back one week later to see if the tag has been cut or the bike has been removed. Each time you check on the bike, you should snap a photo and send it to

DSNY has had the authority to remove derelict bikes since 2010 but hasn’t made much of a visible impact on the problem. “The Department of Sanitation is not set up to fully handle the abandoned bike process, or rescuing abandoned bikes,” Overton said.

Read more…


After a Car Wreck, Dutch Kills Civic Association Flips Out Over Bike Corral

After a speeding motorist collided with a motorist who failed to stop at a stop sign, the Dutch Kills Civic Association in Long Island City is telling the powers that be how unhappy they are — with a nearby bike corral.

The corral was installed in April at the intersection of 29th Street and 39th Avenue following a request from Dominic Stiller, who owns the corner restaurant Dutch Kills Centraal with his wife, Jean Cawley. Stiller tried to get an endorsement from Queens Community Board 1, but the board, which habitually says “No” to street improvements for walking and biking, voted against it (without quorum) in 2014.

At the same time, locals and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer have tried for years to get DOT to implement safety measures at 29th Street and 39th Avenue. The site has a history of high-speed collisions. A few months ago an Access-A-Ride driver turned left at the intersection and nearly hit a child.

Last month a speeding driver slammed into another vehicle at the intersection, shown in this video that Cawley sent in. DKCA members took the crash as an opportunity to signal their displeasure with the bicycle parking.

Read more…


How Can DSNY Fix Its Process for Removing Abandoned Bikes?

The city’s process for removing abandoned bikes from public property is broken, advocates say, but a bill proposed by Council Member Brad Lander to deal with the problem needs some adjustments in order to be effective.

This abandoned bike on Nostrand Avenue won’t be removed by DSNY unless someone complains, and even then it’s no sure thing. Photo: David Meyer

Abandoned bikes on the sidewalk are an eyesore and make it harder for people using their bikes to find an open spot to lock up. Since 2010, the Department of Sanitation has had the authority to remove “derelict” bikes, but the conditions required for a removal still leave too many abandoned bikes cluttering the street.

The city’s rules currently state that a bike is derelict if it is attached to public property and meets at least three of the following criteria:

  • It is “crushed or not usable”
  • It’s missing parts
  • It has flat or missing tires
  • It has damaged handlebars or pedal, or is at least 75 percent rusted

So, if a bike has flat tires and bent wheels and hasn’t been moved from a rack for months, DSNY won’t remove it. The bike has to be in worse shape, and even then the department probably won’t do anything unless someone complains to 311. There is no proactive process for abandoned bike removal.

Testifying before the City Council transportation committee yesterday, DSNY Director of Cleaning and Collection Steven Costas said that two-thirds of the derelict bikes removed by the department this year were in four community districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In the past two years, DSNY has impounded over 2,400 derelict bikes, according to 311 data made public by the city. But those stats don’t measure how many abandoned bikes are left in place.

Lander’s bill, Intro 787, authorizes a new protocol, in which DSNY would tag bicycles that look abandoned and bike owners would have 36 hours to remove the tag before DSNY impounds the bike. To get a bike back, owners would have to pay a fine between $25 and $100 or appeal to the Environmental Control Board.

Costas said that DSNY opposes the proposal as it is written because the agency lacks the personnel and storage space to tag, monitor, and collect the bikes.

Read more…


Ydanis Rodriguez Bill Would Open Residential Elevators to Bikes

The City Council is poised to eliminate a major hassle for many New Yorkers who own bikes. A bill from Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez would mandate that all residential buildings in the city allow residents to use elevators to transport their bikes to and from their apartments.

Council Member Ydanis Rodroguez

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who chairs the council transportation committee, introduced the bill today. It is co-sponsored by Antonio Reynoso, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Helen Rosenthal, and Ben Kallos.

From a Rodriguez press release:

Currently, many residential buildings have policies that prevent a resident from transporting their bicycle via the elevator. In some cases, the effects of these policies are as egregious as forcing residents to walk up ten flights of stairs with a bicycle on their back. Upon enactment, [the bill] would render these policies and lease agreements null and void and in violation of the Administrative Code.

These antiquated building policies cause an undue burden on cyclists. This bill would better the quality of life for the over 200,000 people who bike each day or the more than 500,000 adults use their bike at least twice month for exercise or transportation.

The last big move the City Council made to improve bike access was a 2009 bill that gave New Yorkers legal grounds to petition commercial landlords for bicycle access to their workplaces. That was a huge step, yet even now cyclists still have to deal with hostile landlords and building personnel. In 2014 Rosenthal and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer introduced legislation to permit folding bikes on passenger elevators in commercial buildings, but the bill stalled in the housing and buildings committee.

By passing both of these bills, the City Council would remove pointless barriers that keep people from cycling.


Eyes on the Street: The 78th Precinct Gets Its Bike Corral

Photo: N. Wayne Bailey

Photo: N. Wayne Bailey

After a request from 78th Precinct commanding officer Captain Frank DiGiacomo, DOT has installed a four-rack bike corral in front of the precinct house on Bergen Street in Prospect Heights. N. Wayne Bailey, chair of the precinct’s community council, snapped photos of the new bike parking yesterday.

The 78th Precinct has established a reputation for supporting livable streets, from making a guerrilla protected bike lane permanent to targeting drivers who fail to yield and hosting monthly traffic safety meetings.

Despite the precinct’s groundbreaking moves, there is still lots of room for improvement. As the photo shows, the 7-8 engages in a behavior that’s all too common at precinct houses across the city: using sidewalks for parking. The precinct did clear its cars from two blocks but continues the practice along both Bergen Street and Sixth Avenue.

Getting officers to obey parking rules? Now that would be revolutionary.

Read more…


Brewer and Rosenthal Bill Would Allow Folding Bikes in Passenger Elevators

A bill from Gale Brewer and Helen Rosenthal would allow folding bike access in passenger elevators of commercial buildings.

A bill from Gale Brewer (left) and Helen Rosenthal would allow folding bike access in passenger elevators of commercial buildings.

Five years ago next month, the city opened the door for bike commuters — or more accurately, their bikes — with the Bicycle Access Law. That law provided, for the first time, a legal framework for New Yorkers to petition commercial landlords for bike storage space at work.

A new City Council bill could improve upon existing rules. Tomorrow, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will introduce legislation that would require commercial buildings to permit folding bikes — so long as they are “fully folded” — on passenger elevators.

Under current law, access for all bikes can be limited to freight elevators. Intro 897 would simply allow commuters to access passenger elevators with the rough equivalent of a piece of carry-on luggage.

You may recall what a huge lift the Bicycle Access Law was in 2009. Ben Fried described it as “the biggest legislative victory ever achieved by bicycle advocates in New York City.” To get it passed, advocates and friendly electeds had to overcome what Ben called “some notion of office building propriety that the mere sight of a bicycle would violate.” The climate isn’t altogether different today — cyclists still have to contend with bike-averse landlords and security personnel. But in the era of Citi Bike, and even Vision Zero, maybe this common-sense bike access measure will have a smoother path.


Brooklyn Parking Preservation Board Votes Down Bike Corrals

Brooklyn Community Board 1 has had enough of the “war on cars,” and they’re taking it out on pedestrians, cyclists, and local businesses.

Jackson Heights is one of many NYC neighborhoods that survived the installation of bike corrals. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Jackson Heights is one of many NYC neighborhoods that survived the installation of bike corrals. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

The Brooklyn Paper reports that four Williamsburg shops want bike corrals, to provide room to park bikes while keeping sidewalks clear. “We believe it is our responsibility to beautify the area,” said Jason Merritt, co-owner of Tutu’s, a Bogart Street bar. “And it is beneficial to businesses to have safe bike parking that is not on street signs and posts.”

But CB 1 member Simon Weiser, for one, isn’t having it. “Enough is enough,” said Weiser. “They can put it on the sidewalk and stop taking away car parking spaces. We need to keep the parking we have.” As if these four spaces will have any effect in a district with thousands and thousands of on-street parking spots.

You might remember Weiser from 2008, when he was a go-to bike lane critic during the Kent Avenue redesign fracas. Well, now he and CB 1 have drawn a line in the sand. They rejected all four corrals by a vote of 12-7.

Board members who voted against the corrals argued that there is plenty of room on sidewalks for bike parking and that their turf has lost too many parking spaces to the CitiBike bike-share program and the planned de-mapping of Union Avenue in the middle of McCarren Park, which is meant to make the greensward more pedestrian-friendly. Parking is now more difficult than it was a few years ago, Weiser argued.

So, North Brooklyn might have lost out on nicer sidewalks (DOT could overlook this vote) thanks to a few people in a position of power who think curbside car parking is scarce because there’s not enough of it. Not because it’s, you know, totally free.

“It is worrying and confusing to me that any community board would side against alternative transportation and neighborhood beautification,” said Merritt. More than that, CB 1 has sided against anyone whose highest priority isn’t securing on-street parking for their car.

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Amsterdam Draws Bike Boxes to Organize Bike Parking

Amsterdam cycling advocate Marjolein de Lange regales us with this tale about how in 2006 cyclists came up with a very simple solution — draw bike box outlines directly on the pavement! — to better organize the bike parking outside a popular supermarket. It’s so simple and shows how sometimes engineers might over-think a problem.

Marjolein tells us these are now common in many shopping areas in Amsterdam and other cities. Although I will add that this only works well in cities where nearly all bikes have kickstands.


Eyes on the Street: Jackson Heights’ Beautiful New Bike Corral

A bike corral was recently installed on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Spring has sprung, and with it came a new on-street bike corral on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, near Roosevelt Avenue. Clarence from Streetfilms sent over these great pictures. The corral, which replaces one car parking space, has seven racks (for 14 bikes) and two planters. It is maintained by the 82nd Street Partnership business improvement district and was supported by Queens Community Board 4 in a 32-2 vote in March.

Perhaps the most succinct summation comes from the minutes of CB 4’s full board meeting last month. The report from District Manager Christian Cassagnol noted that DOT and “the 82nd Street BID had installed the bike corral, which looked beautiful.”

The bike corral is maintained by the 82nd Street Partnership business improvement district. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.