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Making Streets Safer With On-Street Bike Parking

The corner of Smith Street and Sackett Street in Brooklyn had a problem. Drivers approaching the intersection from Sackett couldn't get a clear view of Smith because of the parked cars blocking their line of sight. Crashes kept happening and local residents started pushing for safety improvements. After experimenting with a few options, NYC DOT arrived at this innovative response: New York's first on-street bike parking facility.

By installing eight bike racks, DOT created a "daylighting" effect, improving visibility at the intersection. The bike parking is much less intrusive than parked cars and helps everyone at the intersection see everyone else. Oh yeah, and now there are a dozen new places to park bikes without taking away any space from Smith Street's busy sidewalks.

For another look at on-street bike parking, check out Streetfilms' 2008 tour of Portland, Oregon's bike corrals.

Elizabeth Press is a Filmmaker for Streetfilms. She joined Streetfilms in 2007 to focus her video work on advocating for better biking, walking and mass transit.

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  • Chfong

    crash keep happening? get rid of the cars!!! 

  • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

    This is a great design *intervention* I hope that Chicago will be able to implement soon. 

  • Dennis Hindman
  • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

    To Dennis: I covered it on my blog. 
    http://gridchicago.com/2011/wicker-parking-chicago-debuts-its-first-on-street-bike-corral/What I meant by intervention was to install a bike corral in a location to specifically address the same issue that Elizabeth describes under the video. 

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    If we could just get daylighting at every dangerous streetcorner in NYC we'd have much safer streets for drivers, pedestrians and lots of bike parking for all - especially with the loss of parking meters on many streets to lock to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Iamtoddedelman Todd Edelman

    This is definitely a step in the right direction. Better for small shops and all street users... more here:  http://greenideafactory.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-bike-corral-in-nyc.html

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Nice, I agree.  But I can readily envisage a hit-and-run driver taking out an entire row of people's treasured bicycles in one fell swoop.  Perhaps even intentionally, if you read the sort of stuff that shows up in blog comments or listen to the sort of sociopathic screaming that comes out of death monsters out in the wild.

    Serious bollards, bollards that do as much damage to impactors as a parked car would have, please!  No "soft-hit" nonsense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Iamtoddedelman Todd Edelman

    YES, no soft hit bollards. Do people at DOT lock up their bikes with Twizzlers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/odile.beniflah Odile Beniflah

    This is a great idea and a great start... my husband got hit on his bike a few corners up on Carrol Street as a driver turned right abruptly without looking. Thankfully he only got a broken arm...

  • mikesonn

    Example being the (now gone) bike corral at Zeitgeist. The end U-posts were always rammed into, pulled out of the cement, or had a truck parked with its bumper touching the post. So instead of providing the rack more protection, SFMTA just removed it.

  • Anonymous

    The Street Racks Program is the perfect solution for daylighting on corners abutting schools where kids have trouble seeing over corner-parked cars AND there is never enough parking for bikes & kick-scooters. If the DOT is serious about rolling this program out citywide, I'd like to see them start on every corner where kids step off the corner from school into oncoming traffic. Why not make 2012 the year no children are hit on their way to & from school?

  • Frederic

    It is primarily the needs of cyclists that must decide where bicycle parking will be located. The problems of motorists should not influence the needs of cyclists. In our city the suburbs of Paris, we asked a bicycle parking at the train station. Throughout the year, there are many bicycles attached to barriers on the sidewalks. Such bike parking was positioned at the corner of which is about 50 or 100 meters away. The problem of motorists is set. Cyclists do not use this parking lot and continue to park near the railway station.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    What's wrong with Twizzlers?  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alison-Lee/100002989340566 Alison Lee

    Well done on a great project!
    I thought I would share with you a similar project we did in Melbourne, Australia a few years ago where we also evaluated the economic benefit of such projects in terms of expenditure. Here's a link: http://colabradio.mit.edu/changing-car-parking-to-bike-parking-in-melbourne/

  • http://sevensummitsquest.com/ Charles Miske

    interesting solution to the perpetual problem of forcing cars to cross a solid white line to make a turn

  • Gaosta48

    cities have so many dangerous blind corners. this is a great program for high use bike areas but  taking it one step further for the blind corners by not letting ANY vehicles park in those areas up to 2 car lengths  in length would cut down more on accidents all over our cities

  • StevieSBklyn

    They should leave the neighborhood alone!

  • EcoAdvocate

    It's great that city officials are thinking of people on bikes more now, instead of devoting so much valuable space to automobiles. We're not in 1950 anymore. Millions of people choose not to drive. Increasingly, many want to ride a bicycle.

  • EcoAdvocate

    the bikes are not nearly as high as a car and so people can see over them. This is valuable space for bicycle storage. It would be a shame to leave it with no bicycle parking allowed.