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Trading Car Parking for Bike Racks

In a historic first for New York City, the Department of Transportation has replaced three car parking spaces in Williamsburg with bike racks to accommodate about 30 bicycles.

The on-street bike parking, which is right next to the Bedford Avenue stop on the L train, will greatly benefit the burgeoning bicycling mecca of Billyburg. As any visitor or person in the community knows, it is very hard to find a legal spot to lock up your bike there. Hopefully, we will see other places in NYC getting this same treatment.

For more on the history of the project, please see the entry on our sister site Streetsblog.

Janette Sadik-Khan: [00:00] We’re not just talking about installing bike racks. This is the first time in history that we’re replacing car parking with bike parking.


David Yassky: [00:16] I’m super proud that the 33rd District is the home of this key innovation in city government. For the first time we have a city that’s serious about encouraging bike culture and helping it to grow and thrive.

Teresa Toro: [00:30] Our city DOT has added the equivalent of 30 bike parking spaces. That’s in addition to the 30 or so bike parking racks that are already on the block at our request. So they’ve been adding and adding as they’ve been able to do and they’ve been terrific about working with the Brooklyn Community Board One Committee.

Janette Sadik-Khan: [00:48] It’s great that we’re doing whatever we can to build out the bike network, but we also have to make sure that we’re treating it as a system. People need to be able to get off their bike, park their bike safely and be able to get on a train or walk to their destination. They need to be able to have safe bike lanes. They need to be able to have bike storage facilities when they’re getting to their destination. So it’s part of a comprehensive programme in terms of what we’re trying to do in terms of better bike facility and storage, better bike security and safety, and better bike networks throughout the five Boroughs.

Speaker: [01:18] Well I knew there were like tearing up the roads but I didn’t know it was for some bike racks, so I’m actually really excited. I just bought a bike and it’s kind of hard to park places. So it’s pretty nice. I’m glad to see they’re taking the roads back from the cars.

Speaker: [01:28] The big thing right now is everybody talking about a rock and gas and whatnot and this is one of the ways to be a solution for that.

Speaker: [01:35] Totally should be more bike parking cos [unintelligible 01:37] you can’t put it on the metre, cos you could get a ticket and… but you don’t have a lot of options in terms of park. That would be awesome if there could be more in the neighbourhood.

Caroline Samponaro: [01:46] We think this really efficient repurposing of street space is smart planning by the DOT. The sidewalks are going to be cleared up for pedestrians and this is a really congested corner as most people know. And then there’s obviously a chronic shortage of bike parking options for cyclists. So this is also great for cyclists. 70% of households in North Brooklyn don’t own cars, so this is making improvements for the super majority of non driving New Yorkers.

Ian Dutton: [02:09] In my neighbourhood in Soho we have very similar circumstances where our sidewalks are incredibly busy. And on top of that we have a significant number of cyclists who have nowhere to leave their bikes. By providing a facility like this you’d free up sidewalk space for the people who need it to walk and do their shopping and move through our neighbourhood. And then you also create safe space for people to leave their bicycles.

Speaker: [02:31] It good for business. It good for everybody. A lot of young people, they have to park two blocks away. They don’t have to walk so far especially in the summer, they want to ride their bike, they leave the bike here and they go to work in New York. It’s a wonderful, wonderful idea. Well I hope they keep on doing things like that in the neighbourhood.

David Yassky: [02:50] The next thing is we got to make sure the people who want the bike to work can do it and one thing is they got to be able to have a place to put the bike when they get there and there’s no reason for office buildings to, as most in Manhattan do, to prohibit bicycles from going into the lobby because they think somehow it doesn’t look right. We have to get the building owners to understand, you know what, you should be proud if there’s somebody who works in your building is bringing a bicycle into their office because it shows that the people in your building are forward thinking and environmentally serious and those are the kind of people you want working there.



Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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