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Secure parking would boost NYC bike use, group says

Published January 5, 2021

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — A nonprofit bicycle and pedestrian rights group released a comprehensive report advocating for more secure bicycle parking in the city, arguing that this deficiency suppresses commuting and has a disproportionate impact on lower-income residents and people of color.

Transportation Alternatives released The Power of Bicycle Parking: An Easy, Affordable and Effective Way to Save Lives, Encourage Cycling, and Create a Fairer New York City on Tuesday. It provides specific recommendations for improving bicycle parking infrastructure across the five boroughs, saying people are less likely to ride when parking is unavailable. Despite lacking secure parking locations, bicycle commuting in New York City is on the rise but so is theft, which has increased by 27% during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one in four households having had a bike stolen.

"Simply put, there is not enough bicycle parking in New York City," said Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives executive director. "Despite more households owning bikes than cars, bike parking has taken a back seat to free private car storage on our streets. Even peer cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. have significantly more bike parking per-capita than New York. As more New Yorkers turn to bikes, our city needs to start building more bike parking now. Installing dedicated spaces at scale will send a strong signal that biking is safe, reliable, and accessible for all New Yorkers."

According to the report, for every bike rack in the city, more than 100 free parking spaces exist for cars, and that secure parking — like a protected bike lane — encourages more people to bike commute.

"Our findings suggest that there is not enough bicycle parking to meet current need, and this lack of bicycle parking prevents more New Yorkers from riding bicycles," the report concluded. "The lack of bicycle parking is one of the most common reasons that people do not ride a bicycle, or ride more often, and 95% of New York cyclists agree that building more bicycle parking should be a priority."

The report said trading "significant amounts of car space" to establish more bicycle parking can enhance the city's cycling infrastructure. TA said the city has not fulfilled almost a dozen plans to build additional parking in the past eight years.

"With the critical addition of more bike parking, New York can enable more people to ride bicycles, reduce dependence on cars, support local business, and help provide critical transportation options to our most vulnerable. Such benefits are especially important, as our city struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, and the looming threat of climate change."

In the space to park one car, seven to 10 bikes can be secured, according to the report, which said the city should work to build parking near transit hubs. It recommends policy changes to ensure the police track bike theft and allow developers to construct bike parking instead of car parking if that better suits a community's need.

The report said the lack of secure bike parking is one of the main reasons residents cite for not commuting by bike or doing so infrequently. TA has started an online petition, calling for de Blasio to invest in bike parking.

Bike rack located on Lafayette Avenue.

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