Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Bike Corral in NYC!

Just uploaded to Streetfilms, a short piece on the first "bike corral" - NYC DOT calls them "Street Racks" - in NYC (Brooklyn). This is definitely a step in the right direction. Better for small shops and all street users... bonus points for not  improving things for cyclists at the expense of pedestrians.

* Is this intended to be overnight, i.e. instead of carrying a bike upstairs in a walk-up apt., or just short-term parking?
* Even with a good lock - no, the best lock - do people feel their bike is safe at a rack like this all day long - i.e. if it is parking at a subway station - and even overnight, e.g. if they go out after work and have a spontaneous "sleepover" in Manhattan? 
* Does it fit cargo bikes, without inconveniencing/disrespecting users of normal bikes?
* The block association supported it, does the CB (Community Board) have to approve it?
* How is cleaning handled? (Normally a street cleaning truck comes by...)
* Will it remain free of snow in the winter?
* Any ADA issues? Is there sensory info on the sidewalk which lets people know it - and not a parked car - is in this location?

The bike parking seems necessary in any case, but the initial impetus seems to have been a bad marriage of two too-fast streets. Neighbourhood streets like this one, even if they have a sort of semi-arterial use, are narrow and encourage perpendicular movement: The NYC speed limit of 30mph is simply too fast for this location (I would bet the vehicles that flipped over as we can see in the video were going faster...). This street definitely needs a 20mph limit. The bikelane seems kind of marginal in relation to anti-dooring properties, and I am assuming that a NYC-style 20mph street - as is being experimented with in at least one other part of the city - will have no soft(paint) demarcation of space.

This is a good solution, and it would be great to know more about how it fits into the overall strategy for parking AND traffic calming/safety. Not sure if speed-issues were discussed but left out of the edit, but I've noticed that before, e.g. in discussion about bike lanes in San Francisco on Streetsblog SF. 

The parklets and this parking were mentioned by Ms Harris-Hernandez as being innovative, but not sure they are as they have been done already in Portland and San Francisco. But that does not matter! Copying or replicating existing best practice is great on its own!

I have inquired with Transportation Alternatives about parking secure enough for overnight use and expensive cargo bikes, and hope NYC DOT gets something going in that direction. The solutions already exist -- they just need to be introduced, discussed, approved, purchased and bolted down to the street.