The 2007 New York City Bicycle Survey lists a lack of secure bike parking as one of the main reasons people don’t commute by bike. While having a safe place to store a bicycle is certainly important to any bike commuter, bike parking and storage is an issue for everyday utility bicyclists as well.
Our city has made great progress developing off-street bike paths and extending our network of on-street bike lanes, but one area that has been overlooked is bike parking. Because shopping destinations are on private property, development of bike parking facilities is left to private developers and decisions on what type of facilities will be built are made on an individual basis. The outcome of this scattershot approach has not been good.
The bike parking facilities at many of our local shopping areas are inconsistent at best and non-existent at worst. Many of the bike racks are poorly designed and are likely to damage bicycles. Often there are not enough spaces. It’s not uncommon to see bikes carelessly leaned against other bikes with little regard for damage. In many locations bike racks are completely absent and bicyclists are left to fend for themselves, locking up to stair rails, sign posts, benches, or whatever immovable object is close at hand.
What we need are standard recommendations for bike parking facilities that tie-in with the development of other facilities such as bike lanes and off-street bike paths. Allowing developers to decide what type of bike parking is required is almost a guarantee that the facilities will be underfunded and inadequate.