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Park N’ Ride

May 15, 2012

Following Smith Street and the East Village, Park Slope will soon get on-street bike parking.   Leslie Albrecht of DNAinfo reports:

[Gorilla Coffee owner Darlene] Scherer said she jumped at the chance when the Department of Transportation approached her about installing the bike parking. Right now cyclists make do with two small U-shaped bike racks on the sidewalk. The racks quickly fill up, forcing bike riders to chain bikes to a nearby fence, Scherer said.

“It will be really nice to have proper parking,” Scherer said, adding that Gorilla Coffee has sponsored the Brooklyn Velo Force bike team in the past. “The neighborhood definitely has a lot of bikers — it’s definitely something that goes hand in hand with our store.”

The new bicycle parking will replace one on-street vehicle parking spot, but drivers won’t be losing any ground to cyclists, officials said. The city is converting a no-parking zone across the street into a new car parking spot.

“On that block there will be no net loss of parking,” said Community Board 6 transportation committee member Doug Gordon.

I emphasized all of the instances of the term “bike parking,” because I think it’s an important distinction.  Bike racks belong on the sidewalk or in school yards and parks.  But if bikes are a legitimate form of transportation, they belong in parking spaces.  I’m really glad that Leslie chose this language in her piece; in different hands the story might have been pitted as another fake battle in the non-existent war between motorists and cyclists.

Note that two of the three on-street bike parking locations in the city are in front of coffee shops.  Coffee and bikes are a natural fit, so if you’re an advocate looking to get more bike parking in your neighborhood, I highly recommend approaching your local java joint.  Gorilla Coffee will largely be responsible for taking care of the planters and sweeping up the trash, since the bike parking spots can’t be accessed by street cleaners and plows.

Many thanks to Darlene at Gorilla Coffee, Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors, and Irene LoRe of the 5th Avenue BID, for their support of this plan.  The full DOT presentation with details about the design is now online. [PDF]

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