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I Want to Park My Bicycle

June 18, 2012

Add Wythe Avenue to the growing list of Brooklyn locations with on-street parking for bicycles.

Via DNAinfo:

Racks for eight bicycles will soon replace one parking spot on Wythe Avenue, city officials said.

The Department of Transportation will install bike racks in front of Kinfolk Studios, a cafe, bar, and studio (which designs bikes) that has requested the change, officials said.

The spot, 22 feet long and 8 feet wide, will have racks bolted to the street and a planter pot at each end, a DOT spokesman said at a Williamsburg Community Board One meeting earlier this week. At his announcement the room broke into applause supporting the initiative.

Kinfolk’s owner Maceo McNeff, who approached the DOT about the plan, said the change made complete sense for his business.

“All of our clients and employees arrive here by bicycle,” he said of the design studio, and as for the cafe he estimated that 80 percent of customers showed up on two wheels.

“I see 12 bikes that are all attached to stop signs right now — every sign here has at least two bikes on it,” Maceo said standing outside his business Thursday. “There’s plenty of car parking here and not really any bicycle parking.”

Only one minor quibble with the above: let’s stop calling them bike racks.  A rack is something that belongs behind a school or next to a playground.  Parking is what we should call any space where bicycles are given equal or preferential access to the valuable, but free real estate we call our city streets.  Plus, using a word like parking is one minor way to legitimize bicycles as a form of transportation.  Hats off to McNeff for his astute comments and his understanding of his business.  Far too often, one gets the sense that business owners actually have no real understanding of how their customers arrive.  (By the way, how wonderful is it that “the room broke into applause” at the CB1 meeting?)

As the DNA story notes, DOT says that “any business could approach the agency with interest in putting racks outside their cafe or store,” so get to it, local business owners!  (Why every bike shop in the city isn’t requesting on-street bike parking I do not know.)  I had a great experience working with Park Slope Neighbors’ Eric McClure, Irene LoRe of the Fifth Avenue BID, Darlene and Carol at Gorilla Coffee, DOT and CB6 to get 5th Avenue’s new bike parking installed and am happy to answer any questions about how the process works.  It’s easy and good for business.

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