Bike share and bicycle parking
Via n8han, whose web presence you should be reading:
Unanswered is whether bike share, if successful, can scale up to accomodate vastly more ridership. Can it be 15 times its starting size, in order to match the number of trips taken by personal bicycles? I don’t really think that works. I think bike share fills gaps for existing cyclists (like myself) and can serve as the sole bicycle for new cyclists who over time will want to convert to bicycle owners. For that to happen, the bicycle parking arrangements need to scale up as they have done in the cities with the highest cycling participation rates. It can certainly be done. This city is full of parking spaces: they’re just reserved for the wrong vehicles.
Let’s not forget that “existing cyclists” could include people from the outer boroughs, New Jersey, Connecticut and Westchester who already own a bicycle but can’t make a direct A-to-B bike commute due to distance, hostile infrastructure, anti-bicycle policies, or geographical limitations. With the exception of people who walk to the subway, multimodalism hasn’t really been part of how New York City views transportation. Bike share will change that, at least a little, by creating a different category of city cyclists somewhere in between “existing cyclists” (like myself) within easy riding distance of the Manhattan CBD and “new cyclists” in the same geographic area who will eventually convert from bike share users to bicycle owners.
But unless MetroNorth and PATH change their rush hour policy on bicycles, Joe Westchester and New Jersey Jane are never going to bring their own bikes into the CBD and need a place to put them for eight hours, making the issue of bicycle parking somewhat separate from bike sharing. While I’m excited about the number of people who will use Citi Bike as a “gateway drug” to bike ownership, bike parking in New York City is woefully inadequate with or without them.
As n8than writes, New York City certainly has the real estate to deal with this shortage. What it lacks is the political cojones to value eight human-powered vehicles more than one that’s powered by gas.