New York

Bill Opening Workplaces to Bikes is a Lock, Says Sponsor


It may seem like it’s all Clinton Global Initiative here at Runnin’ Scared, but we’re also keenly interested in bicycles. Councilmember David Yassky says this time for sure he’s going to get his “Bikes In Buildings” Bill passed in the City Council.

The bill would require commercial property owners to allow tenants and their employees to bring their bikes inside when they come to work.

Yassky and Paul Steely White, Executive Director of city bike advocates Transportation Alternatives, claim that the bill has at least thirty votes in the bag — including that of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum — and should pass at its next consideration.

This particular bill, aka Intro 36, dates from 2006, but Yassky has been pushing variants of it since 2002 at least. As then, Yassky cites the city’s Department of City Planning, which says the necessity of leaving bikes chained outdoors — and at risk of being stolen, as over 70,000 bikes are each year in New York — is the number-one impediment to getting more workers to bike to work, which the city really seems to want.

TA Communications Director Wiley Norvell says that the new bill gives building owners greater flexibility than previous versions in the disposition of the bikes workers would bring into their buildings, which may explain its heightened chance of passage.

“Previously we had focused on storage — where the bikes would go,” says Norvell. “Now we focus on access. As a tenant you currently have no recourse if management says you can’t bring a bike into their building — though if it were a handcart or a stroller, it wouldn’t be an issue.” In the new bill, where bikes would be stored is largely up to building management, Norvell says.

Yassky, who represents some of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city (e.g. Greenpoint, Williamsburg), has also supported congestion pricing, traffic mitigation at Atlantic Yards, and the Critical Mass cyclist decked by a cop this summer.

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