Sneak Preview: More Queens Bike Lanes and Bike-Friendly Zoning

If only a zoning amendment could retroactively require the New York Times Building to provide bike parking.

Some interesting nuggets are coming out of DOT bike coordinator Josh Benson’s ongoing Q & A with readers of the Times’ City Room blog. In yesterday’s installment, Benson outlined upcoming additions to the Queens bike network: 

In Queens, specifically, we have a number of bike lane projects
either under way or on the drawing board for the coming months,

  • 35th Street, Astoria (1.7 miles)
  • Linden Boulevard, St. Albans (3 miles)
  • Sunnyside Connector to the Queensboro Bridge, Woodside, Sunnyside, Sunnyside Gardens (5.2 miles)
  • Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Astoria (7 miles).

Then, responding to a question about the need for more indoor bike parking, he said a zoning amendment to mandate bike amenities in or around certain buildings is in the works (no sure thing, of course, but certainly encouraging). A City Planning spokeswoman told Streetsblog the department is aiming to introduce the amendment by the end of this year. Benson’s full response comes after the jump.

Many readers have mentioned this issue and indeed a Department of
City Planning study confirmed that one of the biggest obstacles to
increasing bicycle commuting in NYC is not safety, but rather the lack
of secure bike parking. That is why in PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Bloomberg
committed to pursue legislation that would require large commercial
buildings to make provisions for bicycle storage either on site or
reasonably nearby. The Department of City Planning has been following
through on this and they are working on a Proposed Bicycle Parking Text
Amendment which will need to go through public review. This amendment
would require bike parking in new buildings. Amending the zoning codes
can be a long process, so we are also exploring the possibility of
other legislative avenues.

In the meantime we are trying to lead by example in city government.
As I mentioned, department headquarters provides indoor bike parking
and the Department of City-Wide Administrative Services offers bike
parking for all city employees in Lower Manhattan at 100 Gold Street
and 280 Broadway.

I would encourage readers to begin a frank discussion with their
building managers or owners about the importance of indoor bike parking
to the health of the building’s employees and for the environment of
New York City. As more property managers and owners become educated on
this issue it will become easier for us to enact and enforce measures
to ensure that indoor bike parking becomes the norm, not the exception.

A third round of answers is due out later today.