By Steven Spinola
A recent Real Estate Board of New York survey indicated that that the number of individuals biking to work is minuscule, despite a sizable amount of bike parking space available in commercial buildings.
The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo requested we ask our members about bike usage. On a bright, sunny April day, we polled owners and managers and received responses representing 77 million s/f of commercial property in Midtown and Downtown.
On that ideal bike riding day, our survey found that fewer than 1 out of 1,000 workers are biking to the office. Before this survey, and from ongoing discussions with commercial property owners who voluntarily put in the space for bike parking before it was required, the utilization was extremely low.
The survey’s findings only reaffirm the anecdotal information we have been receiving from our members, who are advocates and want to encourage greater bike usage.
REBNY has been supportive of putting bike parking in new buildings. Early on, we encouraged our members to incorporate bike parking in existing buildings if they could find suitable space, or allow bike users to park their bikes in their own office space. More than 100 buildings with more than 100 million s/f complied with our request.
Despite our success in getting voluntary compliance with providing bike parking, the city insisted on mandating this requirement for all existing buildings.
As part of our discussion regarding the bike parking legislation, we were successful in incorporating provisions that would make the operation of this dedicated bike parking space safe, affordable for the building owner and not a disruption to the daily operation of the building.
Despite all the efforts with the growth of bike parking and the city’s addition of miles of dedicated bike lanes, the vast majority of riders traveling to work continue to use mass transit and a smaller share use personal cars.
REBNY will continue to be supportive of the bike parking legislation. However, we think it is imperative to continue to monitor the number of riders that use indoor bike parking regularly and to determine if this legislative mandate on building owners has been beneficial to our city.
Steven Spinola is president of the Real Estate Board of New York.