Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bike parking at the Barclays Center will be outdoor bike racks: will it be secured and sheltered?

What's going on with bike parking at the Barclays Center?

Streetsblog reports, in Bad News: Forest City Breaks Bike Parking Vow; Good News: Less Car Parking:
The bad news first: Forest City no longer plans to keep its much-touted promise to build a staffed indoor bike parking facility in time for the arena opening. Instead, for the foreseeable future, the bike parking will consist of plain outdoor bike racks.
In the December 2009 Atlantic Yards Amended Memorandum of Environmental Concerns, Forest City promised to implement a number of measures “prior to the opening of the arena” to encourage people to leave their cars at home when traveling to the Barclays Center. One of the commitments the developer made was to “provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.”
That bike parking, Streetsblog has learned, won’t be available for opening day or anything close to it. Arana Hankin, the director of the Atlantic Yards project for Empire State Development, said in an e-mail that while there will still be room for 400 bikes at the arena, it will be provided via outdoor bike racks for the foreseeable future. The bike parking will be indoors once the project’s “Building 3,” located at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, is complete, at which point it will be located in the basement, Hankin said.
There’s currently no public timeline for the construction of Building 3, and Hankin didn’t respond to a Streetsblog inquiry about when the building might be complete.
The Streetsblog account is ambiguous about whether the outdoor bike racks would be staffed, and some commenters took that to mean it would not be staffed and thus not secured.

If so, that seems to contradict what Forest City consultant Sam Schwartz said last June, that it would "always be secured during the arena events," with an operator.

Three elements, some ambiguity

Well, Forest City has a reasonable excuse for not providing indoor bike parking at a building that hasn't been built. But I'm not sure which parts of the vow they're actually breaking with outdoor bike racks. Will it be:
  • secured
  • manned
  • sheltered
So far, while the first two are ambiguous (though, I suspect, likely), they could be easy to fix. As one Streetsblog commenter pointed out, the Park Slope Food Coop offers bike valet parking is every Sunday afternoon and evening. Another pointed out that it would take a small tent and four to five staffers to set up "a secure bike valet zone."

But it looks like it wouldn't be sheltered.

Promise from FCR consultant: "secured" during arena events

During a 6/4/11 Q&A (video) at a forum on Atlantic Yards traffic changes/mitigations, Forest City consultant Sam Schwartz was asked if the bike parking would be open beyond arena events and whether it would be sheltered and be a secure parking facility.



"In terms of the bike parking facility, it will be open during events. We're working with some operators, as part of the the TDM [Transportation Demand Management] program, we're going to come back with you with the details of seeing whether it would be open around the clock," Schwartz responded, acknowledging ambiguity about the rest of the schedule.

"It will be secure, that was your first question," he continued. "The bike parking, 400 spaces, will be provided in the temporary condition and will be provided in the permanent condition. And it will always be secured during the arena events. And we're going to get back to you about the other hours. That's over the next six months when we come back to you figuring out how we're going to get people out of their cars."

He did not answer whether it would be sheltered.

At that point, Schwartz was adhering to the announced schedule that the Transportation Demand Management plan would be available in December 2011. Now it's due 5/22/12.

At a 9/29/10 public meeting on the arena plaza (video, by Jonathan Barkey), Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall was asked about the location of the bike facility.

She said said it's supposed to be in Building 3, to be located at Sixth Avenue and Dean Street. In the interim, it will be on Building 3 site plaza.

Will there actually be a facility built or would it just be racks? Her answer was not quite audible.



From the Q&A response

A document prepared after that meeting last June said that the "Transportation Demand Management Plan will include... a 400 bike parking area adjacent to the Arena."

Surface parking

Regarding the reduction in surface parking spaces addressed by Streetsblog, I commented:
The reduction in the parking lot is not accompanied by residential permit parking, however, which definitely dismayed people at the meeting Wednesday. In the early days, at least, there should be a lot of competition for on-street spaces.

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