Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bike valet parking at Barclays Center gets big publicity push, modest use (updated again with total of 85, new photos)

Mayor and band, via @Barclays Center
Update Friday, June 7: TA tells me the official total is 85.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg came to the Barclays Center last night to promote the new valet bike parking service, in which visitors could simply trade their bikes and helmets for a ticket and not have to lock up.

(He even promoted the city's new Citibike service, as a photo further below suggests. The nearest Citibike station is on the other side of the arena, at the Atlantic Terminal mall.)

Members of The National, the headliners at the Barclays Center, rode from Ditmas Park.

Representatives of arena developer Forest City Ratner and Transportation Alternatives, which ran the valet parking effort, spoke to multiple TV cameras.


Did it work?

So, did the "experiment" work? As the (somewhat) tight shot at left suggesta, only a few dozen people took advantage of the service, at least early in the evening. (I wasn't able to stop by myself.)

That number surely grew. Brooklyn Spoke's Doug Gordon wrote me to say he "was told it was over 100." Indeed, that's what Transportation Alternatives later reported (though see above). The capacity is 400 bikes.

Indeed, Gordon sent photos that showed more at the end
of the concert.

Still, the total is far fewer than at Celebrate Brooklyn, where valet bike parking has been offered for years and draws 300+ bikes, I'm told.

Then again, Celebrate Brooklyn is free (with a requested donation) and events start earlier, so it should attract far more people.

Also, it takes a while for word to get out. So, I suspect that, if valet parking is offered consistently at the Barclays Center, use will pick up. It may not earn back the modest fee ($850 for the first event) Forest City pays, but it still might be worth it to build a base of users.

Does anyone remember that the site of the valet parking used to be home to Freddy's Bar & Backroom, and adjacent buildings? A wag once wrote a song called "Freddy's Is an Escalator Now," though, more accurately, it could be "Freddy's Is a Bike Parking Lot Now."

BC TV coverage

Barclays Center TV did its own upbeat segment.



The coverage

NY1 offered Barclays Center Tests Out Bike Valet Service.  ABC reported Valet services offered for bicycles at Barclays.

And News12  had Transportation Alternatives tests free valet bike service at Barclays Center.

Note how, in the screenshot at right from News12, Brigitte LaBonte is described as a "Park Slope Concert Goer."

I'm sure that's not inaccurate, but she also should be described as a member of arena developer Forest City Ratner's external relations staff.

A call for context

About.com Guide Ellen Freudenheim called for context, writing Mayor Mike on a Bike: Why Cheer Barclays New Bike Valet Parking Tonight & Not Congratulate Celebrate Brooklyn Too?:
Imagine my surprise at reading in the hyper local news outlet DNA that Mayor Mike will show up tonight in Brooklyn to tout urban biking....but where? At Barclays Center to make a fuss over the mega-million dollar stadium's embrace of valet bike parking.
Well, how about Mayor Mike on a bike showing up at some of other Brooklyn cultural institutions that have had valet biking for years-- before, say Barclays even broke ground?
So here's an invitation to Mayor Mike, on or off his bike, un-vetted by the good folks at BRIC, the sponsors of Celebrate Brooklyn!
...Unlike Barclays, entrance is free, with a suggested entrance fee of $3 that would barely buy a hotdog at the stadium, much less a ticket.
...And unlike Barclay's, they've offered free valet bike parking for years now.
The Citibike promo

The mayor turned it into a Citibike promo, with members of The National and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan

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