Bike Parking on Steroids


"Cyclists are so used to doing with scraps and they’ve been that way for so long that they are shocked when they get anything that satisfies their needs."

Barry Bonds may almost have the home run record, but the San Francisco Giants have another milestone that is much more admirable: the first free, convienent, attended bike parking facility at a U.S. stadium.

Over half of the people who attend Giants games do not travel by car, a somewhat remarkable fact in car-crazy California. (Note to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards bosses: Look at what San Fran is doing to encourage people not to bring their automobile to the stadium).

As part of an arrangement with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, you can bicycle to a Giants game at AT&T Park, check your bike with up to 200+ other fans, and go catch America’s pastime. Kash, Valet Bike Parking Coordinator for SFBC, runs the operation and gives us the scoop. As you’ll see, fans overwhelmingly endorse it.

A regulation passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1999 states all events incurring a street closure require monitored bicycle parking if the event anticipates 2000 or more participants. This only makes sense in a city like New York, too. Why not encourage something like this at Madison Square Garden, Yankee or Shea Stadium? Or at the very least, some quality racks in a secure, protected location.

  • ChicagoPaul

    They’ve been offering free, attended bike parking at Wrigley Field for a couple of years now as well. I’d love to see this at more venues across the city – it just makes sense.

  • For me, navigating the city on a bike is dangerous and overall anxiety-producing. I never liked the idea of being chased by a car ahem* (taxi). To have it reinstated in NYC might not be wise for now.

  • It seems to me like New York could use more pilot programs* (rather than the study committees they seem to favor so much). How much of an investment would it be to pick one of those places, install a nice bike rack, hire a dude to watch the bikes, and see how it goes for 6 months or a year? Streetsblog and TA would be happy to advertise the program, I’m sure. Then, if it’s a success, they could do it everywhere.

    *One of the pilot programs they DO have, however, always strikes me as idiotic. At the corner of 6th Ave and Greenwich Av, there’s a timed walk sign that counts down. Instead of just installing them everywhere, they have a pilot program. Now this IS something that hundreds of cities and towns already use effectively, and I can’t imagine that it would be any different for New York in this particular case.

  • We’ve seen some of that here in Burlington for festivals, fairs, and city events. Our local advocacy group usually tends to the bikes, asking for tips as a fund raiser. They did this at the recent marathon as well as the festivities for the 4th of July.

  • Rick S

    Secure bike parking is nice, but there isn’t a real big bike theft threat at Shea and Yankee Stadium to begin with. There are some racks scattered about and plenty of things to lock to. If you want to ride to the ballgame you don’t have to wait for secure parking. I’ve ridden to Shea at least ten times. Bigger obstacles to riding (besides ticket prices) are dangerous drivers and unsafe approaches to the bridges, especially on the way home at night.

  • Clarence

    Atlantic Yards: In a way, this is EXACTALY why I did a piece like this. Can we learn from this, if the stadium does eventually become reality it would be in the middle of some of the most dense populations for bicycling per capita in the nation. At the very least there should be hundreds of safe, secure bike parking spaces in the stadium. And for reference, the SF bike parking is about 30 seconds away from a stadium entrance, so don;t put bike parking in a place blocks away!

    ChicagoPaul: Hey if you check back, can you post a link about Wrigley Bike Parking. There are a few things that come up in Google, but none are current or clear about where it is and when. I had heard of possible Chicago bike parking when prepping this piece, but could never find anything concrete.

  • s

    Yeah, Havens, cycling in NYC isn’t always safe, but I think the important thing is that each tiny improvement affects the other: more bike parking means more people riding to work or to special events which means more demand for infrastructure improvements. Or more improvements to the infrastructure results in more people riding which results in more demand for parking. Or more people riding, regardless of the other factors to begin with, results in infrastructure improvements…there are lots of ways to slice it.

    Conversely, giving up in one area means no improvements in another!

  • gecko

    The high density and affluence of people in New York City often makes the entire city like one major event. It’s about time the powers that be start thinking on this scale and about transportation in this city that adapts to this rather than copying what’s elsewhere; could be all over and commercial like Chase ATMs, Starbucks, or Maiboxes etc., or the proposed CEMUSA pay toilets; or even like the US Postal and other private systems.

    What the city has to do is make it safe for walking children, the elderly and infirm, human powered transport, and ultimately transit; maybe not too much unlike a giant amusement park.

  • pa

    this will never happen here because bloomberg is completely out of touch with what new yorkers want. he’s too busy luring wealthy people who don’t give a shit about bikes and other important things into moving into hign priced ugly condos.

  • P

    Clever analysis, pa. We’ve been waiting generations for a mayor to reduce congestion and pollution and to fund the transit system. In those areas it looks like Bloomberg is giving us exactly what we want.

  • mfs

    This is desperately needed at any event at McCarren Pool. There are always 100+ bikes locked to the fence at most events there. This is in spite of the official bike racks, which are inside the entrance and totally out of sight.

  • Clarence

    A law like they have in SF would mean events like the Mermaid Parade would be required to set aside hundreds of safe bike parking spots.

    We need NYC to jump on this. Make it happen. Of course there are a few good places this is happening like the movies at Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Bicycle Film Festival. T.A. does some good stuff at the Shea and Cyclones event (tomorrow) but still too few to even match SF’s list.

    SF has 20 events, 24 days worth of valet bike parking on the sked right now.

  • jmc

    pa, your comment about Bloomberg is ridiculous. Look who Bloomberg has hired at the DOT! He obviously takes all the nitty-gritty of city operations very seriously. Take the solid waste management plan, for example.

  • Mitch

    A rule like San Francisco’s is a really good idea, but it’s possible to promote secure bike parking at events without first requiring it. Has anybody tried talking to the organizers of the Mermaid Parade or McCarren Pool events about their bike-parking problem? Better yet, has any group offered to organize their valet bike parking if the event organizers provide the necessary resources?

    It seems that any change that has to be approved by elected officials creates many opportunities for political grandstanding, especially by council members whose constituents don’t like bikes. But individual events and venues, especially the ones that attract a lot of bike riders, might be more cooperative.

  • pa

    #13, while congestion pricing will help it won’t help engough. and the money we’ll be getting from the feds won’t be enough either. there are just way too many high-rise condos going up all over town inviting way too many people into an already over crowded city. the blackout we had a few years ago will be nothing compared to what we’re going to have with the amount of people that will be using using electricity in the coming years. do you really think $500 million is going to be able to expand the transit system to accomodate all of these people? there need to be limits set. if we want a greener nyc and less congestion on the streets and in the subways then there needs to be limits set on residential high-rise developments. it’s going to be a big problem.

  • P

    I’m not certain if you are simply being willful or not. $500 million dollars is simply a way to make enhancements to the transit sytem before congestion pricing begins. After it begins it will be bringing millions each year through: a. fees on peak driving in to Manhattan and b. additional farebox income. This amount will greatly outstrip the $500m of starter funds.

    Indeed, the only way that we will be to accommodate the expect growth is to get people out of their cars: there is simply no way to make the numbers work if you are attempting to bring millions of commuters by car through a handful of tunnels and bridges.

    Your option to limit growth of the city would be the least ‘green’ option that the Mayor could take (in addition to forsaking the economic benefits of a growing city). As you probably know NYC residents use a fraction of the energy of our suburban neighbors. As a waterfront city, that is a consideration we should remember.

  • mfs

    Mitch- I know a number of the organizers of the mccarren pool events and it would be too much of a burden to ask those groups that are offering free events (except for maybe the biggest ones) to provide bike parking.

    Since it’s a semi-permanent venue owned by Parks, they should take the lead. Parks will probably not do anything about bike parking until they renovate the pool starting in 2009.

  • Nenad Krstic

    Clarence- Atlantic Yards proposes a 4,000 sf bicycle station “on the arena block,” with capacity for 400 bicycles. This is in the EIS.

  • Mitch

    mfs —

    Valet bike parking isn’t all that much of a burden for an event that attracts bikes. The capital costs are minimal, and the labor costs — especially if you can recruit volunteers — are minimal. In Madison, I’ve been to a few events where the local bike advocacy group runs the parking. It’s pretty simple: they rope off a grassy area, and set up some chairs and a table for volunteers who check bikes in an out. You don’t even need bike racks, though they might be nice if you have them.

    If a bike group is willing to take care of the details, there’s not much for the event organizers to do: they just need to provide the space and, perhaps, free admission, or beer, or T-shirts, for the volunteers.

    Requiring bike parking is a good idea, but it’s not going to happen right away. It might be easier to put the requirement in place if some events provide it voluntarily, and people can see what it does for them.

  • Dear Nenad

    Nenad —

    Good luck on your rehab. Keep posting to Streetsblog. Impressive you’ve digested the AY EIS, not many NBA players have. I’m a big Nets fan and kind of excited about going to games in Brooklyn, though wish Atlantic Yards was about 1/10th the size and not a giant pedestrian and neighborhood unfriendly techno clot designed by Mr. Roboto Frank Gehry.

  • Danaeo

    By coincidence, someone just sent me a flicker page of photos of Amsterdam, including this one of bike parking:

  • da

    Great pic, Danaeo.

    How long do people think it will take before we see this in NYC? I think perhaps 20 years.

  • Burt

    Bicycle together to improve conditions for bikes.

    Critical Mass San Francisco October 07
    is a video on youtube that captures it during the Halloween ride this year.


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