Bike Parking at Penn Station
When it opens this spring, the bike parking at Penn Station-which sees 500,000 daily transit riders-will become the premiere secure bike lock-up in New York.
Space-efficient and attractive, it will have room for 60 bikes. Exhaustive research and careful design will make it the model for secure bike parking for the city, offering innovative double-decker bike racks and a digital security system. The DOT should pay close attention and look for ways to replicate this project at transit hubs around NYC (e.g. Grand Central Terminal and Whitehall Ferry Terminal).
Five public and private agencies-NYCDOT, 34th Street Partnership, Madison Square Garden, Amtrak and T.A.-have enthusiastically lent time, money and support to make the project happen. The DOT will fund the construction of the bike parking area, the 34th Street Partnership will provide swipe cards and operate the parking, Madison Square Garden and Amtrak will provide space and security and T.A. is working with all of these organizations to keep the momentum going. The combined, and sustained, interest of these powerful organizations shows that there is broad institutional interest in bike parking and that this project is a good model.
T.A. compiled extensive information about the most space-efficient bike racks and effective security systems for Penn Station's bike parking. For $1/day, cyclists will have swipe card access to the fenced-in bike parking area. They will use their own locks to secure their bicycles on two-level bike racks. Digital video cameras and recorders will watch the bikes, and the security system will track the time and date users retrieve their bicycles. The $100,000 construction cost for 60 spaces is reasonable given the innovative design and high level of security. Compared to the $50,000 price tag of building one car parking space in Midtown, secure bike parking is a bargain.
The people most likely to use the bike parking are reverse commuters who live in the city, bike to Penn Station and take the train to the suburbs, or commuters who live outside of NYC, take the train in each day and ride to work. Either way, commuters will have a very safe place, 24/7, to lock their bikes. This self-service model could easily be expanded to hospitals, universities, office buildings and Business Improvement Districts.
Write to the 34th Street Partnership and commend it for recognizing the importance of this project and managing the bike lock-up after it is built.