In March, T.A. met with the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services--the agency that owns and manages 53 municipal buildings--and asked it to create a policy that would allow tenants to bring their bicycles inside. In April, eight city councilmembers sent a letter to Citywide Administrative Services' Commissioner, Martha Hirst, urging the agency to "initiate a program that would allow employees in City-owned buildings to take their bikes [in]to work." But in a May New York Times article, the agency said that it is not considering the councilmembers' request. And, a week later, it reversed a ten-year old policy of allowing Municipal Building tenants to bring their bicycles inside.
Citywide Administrative Services' lack of a bicycle access policy is a telling disconnect between the City's official Bicycle Master Plan and how it actually treats cyclists. In 1991, the Department of General Services (Citywide Administrative Services' predecessor) had a policy that allowed city workers to bring their bikes inside. This policy was discontinued when General Services became Citywide Administrative Services in 1996. In 1999, the Department of City Planning's "Bicycle Survey Report" revealed that the lack of secure indoor bike parking is the biggest obstacle to potential bike commuters and its "Bicycle Parking Needs Study" recommended that Citywide Administrative Services establish a policy allowing its tenants to park their bicycles inside.
Citywide Administrative Services should create a policy that allows tenants to bring bikes inside City-owned building, set guidelines about safe storage and let individual superintendents and tenants find site-specific solutions to indoor bike parking. Anecdotally, the four Borough Halls; Manhattan's Criminal Court; Bronx, Queens and Staten Island Family Courts; the DFMC Trades Shops in Brooklyn and four other City buildings currently allow tenants' bicycles inside. Write to Department of Administrative Services' Commissioner, Marth Hirst and tell her that the City should allow bicycles back in the Municipal Building and its thirty other buildings.
Commissioner Martha Hirst