Summer 2004, p.18

Cycling News
Bikes at Rest: A Look at Bike Rack Practice and Policy

Rack by Popular Demand

Bike racks are back in NYC. This summer the DOTís CityRacks program will finish installing 1,400 new bike racks, bringing the citywide total to 3,400. Smartly, most racks are being placed at locations where bike parking is in highest demand.
Yet even with the increased number of racks now adorning subway stations, parks, and dense office and retail areas, the overwhelming demand still forces cyclists to lock on to signposts, lampposts, parking meters, gates and (unfortunately) trees. To walk down a street where bikes are locked to every secure post is to know that bicycling is on the rise, but it also becomes clear that bikes parked every which way can clog the sidewalk and crowd out pedestrian traffic. To solve the problem, the DOT should furnish at least twice as many racks in 2005. Until then, know that it is not illegal to lock a bicycle to any City-owned sign or lamppost.
To request a free bike rack call 311 or visit transalt.org/cityracks

On a related note...

To meet the rising demand for bike parking, the DOT needs greater authority to install bike racks without first obtaining approval from Community Boards. Community Boards donít have the power to veto trash cans, benches or tree grates, so why should they be free to nix bike racks? This misplaced authority prevents or delays the DOT from installing many racks in needed locations.

A Long Lonely Summer for Abandoned Bikes

NYC is in desperate need of a policy and program to identify, tag and remove abandoned bicycles. Abandoned bikes not only needlessly occupy parking spaces, they can block sidewalks and foment community opposition to installing more bike racks (because people fear that they will fill up with abandoned bikes). The City should designate one agency to run an abandoned bicycle removal program.
Today, the Police, Fire and Sanitation Departments periodically clip abandoned bikes en masse without any notice (the Parks Department usually tags bikes before clipping them). After the bikes are clipped, thereís no way for owners of legitimately locked bikes to know what happened or retrieve them. A centralized and well-organized system will help reunite cyclists with lost or stolen bikes and keep the sidewalks clear for pedestrians.

Bikes parked to every available surface shows the need for more racks around NYC.

Read the latest news on this subject.