Spring 2005, p.27

About T.A.
Home Is Where You Hang Your Bike

Our bike parking (not to mention desk space) is at maximum capacity on West 30th Street in Manhattan.
Our bike parking (not to mention desk space) is at maximum capacity on West 30th Street in Manhattan.

To make more room for our growing staff and volunteers (and of course all of the bicycles that come with them), Transportation Alternatives is moving. Beginning June 1, T.A.’s new address will be 127 West 26th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

When we began the search for new office space earlier this year, we were prepared to negotiate on a great many issues, from the timing of the move-in to the percentage of rent increase per year. What was completely non-negotiable, however, was secure indoor bike parking. Even with ubiquitous outdoor bike parking, there is no substitute for indoor bike parking for insulating bikes from theft and the elements.

Commercial buildings can provide secure indoor bike parking two ways: by establishing a special bicycle room (usually in the basement or garage); or by permitting tenants to allow their employees to bring their bicycles into their office space. Building owners often opt for the latter because it does not require them to set aside rentable space. If a building was not willing to provide one of these two options, it was not the building for T.A.

"It's a mystery to me why some building owners don't allow bikes," says Sam Stein of Justin Management. "It's not a big deal as long as the tenants are prepared to take responsibility for it; I have even found it to be a valuable selling point."

Eventually we found a space nearby man-aged by the bike-friendly Justin Management, the same company that manages our current space. During our eight year tenure at 115 West 30th Street, Justin has allowed the staff of T.A. and indeed all of the building’s tenants to bring bicycles up and down the freight elevators, or in the passenger elevator when the freight elevators are closed. Justin has found this to be a viable option, one that is increasingly exercised by building tenants as bike commuting becomes more popular.

Our new digs on 26th Street begin to take shape. There will be room for 15 bikes, tons of volunteers, and of course the T.A. staff.
Our new digs on 26th Street begin to take shape. There will be room for 15 bikes, tons of volunteers, and of course the T.A. staff.

Once we found our building, we turned to our architect, T.A. member Sal Tranchina, to create a model workplace for bicycle commuters. His first job was to design a space where we could park our bikes. To accommodate the commuting habits of our 12 staffers and a steady stream of volunteers, we figured that we needed room to park at least 15 bicycles. Sal delivered with two rows of vertical bike hangers, which cost under $50 each and consume only 72 square feet of space. While a shower and changing room were deemed ideal, in the end, due to space and cost considerations, we had to settle for just a changing room.

To schedule an appointment to see T.A.’s new office (which in addition to bike parking boasts workstations fashioned from recycled organic material and bike parts) email us at info@transalt.org