January/February 1998, p.7

Eleventh-Hour Effort Saves Midtown Parking

Unhappy cyclists found this sticker on their parked bikes Read the latest news about this issue.

The frantic call from a T.A. member came two days before Thanksgiving. Central Parking, which has virtually cornered the market on NYC parking garages and lots, had posted signs at its 810 Seventh Ave. and 639 Sixth Ave. garages announcing that bicycle racks would be removed December 1st. Liability concerns and a recent altercation between a parking attendant and a cyclist prompted management to ditch the racks, a company representative told T.A.

With only one day to mobilize, T.A. arranged an emergency meeting with Central Parking, Dept. of City Planning and NYMTC representatives. Dozens of T.A. members and volunteers, alerted by the "ASKTA" and "EBIKES" e-mail listservs, faxed letters to Central Parking stressing the racks' importance and requesting that they remain. And the Dept. of Consumer Affairs urged Central Parking to leave the racks as a matter of good corporate citizenship. The result? The racks will stay.

While indoor bike parking should be plentiful in this town, only four Midtown garages offer bicycle parking, and access to office buildings is limited. This recent close-call showed that garage operators often have no idea how essential their racks are to cyclists. Wrote one commuter, "[The rack] was a deciding factor in my riding to work."

Unfortunately, private garage owners can yank their racks anytime. And they're especially likely to do so if some unpleasantness happens. It's up to us to make sure they don't. Here's how:

Follow garage rules, and park your bike neatly.
Be polite to attendants and managers.
Use the garage for day parking, not long-term storage.
Send the manager or CEO a "Thank You" note.

As we went to press, the "No Bike Parking" signs hadn't been removed from Central's garages, but Director of Operations Al O'Harra assured us they would be. Thanks, Mr. O'Harra!