March 14, 2022 By Christian Murray
A new bike parking concept will be piloted in five locations across New York City this spring/summer with one of those locations being in Astoria.
The Department of Transportation held a press conference on West 14th Street in Manhattan Friday where it announced that a Brooklyn-based company will be placing a curbside pod for secure bike parking in five high profile bicycling spots around the city.
The pilot, which runs from March to July, aims to test the bike parking concept at the locations to see whether it should be adopted on a wider scale. Each pod, which is being provided by the bike parking start-up company Oonee, has room to store six bikes and is called a “Mini.”
The pod went up curbside on West 14th Street on Friday and will be at that location for about a month. In April, it will be moved to the Lower East Side; in May, it will be in Union Square; in June, in Prospect Heights; and in July, it will be moved to 34-02 31st Avenue, as part of the 31st Avenue Open Street.
Parking with Oonee is free for the duration of the demonstration but will require cyclists to access Oonee through ooneepod.com. The units, placed curbside, have interior illumination that allows cyclists to find their bikes at all hours and Oonee keeps the pods maintained.
The DOT launched the program at Friday’s press conference, which it held jointly with Oonee, elected officials and bike safety advocates.
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said that the time was right to test the “Mini’ given the popularity of cycling and the city’s need to encourage that mode of transportation.
“We want to send a clear message to cyclists this spring: try out a “Mini” so that we can better learn what cyclists need, as we work to bring more bike parking spaces around the City.”
DOT said that it is committed to expanding secure bike parking, with the pilot being part of its plan.
The agency is currently engaged in a major effort to increase the number of bicycle corrals and racks Citywide. It is currently in the process of fulfilling a February 2021 pledge of installing 10,000 new racks by the end of 2022, including 100 intersection bike corrals.
At the time of the Feb 2021 announcement there were 28,000 bike racks across the city, with each rack providing parking for two bikes.
The founder of Oonee, Shabazz Stuart, posted a video on twitter Friday to express his excitement about the pilot program.
“This is really historic, it’s a really great, powerful step,” he said in the video. “It’s the first time that any big city in the United States has had a secure bike parking facility on the curb.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said that he looks forward to seeing the results of the pilot and complimented the DOT for its efforts in promoting bicycling.
“This pilot program is a great step forward toward encouraging more people to use bicycles to get around New York City,” Richards said in a statement. “These mini-pods will offer an innovative way for bicyclists to park their bikes safely, creating peace-of-mind for cyclists and removing one of the barriers that deter people from biking.”
Will be free to use and will start operating immediately! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/Ron3TSNARM
— Shabazz Stuart (@ShabazzStuart) March 11, 2022