New York City is busy gearing up for the long-delayed launch of its bike-share program on an undisclosed date in the next few weeks, with some 5,000 people signing up for annual memberships in the first 28 hours that they were available. In the meantime, the city keeps quietly pushing ahead building new bike infrastructure for people who have bikes of their own already.
The latest addition is a first for the city, and possibly even the country. In the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, bike parking corrals, rather than parked cars, are being used to protect bike lanes. Three new corrals were just installed alongside the bike lane on Ninth Avenue in response to community requests for more bike parking.
In this video by Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms, local safe-streets advocate Christine Berthet explains that the corrals address a need in a densely populated part of town famous for its many restaurants. These days, there are so many bikes in Hell’s Kitchen that racks on narrow sidewalks can’t handle the volume, and pedestrians were getting crowded out. A corral with enough room for 16 bicycles replaces a single car parking space.
Local restaurant managers, many of whom employ large fleets of delivery cyclists, are enthusiastic, as the video shows. "It's more beautiful, more organized," says one woman who works at a Thai place called Zoob Zib.
"This is good," adds the owner of Italian restaurant Casa di Isacco. "This is perfect for New York."
(Full disclosure: I used to work for Streetfilms’ sister publication, Streetsblog.)