Bicycle parking zoning text amendment debated

Public comments focus on added construction costs and impact on affordable housing. On February 4, 2009, the City Planning Commission heard testimony on the Department of City Planning’s proposed bicycle parking text amendment. The proposal would mandate the addition of secure bicycle parking for new buildings, enlargements of 50 percent or more, and conversions to residential use. The regulations would apply to multi-family residential, community facility, and commercial uses, as well as public parking garages. The required number of spaces would differ among uses, but affected buildings would be required to provide 15 sq.ft. per bicycle parking space or as little as six sq.ft. if a more efficient layout were submitted to Buildings. The space would not count against floor area limitations, and the requirements could be waived for smaller buildings such as residential buildings with 10 units or less.

At the public hearing, a representative of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer testified that Stringer supported the proposal and believed that the amendment would promote PlaNYC 2030’s initiatives for increasing bicycle ridership and reducing traffic congestion. He also stated that more bicycle lanes and signage should be implemented to protect riders. An AIA representative expressed support for the proposal, but offered recommendations to make the regulations less burdensome on developers. Among these suggestions were expanding and simplifying the waiver process, and applying a graduated scale to cap the total number of spaces for large commercial buildings.

Karen Hu, a project manager at Phipps Houses, spoke in opposition, stating that requiring one bicycle parking space for every two units of new construction would increase construction costs and ultimately force the City to provide more subsidies for affordable housing.

CPC: Hearing on Bicycle Parking Text Amendment (N 090191 ZRY – text amend.) (Feb. 4, 2009).

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