|On April 22, 2009, the City Council adopted the Bicycle Parking Text Amendment. The text changes are now in effect.
Download the Bike Parking symbol in pdf format.
Why is this Text Amendment Important?
The Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing a text amendment to the Zoning Resolution to require indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, community facility, and commercial buildings. The proposed text amendment would provide for bicycle parking and storage both at home and in the workplace, with standards that serve the needs of cyclists while providing flexibility to accommodate the needs of development.
This text amendment promotes several important sustainability goals that are part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030 proposal. Transportation, congestion and health issues are major quality of life concerns facing New York City residents and workers. With a population expected to exceed nine million in 2030 and congested roads and subways, the City must look to solutions that will more effectively and efficiently use its resources while minimizing carbon emissions and other adverse effects on the environment. This text amendment is one component of an overall citywide effort to address these issues.
Studies and surveys by DCP (The NYC Bicycle Survey, 2007; The State of Cycling in NYC, 2006; Bicycle Parking Needs, 1999) have found that the lack of a safe and secure bicycle parking facility is a leading factor preventing people from cycling to work. In addition, a lack of bicycle storage facilities in residential buildings can make bicycle ownership impractical. By promoting secure, indoor bicycle parking facilities, this proposal seeks to support ridership throughout the city as well as encourage new cyclists to start riding. The increase of cycling in the city will yield fitness and health benefits for riders as well as the potential benefits of alleviating congestion, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has many new initiatives to promote cycling and increase bicycle infrastructure throughout the city. DOT has committed to the complete buildout of bike facilities outlined in the New York City Bicycle Master Plan, a joint effort by DCP and DOT that was released in 1993, and it has set goals of doubling bicycle commuting by 2015 and tripling by 2020. Cycling is already on the rise: DOT’s annual bicycle counts into Manhattan indicate that cycling has grown by 116% between 2000 and 2008, including a 35% increase from 2007 to 2008. The proposed text amendment would support New Yorkers who require a secure place to store their bikes at home, seek to commute to work by bike, or those who want to use their bikes for short trips or recreation.
The proposed bicycle parking requirements focus on three complementary functions of bicycle parking that will serve a broad range of needs in the city:
- Residential parking at the bicycle owner’s home;
- Employee parking for commuters at their work locations;
- General purpose bicycle parking in public parking garages.
Proposed Bicycle Parking Requirements
The proposal would establish regulations that require indoor, secure bicycle parking in new developments, substantial enlargements, and residential conversions. The regulations would apply to multi-family residential, community facility, and commercial buildings, including public parking garages, in all zoning districts:
- Requirements would apply to new buildings, enlargements of 50% or more, and conversions to residential use. Requirements may be waived for smaller buildings (e.g. residential buildings of 10 units or less).
- 15 square feet would be required per bicycle parking space. This could be reduced to as little as 6 square feet with the submission of a more efficient layout to the Department of Buildings.
- Bicycle parking spaces must be enclosed and accessible to designated users, i.e. residents, employees, or in the case of public parking garages, available to the general public for parking. Spaces must either be secured by a locked door or must include a securely anchored rack to which the bicycle frame and one wheel can be locked.
- Bicycle parking would not count as floor area (up to the maximum requirement) if provided according to the standards set forth in the zoning text.
- In order to address a wide range of building configurations, bicycle parking could be provided in a variety of locations, including on the ground floor of a building, in a cellar or in a parking garage. Bicycle parking facilities would also be allowed behind buildings, where zoning already allows automobile parking.
- The City Planning Commission would be able to authorize a reduction or waiver of bicycle parking spaces when subsurface conditions or below-ground infrastructure make bicycle parking difficult or infeasible.
The proposed zoning requirements seek to provide developers flexibility in creating bicycle parking in order to allow a range of solutions for different buildings. By requiring a number of bicycle parking spaces and flexibility in the size of spaces, the zoning would allow developers to use a variety of space-efficient parking systems such as vertical racks, floor-mounted racks, double stacking systems, or other hanging systems to fulfill their requirement.
The proposed requirements would apply citywide, and would replace existing bicycle parking requirements in several Special Purpose Districts including Hudson Yards, Long Island City, and Downtown Brooklyn.
- Requirements for Multi-Family Residential Buildings
The purpose of the proposed residential bicycle parking requirement is to provide long-term and secure parking where the bicycle is stored most of the time. The proposed text would require one bicycle parking space per two residential units. This requirement would be waived for buildings with 10 or fewer units, and would be calculated separately for buildings with separate entrances, such as rowhouses on the same zoning lot.
Requirements for Commercial Uses
The purpose of the proposed bicycle parking requirement for office and retail uses is to provide for the long-term parking needs of employees. The proposed text would require one bicycle parking space per 7,500 square feet of floor area for commercial offices, and one bicycle parking space per 10,000 square feet of floor area for retail and most other commercial uses. Certain large entertainment facilities would be subject to a requirement of one bicycle parking space per 20,000 square feet of floor area. The requirement would be waived for buildings where three or fewer bicycle parking spaces would be required (less than 26,250 square feet of office use, less than 35,000 square feet of retail use, or less than 70,000 square feet of large entertainment facility).
Requirements for Community Facilities and Other Commercial Uses
The proposed bicycle parking requirement for community facilities addresses the long-term parking needs of employees and users with similar needs. For most community facilities, one bicycle parking space would be required per 10,000 square feet of floor area. The requirement would be waived for buildings where three or fewer bicycle parking spaces are required (less than 35,000 square feet of floor area).
For most university and college buildings, one space would be required per 5,000 square feet of floor area; however, up to half of these spaces may be located outdoors. This would accommodate an often varied user population, including students and staff with both long-term and short-term parking needs.
For community facilities with multiple buildings in a campus setting, required bicycle parking spaces could be provided off-site within certain limitations by certification from the Chair of the City Planning Commission.
Public Parking Garages
The proposed bicycle parking requirement for public parking garages addresses general purpose bike parking needs. Public parking garages would be required to provide one bicycle parking space per 10 vehicle spaces. The requirement would be waived for public parking garages where three or fewer bicycle spaces are required (garages with fewer than 35 vehicle spaces).
For all uses, when an accessory parking garage is provided, the number of bicycle parking spaces required for a use would either be the requirement for that use, or 1 per 10 vehicle parking spaces in the accessory garage, whichever is greater.
View the proposed text.
On March 4, 2009, the City Planning Commission approved the text amendment with modifications*. Read the modified text amendment.
Read the CPC report.
View a table summarizing the proposed bicycle parking requirements.
On November 17, 2008, the Department of City Planning referred for a 60-day period, the proposed bicycle parking text amendment (N090191 ZRY) to all community boards, borough boards, and borough presidents for review and comment. On February 4, 2009, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposal.
*In response to issues raised during the public review, the Commission approved the zoning text amendment with the following modifications:
1. For affordable housing developments, the bicycle parking requirement may be reduced or waived by the Commissioner of Buildings, provided that the Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has submitted a letter certifying that:
- at least 50% of the dwelling units are income restricted through a subsidy program
- there is insufficient space within the building or an accessory parking garage
- construction of additional space for bicycle parking would conflict with subsidy limitations
- the number of bike parking spaces is being reduced by the minimum amount necessary
2. For not-for-profit residencies for the elderly, change the requirement to one bicycle parking space per 10,000 square feet instead of one bicycle parking space per two dwelling units.
3. For dormitories, replace the original proposed requirement based on the number of beds to one bicycle parking space per 2,000 square feet.
4. Correct grandfathering language to reflect that the proposed requirements would not apply to projects with building permits issued or other approvals, including variance applications, pending on or before the date of referral of this text amendment.
5. Clarify the security standards for bicycle racks.
6. Clarify language requiring information on bicycle parking spaces to be listed on the building’s Certificate of Occupancy.
7. Clarify that accessory bicycle parking spaces can be located within a community facility building where it is a permitted obstruction in a rear yard or rear yard equivalent.
8. Clarify findings in the CPC authorization for a reduction or waiver of requirements to reflect that bicycle parking must be infeasible at or below the first floor.
9. Establish a floor area-based maximum number of spaces eligible for floor area exemption, instead of the current per-bed standard, for non-profit institutions with sleeping accommodations.
10. Clarify that the floor area exemption is available to existing buildings as well as new buildings, up to the maximum exemption allowed.
On April 22, 2009, the City Council adopted the Bicycle Parking Text Amendment. The zoning changes are now in effect.
For more information about the proposal, contact the Transportation Division of the Department of City Planning at 212-442-4630.
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