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Bike Corral Could Offer Parking on Broadway

By Emily Frost | November 15, 2012 7:22am

UPPER WEST SIDE — A street parking space in front of a bike-friendly Upper West Side restaurant could be reserved for two-wheeled vehicles under a proposal to turn it into the city's seventh bike corral.

Henry Rinehart, who owns Henry's Restaurant at the corner of 105th Street and Broadway, asked the Department of Transportation to turn the space in front of his eatery into a cluster of bike racks.

Rinehart, who has been riding around the city since 1979, said he always felt "like a second-class citizen" when it came time to park.

"Every time I wanted to secure my bike, I was lurking around looking for a place to lock my bike without killing a tree or impeding pedestrians," Rinehart told Community Board 7's transportation committee Tuesday night.  

There are a handful of corrals around the city, part of a relatively new initiative by the DOT to offer bike parking in areas with high ridership.

DOT Project Manager Jennifer Harris-Hernandez said the department welcomes proposals for new bike corrals, but "the biggest criteria [for installation] is having a maintenance partner."

Rinehart has volunteered to make sure that the space is kept clean and plowed during snow storms, since street cleaners will not be able to reach it. The corral consists of several standard racks surrounded by two to three planters to provide a buffer for the bikes.

The move would mean "we are losing a little potential revenue," Harris-Hernandez said, but the tradeoff can be worth it because "we’re supporting businesses."

She added that the corrals are free to maintenance partners in New York City, but would not say how much the installation would cost the city.

"There’s not a lot of great places to park your bikes right now," she added.

Rinehart said bike parking is in high demand at the intersection of 105th Street and Broadway, noting that there are always several bikes chained to trees and poles around his restaurant. 

The other benefit of bike corrals, according to the DOT, is that it creates better sight lines for drivers and pedestrians. 

"This corner is very, very dangerous," testified Rinehart. "People are constantly coming out and looking for ways to hail their cabs."

Transportation committee member Marc Glazer noted that "parking is a premium" in the neighborhood, but he voted to support the near-unanimous consent of the committee to move forward with the bike corral proposal. 

Rinehart said that he'd gotten more than 100 signatures in support of the initiative, with residents saying they'd sign anything that had to do with bikes.

However, the committee asked that he re-canvas the area and ensure that businesses and residents know about the proposal before it is presented to the full community board next month for a final decision.