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Williamsburg Businesses Relaunch Bid to Add Bike Corrals

By Serena Dai | September 15, 2014 2:13pm
 The NYC Department of Transportation and several local businesses are relaunching their bid to build bike corrals in Williamsburg.
Williamsburg Bike Corral Proposals
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WILLIAMSBURG — The city and local businesses are making another push to install a trio of bike corrals in Williamsburg after being rejected by the community board earlier this year.

Community Board 1 voted against the Department of Transportation's plan to replace car parking spaces with bike spots in April, saying that vehicle parking needed to be preserved.

But the DOT and three businesses who offered to care for the corrals returned to the board last week in the hopes of convincing the board to support more bike parking.

Summers Juice and Coffee at 155 S. Fourth St., BikeSmith at 667 Grand St. and CrossFit Virtuosity at 98 Bayard St. all want to install corrals in front of their businesses, which combined would fit 30 bikes total.

Each corral would replace one to one-and-a-half parking spaces.

Without sufficient bicycle parking, bikes crowd the narrow sidewalks and get illegally left on private property or attached trees, creating safety issues for pedestrians, the DOT and businesses said.

"This is offered as a solution to a problem where there’s an overcrowding of bicycles," said DOT's Inbar Kishoni at the meeting. "We take the concentration off of the sidewalk and allow free flow for pedestrians."

Each business had its own reasons for applying for the corrals — from high bike traffic due to being near the Williamsburg Bridge or Grand Street's major bike thoroughfare, to an active clientele that tends to bike to the gym.

Chris Taha of Summers said that the juice spot has even started a monthly bike ride that attracts some 30 to 50 cyclists due to its proximity to high bike traffic.

"It's a good amount of bikes," he said. "Obviously when that happens, the sidewalk becomes clustered. A corral will help the situation."

Community Board 1's transportation committee already approved the new bike corrals but will revisit the issue on later this month at the request of board chair Dealice Fuller. It will go to a full vote at next month's meeting. Ultimately, the board's vote is only advisory.

Currently, there are five bike corrals in Community Board 1's area.

A couple of board members worried that biking was being promoted without an eye to larger safety issues, while another said to some applause that cyclists should be charged cash to park just as cars are.

But board member Rob Solano said he's had a change of heart since the spring after learning more about the corrals.

"There was a gut reaction," Solano said. "You've done a lot of conversations, and everyone's really comfortable with what's happening there. They are going to lose a [parking] spot. The reward is higher than the loss of the spot."

UPDATE: The transportation committee meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m.