According to the report, there are 30,000 bike parking spaces in the city, most of which are metal racks installed on sidewalks. However, there are more than 100 times as many car parking spaces than spots for bikes.
While there are 1.5 free parking spaces for every registered car in the five boroughs, there is only one parking space for every 116 bikes, the organization found.
The report also found bike theft to be a persistent problem, having increased by more than 27 percent in 2020. Between March and mid-September last year, more than 4,400 bikes were stolen. One in four households reported losing a bike to theft.
“Simply put, there is not enough bicycle parking in New York City,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Despite more households owning bikes than cars, bike parking has taken a back seat to free private car storage on our streets.”
The advocacy group said access to bicycle parking is the second biggest factor for determining whether someone rides a bike or not. They also argued that increasing bike parking would encourage more shopping and spending at local businesses.
Transportation Alternatives estimated that converting one car parking spot into bike parking could generate 3.6 times more spending.
“As more New Yorkers turn to bikes, our city needs to start building more bike parking now,” Harris added. “Installing dedicated spaces at scale will send a strong signal that biking is safe, reliable and accessible for all New Yorkers.”
The report concluded that over the past eight years, the city has failed to deliver on 11 different plans to improve bicycle parking, including one proposal to add 1,500 new bike parking racks per year. The group issued several recommendations, including delivering on past plans.
Other recommendations include making bike parking a part of all new street furniture by attaching bike racks to new tree guards, street signs and lamp posts, converting parking meters into bike racks, and converting car parking spaces into bike corrals.
They also suggested that the NYPD begin tracking bike theft in a uniform manner, passing legislation to allow developers to replace car parking with bike parking, no longer requiring community board approval for bike parking installations, and making a formal request to Google and Apple Maps to add bike parking as a layer in their programs.
Transportation Alternatives said the new bike parking infrastructure should first be built in low-income communities of color, to be paired by the expansion of bike share programs and protected bike lanes.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said the report shows that bike parking benefits environmental justice communities, small businesses and the city’s streets as a whole.
“So often we hear of emissions policies being talked about in terms of getting a number of cars off the road,” he said. “We can’t do that effectively, however, if there are no safe or secure places to store bicycles in most neighborhoods.”
Councilman Antonio Reynoso said in a statement that municipal governments across the world are creating adequate bike parking, and it’s time for New York City to follow their lead.
“Sufficient biking infrastructure will help accommodate cyclists, many of whom are low-income New Yorkers,” he said, “all while enabling more residents to take up biking as an environmentally responsible, healthy form of transportation.”
Dr. George Syros, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Queens, said at the height of the pandemic, he relied on his bike to commute more than four miles each way to work. But during one hospital shift, his bike was stolen.
Thanks to a Bike Match program started by Transportation Alternatives, Syros got another bike.
“Many hospital workers are biking to work now, and secure bike parking needs to be significantly expanded to meet this growing need,” he said. “I hope that the city improves in this area in 2021.”