New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced the City is prepared to implement the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law (Local Law 52), which aims to increase bicycle commuting by helping cyclists gain access to secure parking at their office buildings during the workday.
The legislation was signed into law by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in August 2009 and was sponsored by Council Member David Yassky and shepherded through the City Council by Council Member John Liu, the Transportation Committee Chairman. DOT and DOB will jointly oversee the Bikes in Buildings Program and overall compliance with the law, which is expected to lead to a broad expansion of bike parking at commercial office buildings across the City and encourage continued growth in the number of commuter cyclists on City streets. Commuter cycling in New York is already accelerating rapidly, with a 26% increase in just the last year alone, and has more than doubled since 2005. DOT today also announced the winners of its second annual Bike Friendly Business Awards, which recognize exceptional employers who support bike commuting, take significant measures to keep their working cyclists safe with equipment and training, or building owners who were already providing remarkable bike access to tenants.
"A lack of secure bike access and parking at the office is one of the biggest deal-breakers for commuters who want to get to work by bike," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "While commuter cycling continues to grow, this new law unlocks a barrier that has stopped an untold number of bike commutes before they even started. While we launch a new era in bike commuting, we also recognize businesses that are making cycling a commuting and business priority for their employees."
"Biking is a great way to get to work in New York City, and this new law makes it easier for workers to commute on two wheels instead of four," said Commissioner LiMandri. "By creating a safe, secure place for cyclists to store their bikes, it will help to promote alternative modes of transportation and a healthy, active lifestyle for millions of New Yorkers. I would like to thank all those who dedicated their time to make the law possible, including Commissioner Sadik-Khan and the Department of Transportation, the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg."
"Allowing bicycles in buildings is an effective way to encourage cycling," said Council Member Yassky. "This legislation is an extremely realistic effort to cut emissions, improve air quality, maximize public transportation and ease congestion, reaping tremendous environmental, public health and quality of life benefits for New Yorkers and New York City."
"Bicycle access will finally be required in many office buildings to which New Yorkers would like to commute on two wheels," said Chairperson Liu. "This is an important milestone in the series of efforts to encourage alternative transportation and especially to wean people out of individual automobiles."
The City's efforts to increase commuter cycling in New York are part of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC agenda and one of the goals of DOT's strategic plan to double 2007 bike commuting levels by 2012 and to triple them by 2017. Employers may also benefit from increased employee cycling since aerobic exercise provided by bike riding improves health outcomes and potentially reduces health insurance costs.
Under the new law tenants may request bike access through a formal request to their office building owner. The building owner must then grant access to the tenant's space by elevator or request an exception from the City. Those buildings wishing to grant bicycle access must submit a bicycle access plan to the City. A building asking for an exception must either provide alternate parking for cyclists or, in limited instances, demonstrate that unique safety condition exists related to carrying bicycles in the freight elevator. The new law does not apply to residential buildings, commercial office buildings without a freight elevator, or other buildings not primarily composed of offices.
Additional details of the program are available online at www.nyc.gov/bikesinbuildings. Online forms to request bike access, submit a bike access plan or request an exception will be available there starting Dec. 11.