Indoor bicycle parking, per a municipal law that was passed back in 2009 and dubbed alternately the "Bike Access Bill" or "Bikes in Buildings," is not just an amenity for the wealthy but a right any company can demand that its landlord honor—provided their building has a freight elevator. But some building owners have found ways to keep bikes out of their office space, either by demanding an exemption from the city or simply by paying the fines resulting from refusal.
Today amNewYork reports on a clash between Daily News traffic columnist "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz and the landlords of the Broadway building where his engineering firm has its offices. Though the law permitting workers to bring their bikes into their offices took effect in late 2009, the landlords at 611 Broadway—M.D. Carlisle Realty Corp.—have steadily denied the building's occupants their right to do so, paying over $8,000 in fees instead.
amNY notes that of the 816 requests sent by tenants to their landlords requesting bicycle access since the law was passed, the overwhelming majority were met with approval. But some landlords have fought mightily to keep bikes out of their buildings, often seeking exemptions.
A building owner can ask the city for an exception from the law if it has no freight elevators or can prove there are safety risks involved with permitting bikes onto them; or if it can provide an alternate site for bikes without creating an official “bicycle access plan.”
Architect Clare Miflin, whose Brooklyn Heights landlord sought and obtained an exemption to prevent members of her firm from bringing their bikes into the building, observes: "It seems like it’s too easy for them to get an exemption."