So today I had my meeting with Transportation Alternatives. It went very well. I brought up the issue that I want to deal with is vandalism but in the end it seems like its more of a security issue for bicyclists;They are afraid of vandalism. In our conversation i mentioned my idea of a Govt. owned Bike Rack with its own locks attached to it, to deter thieves. They told me its a good idea, but since the city just finished a competition for bike racks, mine probably would be impractical, and non implicated. But they brought up something that they are interested in. Apparently when there are events in Brooklyn, like a flea market, and if they have 500 bicyclists show up the Brooklyn neighborhood gets flooded with bikes locked to every single thing one can imagine, trees, street signs, bike racks, whatever they can lock a bike to. One thing that they are trying to do is Valet Bike Parking. They bring these steel plumbing poles, make two X's and attach a pole through the center to make an area to hang bikes on by their seats. I didn't ask them how many bikes they could fit, but apparently its not very easy to transport without a van, ironic that they promote bikes but cant transport things without a bike. this might be a design opportunity. The idea is that if a bicyclist doesn't need to carry a 12 lb. chain they would be more inclined to go to an event where they know their will be secure bicycle parking. The transportable rack would have to be Branded somehow so they have the trust of the cyclist. So lets say in the summer there is a concert someplace, many people whom take cars or cabs to get to the destination, might think about bike riding if they don't have these barriers (chain weight, and vandalism). They mentioned there is already something like this in Portland Oregon, and in Chicago. In New York we have a 1% bicycle user. in Portland its 8% and Chicago is 5%. Another thing they are working on is indoor bike parking. They are in the process of getting a bill passed for bicyclist to be able to take their bikes through the freight elevators. The issue is not with the companies in the building, but the building owners, who claim its unsanitary and will mess up the building. Our argument is that those wheels are no dirtier than the soles of our shoes, or the wheels of a delivery cart. If there is a way to make an "elegant" bike rack for the indoors that might be another opportunity. They showed me a hitch that they use which can carry as much as a small hatchback, but it's not easy to go places fast with it. My question is, does my mission statement still fit with any of the above opportunities?
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Im not sure who you should talk to there, i met with someone that works in recruiting volunteers, and the woman in charge of public relations advocacy for getting bills and rights passed. There is another NFP called Solar One which might be geared to working with you on your project. http://solar1.org/index.php I can mention your project to them the next i speak to them.
Posted November 01, 2008
By Samuel Vider