Bikes in Buildings Bill Gets Nod From Bloomberg Administration; REBNY Relaxes Opposition After Exemptions Added

The Bloomberg administration has endorsed a long-discussed bill that would require landlords to allow tenants the right to bring bikes into commercial buildings. The endorsement was made Monday at a City Council hearing by Janette Sadik-Kahn, Mayor Bloomberg’s notably active transportation commissioner who is coating the city with fresh bike lanes.

The bill, which is supported by most of the City Council but has sat around without action since it was first introduced in 2003, was previously opposed by the Real Estate Board of New York, the powerful lobby that represents the city’s major landlords. But now the legislation has been modified—certain landlords can gain exemptions from the law—clearing the way for the administration’s support.

“I am happy to say that after considerable collaboration and exchanges of points of view, we have crafted bills that we believe will go a long way towards making bicycle commuting more feasible and attractive,” Ms. Sadik-Kahn said in prepared testimony. (More on the Council hearing here.)

Now, REBNY has retreated some from its hostile position, and, according to its president, Steve Spinola, the group is “looking at it.”

The revised bill “may work because it does permit you to get an exception,” he said.

The bill requires landlords with freight elevators to develop a “bicycle access plan” when a tenant requests bike access for its employees. To be exempt, a landlord would need to show that its freight elevators cannot be used for bicycles or that there is covered bike parking within three blocks of the building.

The Bloomberg administration also endorsed a bill that requires bike parking be built in parking garages.