The number of bicycle commuters here in New York is certainly growing. Even auto-centric public officials admit as much; I know that I see many more people riding to and from work than I did even a couple of years ago.
While this has helped to raise, however slowly, public awareness of the viability of cycling for transportation, it is also causing us to experience what NYC motorists have long complained about: the lack of available parking, and the expense of off-the-street parking.
To its credit, the city is building more parking racks and stations. And, two years ago, it passed a law requiring commercial garages and parking lots to provide parking spaces for bicycles.
That all sounds really good. But commuting cyclists have encountered another drivers' dilemma: parking spaces in prime commuter destinations are very expensive.
The garage whose sign appears in the photo is at the low end of the price scale. The only problem is that, while it's in a neighborhood (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) where many cyclists live, not many work there. On the other hand, prices for bicycle parking spaces in prime midtown Manhattan areas rival the fees for parking cars. As an example, one garage at Bowery and Canal Street charges $221 a month. Another near Columbus Circle charges $189 a month.
What's truly galling, though, is that some garages charge the 18.375 percent parking tax, which is supposed to apply only to motor vehicles. Given that the city never has enough inspectors for restaurants and such, it's easy for unethical garage and lot owners to charge the tax with impunity.
Still, I'm glad that such parking facilities exist, even though I haven't had to use them myself. But, who knows, one day I might. Hopefully, there will be other improvements to the lot of bicycle commuters by that time!