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  1. #1
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    NYC Bike Racks Installed Wrong

    I noticed something the other day. That all of the new city installed bike racks are oriented in-correctly. These bike racks are typically an upside down "U" shape, so one bike could be locked up on the outer post one or two in the middle and one on the other outer post. However, because these bike racks are being installed parallel to the street, bikers are using them on the horizontal "flat" side, thus preventing anyone else from locking their bikes to the racks. Also, if you were to try and lock your bike up perpendicular to the rack (as I believe the racks were meant to be used), because the racks are placed so close to the street, your bike wheel would stick out over the curb and set yourself up for a car to bump into it when it would park.

    I know it may sound like a trivial matter, but...we're talking thousands of bike racks that have been installed this way - and are to be installed, and i really think someone screwed up here.

    Thoughts and comments???

    FYI, I emailed transportation alternatives but didn't hear anything.

    I also emailed the city and got this message....

    "Thank you for your email regarding your bike rack suggestions. We appreciate your interest and have forwarded your email to our Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs. Ensuring the safety of our residents is of primary concern to the NYCDOT. Your participation in transportation issues which affect your community is greatly appreciated.

    Customer Service Division, New York City Department of Transportation"

  2. #2
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    Interesting observation. I always thought the upside down U racks were designed that way so one could lock both the front and rear wheels to a rack (which admittedly no one does). Also, can't seem to remember how the ones under the Union Sq bike shelter are oriented. I think they're parallel to the street, but because they have a shelter space and a wider sidewalk, that orientation allows for "correct" rack utilization. If they're perpendicular to the street, then people have no other choice but to lock their bikes up parallel - incorrectly?

    The multi-U racks, like the ones along Delancey in front of Whole Foods are installed the correct and logical way since the sidewalk is much wider than your average street. I always see 3 or so bikes locked up to one of those.

  3. #3
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Not entirely sure what you mean by parallel to the street. I would call these perpendicular to the street - allowing cyclists two contact points to secure their bikes. In this case though it's the close proximity of bike racks that tends to limit the number of bikes the shelter can accommodate.



    I think I'll add that I don't really think there's a right or wrong way. I've seen bike racks installed in both orientations in the same spot. As long as there's room to park my bike either way is fine with me.
    Last edited by Stacy; 06-17-09 at 10:49 PM. Reason: more thoughts

  4. #4
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronandi View Post
    if you were to try and lock your bike up perpendicular to the rack (as I believe the racks were meant to be used)
    While the racks can be used any way you like as long as space permits such use, but they are designed for the bike to be parallel with the rack. Design guidelines do allow for the bike rack to be installed parallel to the curb.
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    No they are right because we use two locks and lock up through both wheels to both verticals of the rack.

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    The OP thinks you should be locking like this


  7. #7
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    How about these?



    These are made for multiple bikes and not for locking both front and rear wheels right? Are they just not designed well to begin with? Like I said, they seem to work pretty well in front of the Wholefoods along Delancey.

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    Senior Member Commando303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronandi View Post
    I noticed something the other day. That all of the new city installed bike racks are oriented in-correctly. These bike racks are typically an upside down "U" shape, so one bike could be locked up on the outer post one or two in the middle and one on the other outer post. However, because these bike racks are being installed parallel to the street, bikers are using them on the horizontal "flat" side, thus preventing anyone else from locking their bikes to the racks. Also, if you were to try and lock your bike up perpendicular to the rack (as I believe the racks were meant to be used), because the racks are placed so close to the street, your bike wheel would stick out over the curb and set yourself up for a car to bump into it when it would park.

    I know it may sound like a trivial matter, but...we're talking thousands of bike racks that have been installed this way - and are to be installed, and i really think someone screwed up here.

    Thoughts and comments???

    FYI, I emailed transportation alternatives but didn't hear anything.

    I also emailed the city and got this message....

    "Thank you for your email regarding your bike rack suggestions. We appreciate your interest and have forwarded your email to our Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs. Ensuring the safety of our residents is of primary concern to the NYCDOT. Your participation in transportation issues which affect your community is greatly appreciated.

    Customer Service Division, New York City Department of Transportation"
    It's funny you mention this. When I began thinking about buying a bicycle, one of the things I started to do is look at bike racks. I saw most were installed parallel to the street, and observed most upside-down "U" racks held just one bike, which used the entire thing. I wondered, considering the shape of the rack, if it wouldn't make more sense for one person to park "in" the "U," and two others to do so outside it.

    I think most racks are aligned as they are in Manhattan simply for the sake of space. Considering narrower sidewalks, racks that cut in too much (many are multi-"U" ones, after all), might be a nuisance to pedestrians (which, of course, we all are). I'm not sure, then, if this sort of installation is an error or a deliberated choice.

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    Correct (on the photo locking up the bikes perpendicular to the "U" rack), except as you can see in the picture, it makes no sense because the bikes now take up more space on the side walk....Also, your instinct as a biker is to ride on the side walk and lock your bike up in that same direction, not turn your bike around...atleast that's my instinct.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
    Not entirely sure what you mean by parallel to the street. I would call these perpendicular to the street - allowing cyclists two contact points to secure their bikes. In this case though it's the close proximity of bike racks that tends to limit the number of bikes the shelter can accommodate.



    I think I'll add that I don't really think there's a right or wrong way. I've seen bike racks installed in both orientations in the same spot. As long as there's room to park my bike either way is fine with me.
    I hadn't seen that...To me that just doesn't make sense...I think it had more to do with the Architect who designed it, like the look of the racks that way. Again, you lose an extra point or points to lock the bike up (I think).

    Quite frankly I think it comes down to a designer/planner, wanting to have cleaner lines, and with those racks placed parallel to the street, they look cleaner, albeit less efficient. (again, my opinion)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    While the racks can be used any way you like as long as space permits such use, but they are designed for the bike to be parallel with the rack. Design guidelines do allow for the bike rack to be installed parallel to the curb.

    That doesn't make sense though. If something has the ability to be more effective - ie. able to hold more bikes - doesn't it make sense that, that is the way it is designed for. The kicker here is if that upside down "U" was an upside down "W", people wouldn't lock their bikes parallel to it, because it would clearly be "hogging" a multi bike, bike rack and I don't think your average biker would do that.

    My inane, idiotic, dumb point in all of this, is with the removal of the all of the parking meters in the city, and all the more bikers we now have, it makes sense to get the most bikes per each rack...and right now, that doesn't happen. (I rarely see more than one bike per one of those racks.). And I think it's because of the orientation of the racks, because instinctively bikers when pulling out of traffic, on to a side walk, will continue in the same direction they are going and would lock their bikes up if the rack was simply turned.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeebusaurousrex View Post
    How about these?



    These are made for multiple bikes and not for locking both front and rear wheels right? Are they just not designed well to begin with? Like I said, they seem to work pretty well in front of the Wholefoods along Delancey.
    Those are the one they should install. They don't take up that much room, and if the City is going to go through all of the trouble to install these things, they might as well get ones that allow more than one or two bikes.

  13. #13
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronandi View Post
    That doesn't make sense though. If something has the ability to be more effective - ie. able to hold more bikes - doesn't it make sense that, that is the way it is designed for. The kicker here is if that upside down "U" was an upside down "W", people wouldn't lock their bikes parallel to it, because it would clearly be "hogging" a multi bike, bike rack and I don't think your average biker would do that.

    My inane, idiotic, dumb point in all of this, is with the removal of the all of the parking meters in the city, and all the more bikers we now have, it makes sense to get the most bikes per each rack...and right now, that doesn't happen. (I rarely see more than one bike per one of those racks.). And I think it's because of the orientation of the racks, because instinctively bikers when pulling out of traffic, on to a side walk, will continue in the same direction they are going and would lock their bikes up if the rack was simply turned.


    Note that one bike does not hog the whole U rack. But you got me on the W rack design, biking ... you just have to use common sense and not logic. [Heavy sigh]
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