Fort Greene is the latest neighborhood to join the city’s bike-rack craze — the neighborhood is getting 72 of them.
So no longer will local two-wheelers need to chain their Schwinns to rickety signposts or an ornery neighbor’s wrought-iron gates; the small upside-down-U–shaped racks and the large upside-down-W–shaped racks will be installed at 51 sites throughout Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
The racks were borne from a meeting of Green Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, the neighborhood-wide effort to foster sustainable living practices. Gil Ronen, a software consultant and Fort Greene resident, attended a meeting this summer and decided he was going to tackle the bike rack issue.
“Just having the racks will increase ridership,” said Ronen.
Ronen is correct, according to Wiley Norvell, spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, a cyclist advocacy group.
“Every bike trip begins and ends with bike parking,” said Norvell. “Right now, we have one bike rack for every 35 bike riders in New York City. That’s not enough.”
What is enough?
“Chicago has one bike rack for every four cyclists,” said Norvell.
Ronen got the bike racks the old-fashioned way: he did the leg work. After cycling through the neighborhood to take note of existing bike racks, he got in touch with CityRacks, a city program that has installed 800 racks.
CityRacks has a remarkably fast turnaround time for a government program. Earlier this year, the program installed 60 bike racks in Park Slope and Red Hook about three months after the community requested them.
In addition to racks in front of Rice (at DeKalb Avenue and Washington Park) and Tillie’s coffee shop (at DeKalb and Vanderbilt avenues), the corner of Flatbush Avenue Extension and DeKalb Avenue will get a super-fancy bike shelter, which is like a bus shelter for bikes.
All of the racks should be installed by week’s end.