Policy

Bicycle Storage Zoning APPROVED

bicycling on the bridge

Finally, a place to park

At yesterday’s City Planning hearing, the Commission approved the Bicycle Storage Zoning on which AIA NY submitted testimony recently. We were pleased to see that several modifications we suggested are included in the final text, including allowing reductions or waivers for affordable and elderly housing developments. This will help keep costs down and reduce the incidence of unused bicycle parking in these important housing types.

Thanks to the Department for engaging our profession in the public review process and for taking our suggestions seriously. The text is better off for it!

Policy

Bicycle Storage Zoning

bicycling on the bridge

Where will this cyclist park his bike when he arrives at his destination?

Today, AIA New York is testifying before the City Planning Commission in support of a proposed zoning amendment that will require secure, indoor bicycle parking in all new residential and commercial buildings. The number of spaces required will be calculated based on a building’s floor area, just as car parking currently is. The proposed regulations are particularly specific about the physical configurations that will allow building users to maneuver and store their bicycles conveniently and safely. This will go a long way towards making bicycling a natural, safe mode of transportation for more New Yorkers, whether for commuting or leisure trips.

Chapter committees have proposed some suggestions for the text, including adding this requirement to new manufacturing uses and substantial commercial renovations; allowing more design flexibility for the placement of storage rooms in commercial buildings; using a graduated scale to calculate the bicycle parking requirements for very large commercial developments; and including waivers for residences for the elderly or special needs housing. For the zoning enthusiasts, our detailed testimony will soon be available on the Chapter News website for downloading soon.

Policy

Active Design Charrette

As part of our Fit City partnership with the Department of Health, the Center for Architecture hosted a charrette today on the City’s Active Design Guidelines. These guidelines, in the process of being written, will set design standards to encourage active living in residential and commercial buildings, as well as discuss successful streetscapes for promoting physical activity. The writing of these guidelines is one of the most exciting outgrowths of our Fit City initiative.

charrette

The charrette proceedings took place in Tafel Hall throughout the day.

A “charrette” is a term used by design professionals to describe a collaborative workshop with stakeholders to find solutions to design problems. This charrette took advantage of the Center’s active base of design professionals to bring a new perspective to the Guidelines drafting process. The AIA NY Chapter was pleased to be able to contribute to this City initiative, and look forward to the launching of the Active Design Guidelines later in the spring!

charrette

Charrette participants pin up the results of their work for discussion with the full group.

Policy

Bikes in Buildings

bikes

Bicycles have a home outside the Center for Architecture, but many buildings don’t provide bicycle storage or access.

This morning, I attended a rally on the steps of City Hall to promote Intro 38, the “Bikes in Buildings” bill. This bill would require building owners and managers to provide “reasonable” access to their buildings for bicycles, just as they allow access to people with strollers, handcarts, or other bulky items. Small steps like this will increase the convenience of bicycling to work and in general, prevent the threat of theft and damage to bikes, and make New York a more bicycle-friendly city.

Do you think there’s a place for bicycles in every New York City building?

For more info on this campaign, visit Transportation Alternatives‘ site, and stay tuned as a hearing on the bill will be scheduled this fall.

Urbanism

Sidewalk at the Center Update

sidewalk

A sunny afternoon on the sidewalk at 536 LaGuardia Place

A meeting moved to the sidewalk outside the Center, perhaps inspired by a recent New York Times article featuring member and friend of the Center Calvin Tsao, FAIA, . On the right side of the photo is a new bike rack designed by David Byrne in a recent competition sponsored by the New York City Department of Transportation. The rack will be up for one year and we are proud to host it; it combines good design with the promotion of a Fit City.