Good Morning, Freight Elevator

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

The city’s new Bicycle Access Law, which comes into effect December 11, requires office buildings to allow bikes on freight elevators, so commuters can store their rides safely indoors. But it also leaves a few questions hanging—like, what do you do with the bike once it’s inside? Maybe your building is already commuter-friendly, with a shared space to lock up bikes during the day. But if it’s not, companies have to file a “Bicycle Access Plan” with their landlord—even after the new law goes into effect. According to the biking-advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, you might have to take matters into your own hands. Here’s how.

1. Scout around your office for potential parking spaces (an unused closet, a storage area). On a spreadsheet, list those spaces, along with estimates of how many bikes could fit into each.

2. Armed with neatly organized data, meet with your boss or human resources, and sell them on the benefits of bike access: It’s low-cost, good PR, and the staff will be happier, healthier, and more productive. Throw in the lower carbon footprint if you think that’ll help make your case.

3. Once your company is onboard, it must request a Bicycle Access Plan (BAP) from the building’s landlord (forms will be available from the Department of Transportation soon; call 311).

4. Building management has 30 days to implement your BAP, once they’ve received it. If the landlord hasn’t opened up the freight elevators or made plans for alternative parking by day 31, call 311. The DOT can hit uncooperative building owners with fines of $800 per complaint.

Good Morning, Freight Elevator