Proposed bike corral on 15th Street gains traction

April 2, 2014 Heather Chin
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A request for the city to install a 10-bicycle bike corral on the southeast corner of 15th Street and Seventh Avenue is gaining traction, thanks to support from a local business, residents and now the Brooklyn Community Board 7 (CB 7) Transportation Committee.

On Monday, March 31, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full board support the proposed 24-foot-wide bike corral, which would sit on what is now a corner parking space, be installed by the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and be maintained by Thistle Hill Tavern—the owners of which requested the corral in the first place.

“We’re a community-oriented business and because we take pride in our community, we believe it’s our responsibility,” said Amy Ko, director of administration at Thistle Hill, explaining why the eatery asked for the corral and feel it would benefit area residents. “Bicyclists already chain bikes to our fence or to the trees and YMCA riders chain here, too.”

In response to questions as to whether Thistle Hill might become delinquent in its maintenance of the corral space should it be approved, Ko explained that staffers regularly pick up litter and that the restaurant employs “a nightly maintenance crew that power washes the sidewalk and cleans debris” within approximately a half-block on each side of the corner establishment, so maintaining the corral would not be a problem.

According to the DOT representative who presented the agency’s draft plans for the corral, there has only been one delinquent community/business partner thus far. The agency’s three-step process toward remedying the problem is to reach out to the partner repeatedly, find a new partner, and then, if all else fails, remove the corral.

Transportation Committee Chairperson Ryan Lynch noted that CB 7 received one email from a Park Slope resident voicing his opposition to the corral, but at least a few neighboring residents present at the meeting voiced their support for the corral.

“We’re always in need of bike parking; it helps slow street traffic and it looks nice,” said Alex Marshall of the 300 block of 15th Street.

“I fully support this plan and I drive and ride [a bike] so I can see both sides,” said Tom Flash of 16th Street. “Park Slope only has one-day-a-week alternate side parking, so it’s not a big problem and there is ample off-site parking on the other side of the street.”

The corral would require the DOT to remove one parking space on the south side of 15th Street, add two large planters to bookend the corral, and add a flexible daylight—a gap between the planter/corral and the crosswalk—that would improve pedestrian visibility of oncoming traffic while standing on the curb.

There are 31 completed DOT bike corrals citywide, 11 of them located in Brooklyn.

A full CB 7 vote will take place at the board’s general meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16.

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