Atlantic Yards

Safe, ‘smart,’ bike parking pods coming to Downtown Brooklyn, Queens

January 25, 2019 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Safe and dry: Oonee bike parking pods are coming to Brooklyn and Queens in the spring. Photo courtesy of Oonee

It’s estimated that over half of all urban cyclists have had a bike stolen — many from on-street bike racks. Bike theft is so common in New York City most people don’t even bother reporting it to police.

Now, a Brooklyn man has come up with safe, “smart” bike parking pods, and they’re launching this spring in Brooklyn and Queens.

The modular pods, which resemble transparent shipping containers, will be installed at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Queens Place Mall.

Oonee, the company that produces the pods, was founded by Shabazz Stuart, a former deputy director of operations for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Stuart, who grew up in Flatbush and Bedford-Stuyvesant, told the Brooklyn Eagle that he has had three bikes either stolen or vandalized over a five year span.

The first one was stolen in 2012, Stuart said. Then, “one stripped bare in 2013 (all parts removed, only frame left) and my last one in Downtown Brooklyn in 2015.

Oonee founder Shabazz Stuart, at the Navy Yard launch of his company’s new safe bike parking pods. Photo courtesy of Oonee
Oonee founder Shabazz Stuart, at the Navy Yard launch of his company’s new safe bike parking pods.
Photo courtesy of Oonee

“It was then, while I was at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, that I realized a systemic approach was needed to solve this problem,” Stuart said. He added, “New York is far behind other cities when it comes to investing in this infrastructure — we hope to bridge that gap.”

Each brightly lit installation can accommodate 20 bicycles and three scooters at a time. After gaining access via their cellphones or smart keys, cyclists can enter and lock their bikes on vertical racks inside the pods. Users can check on their wheels by connecting to the interior and exterior video cameras.

“Putting the bicycles behind additional layers of protection dramatically reduces this risk,” Stuart said. “The covered structure also protects the bicycles and scooters from the elements or accidental damage (i.e. a car door slamming onto it).”

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The pods were piloted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the first one launched at Lower Manhattan’s Water-Whitehall Plaza last fall.

Oonee is a takeoff of the Japanese name for sea urchin, uni. The company says that just like the sea urchin, Oonee is equipped with safety features to protect its valuable interior cargo. The company also says the units “energize” public spaces, with the exteriors sporting green roof and seating.

The cost is about $4.99 per month, or $1 per day. (ooneepod.com)

Safe and dry: Oonee bike parking pods are coming to Brooklyn and Queens in the spring. Photo courtesy of Oonee
Cyclists use a smart key or cell phone to gain access to Oonee’s new, smart parking pods.
Photo courtesy of Oonee

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