Secure bike parking - from dream to near reality (thanks TA)

I started commuting by bike in New York in February a few years back. The first time I biked in from Red Hook apartment to my job it was bitter cold, the wind chasing newspapers down the avenues. I arrived at my building numb and aching to get my hands around a hot cup of coffee. I walked my bike into the lobby toward the elevator, planning to keep it in my cubicle for the day.
Having worked at law firm in the financial district in San Francisco where almost every cubicle stored a bike, I assumed I'd have no problem bringing my bike in the building owned by my employer at the time, SEIU Local 32BJ.
Photo: Stolen bike, courtesy of the Broken Bike Blog.
But the security guard stopped me. "No bikes in the building," she insisted. "It�s a fire hazard. You have to lock it outside. See the bike rack out there?"
She gestured to one of the city bike racks where two skeletons of former bikes were chained, their tires and bike seats stripped, their frames twisted. I watched a bus barrel past, centimeters from the rack. I was not prepared to condemn my bike to that fate. Fuming and chilled to the bone, I rode to the café where my cousin worked. After listening to me rant about the pro-obesity fascist policies of my office, she offered to keep an eye on my bike if I parked it in front of the café window. So I became a regular customer at Le Tarte in exchange for secure bike parking.
At my current job, we share a building with Sullivan Cromwell, so I had no illusions I'd get a bike through our vaulted, marble encased lobby. We do fortunately have an outdoor bike parking rack located in the covered smoking plaza at our rear entrance. While the smoke can be nauseating, the fact that at pretty much any time of the day there is a least one person standing around on their cigarette break is a definite theft deterrent.
The NYC Department of City Planning found that lack of secure bicycle parking was the most common reason 'would be' bicycle commuters gave for not biking to work.
This fact alone should justify the passage of the Bike Access to Building Bill in our City Council. The bill is headed into its second reading on Monday, and Transportation Alternatives is encouraging folks to turn out and testify. If the hearing goes well, TA anticipates that the bill could be passed by the end of the summer. The new law would require building owners and managers to provide reasonable ways in which employees may access their building with a bicycle.
From Transportation Alternatives:
What: Hearing on Intro. 871, The Bicycle Access Bill
Where: City Hall, Chambers.
When: June 15th, 2008
Time: 10:00am
RSVP to Peter, and let him know if you can come and testify. Testimony should be short and to-the-point. Please print out 25 copies so every committee member has a record of your statement.

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