Bicycle Parking at Commercial Buildings

April 25, 2018 | By Charles Botensten

Q: I am a licensed New York State real estate salesperson and I am representing a landlord who is negotiating a commercial lease with a prospective tenant.  The prospective tenant is asking about bike accessibility to the building which is located in New York City. What are the Landlord’s requirements for bicycle parking at the building?

A: The Bicycle Parking Text Amendment (the “Parking Amendment”) was adopted into the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York on April 22, 2009.  The Parking Amendment added new requirements for new or significantly enlarged (by 50% or more) commercial buildings to include enclosed, secure and accessible bicycle parking. The requisite bicycle parking can be located in the cellar, on the loading deck, in a parking garage or on the ground floor, and each bicycle parking space must be a minimum of fifteen (15) square feet or six (6) square feet depending on the type of parking system.

Under the Parking Amendment, commercial buildings with office space must have at least one (1) bicycle space per 7,500 square feet of floor space and commercial buildings with retail or other commercial uses must have one (1) bicycle space per 10,000 square feet of floor space. However, the bicycle parking requirement is waived for commercial office buildings with less than 26,250 square feet of total floor space and commercial buildings with retail or other commercial uses with less than 35,000 square feet of floor space.

In addition to the New York City zoning requirements, commercial buildings that are (i) mainly occupied by offices, (ii) are not subject to the Parking Amendment, and (iii) that include a freight elevator available for carrying freight, must abide by the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law - NYC Local Law No. 52 (the “Access Law”). Under the Access Law, if a tenant or subtenant of a building for which the law applies requests that the building have a Bicycle Access Plan, the building must either (i) create a plan showing entrances, routes and elevators available for cyclist’s use or (ii) apply for an exception.  Buildings can forego providing bicyclists access to the elevators if they have sufficient nearby, covered off-street or secure indoor bicycle parking that is free of charge. The other exception to allowing bike access is if the building’s freight elevator is not available for transporting bicycles because of unique circumstances that involve substantial safety risks.

The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel

Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP