Oonee’s new bike parking pods are designed to sit in a parking space

06 these bike parking pods are designed to fit

There are roughly 3 million parking areas on New York Metropolis streets, most of which can be utilized by drivers without spending a dime. One New York-based startup desires to repurpose a few of them for storing bikes, not vehicles.

Oonee Founder and CEO Shabazz Stuart [Photo: Tyler Finchum/courtesy Oonee]

Oonee, which already operates a couple of bigger walk-in kiosks the place cyclists can securely retailer bikes without spending a dime at main transit hubs, desires to now start putting smaller curbside pods in parking areas all through the town. The system is easy to use: After somebody indicators up for the app and supplies proof of identification, they will unlock the door to a pod and lock their bike (or scooter) to a rack inside; the mini model can maintain up to 10 bikes, together with a public bike pump. Founder Shabazz Stuart, whose personal bike was stolen thrice over 5 years, acknowledged that the town wanted higher bike storage infrastructure. Hundreds of bikes are reported stolen every year in New York, and much more are stolen however by no means reported; thefts have elevated much more during the pandemic.

[Photo: courtesy Oonee]

If solely a tiny fraction of current automobile parking turned safe bike parking, Stuart says, “we’d see a seismic shift in how New Yorkers are in a position to get round. We all know New Yorkers need to use bikes and scooters. It’s simply not possible, given there’s no place to put them.”

Curbsides weren’t at all times dominated by vehicles in New York; till 1950, cars weren’t allowed to be parked overnight in Manhattan. In the present day, although many drivers nonetheless really feel entitled to the curbside space, there’s a transfer to shift a few of it to different makes use of. Some parking areas have been taken away for bike lanes or bus lanes. Through the pandemic, different parking areas got to eating places for curbside eating. Some individuals have advocated for eliminating free street parking completely.


[Photo: courtesy Oonee]

Stuart believes that reworking simply 5% of parking areas for extra sustainable transportation would make a distinction, and he’s making the case with neighborhood teams. “We imagine the appropriate method to have interaction the general public writ giant is to current a imaginative and prescient to communities for the way public space can be utilized to present profit,” he says. “If it’s a compelling imaginative and prescient, neighborhood assist will observe. There’s a lot of precedent for that. Bikeshare in New York Metropolis takes up parking areas, it takes a sidewalk space, however we’ve largely come to imagine that hey, that is a worthwhile use of space, proper? We’re having a dialog proper now in New York Metropolis concerning the curb that we haven’t actually had for generations.”

Some metropolis governments make investments way more in bike parking—take the instance of the Dutch metropolis of Utrecht, the place a parking storage solely for cyclists has greater than 12,000 spots, together with on-site bike restore and rental and a design that leads straight to the adjoining practice station. Stuart says it’s clear that American cities ought to make investments extra in infrastructure, however startups can even play a function in fixing the issue.

The corporate sells promoting space on its bigger pods, the primary two of which are positioned on the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and at a practice station in Jersey Metropolis the place riders commute into Manhattan. The advertisements assist the system so all riders can use it without spending a dime, one thing that Stuart sees as essential. The enterprise additionally plans to promote different companies, comparable to bike restore. Quite than promoting the models to the town, the enterprise deploys and runs them itself.

[Photo: courtesy Oonee]

The trail, although, has been difficult. Oonee’s first location, in downtown Manhattan, had to shut after the New York Metropolis Division of Transportation—which had expressed enthusiasm for the challenge—stated that promoting wouldn’t be allowed on the unit. Metropolis governments want to have the ability to transfer extra nimbly to embrace innovation, Stuart says. “If we’re going to a Twenty first-century atmosphere the place cities are optimized to combat local weather change, the place truthful and egalitarian transportation options are thriving, we will’t use the rulebook of yesterday,” he says.

The corporate, which is now a part of an city know-how startup accelerator referred to as Urban-X, is crowdsourcing suggestions about the place to put the primary two curbside pods, which will likely be sponsored by Voi, a European micromobility firm. Within the first day after the announcement, the corporate was flooded with requests from individuals making the case for placing the pods in their very own neighborhoods.

Finally, Stuart envisions a community of safe bike parking all through the town. “So as to succeed, micromobility has to be as compelling and as handy as utilizing the automobile. Folks can spend billions and billions of {dollars} on bikes and bikeshare, however till we get critical about infrastructure, we’re simply a neighborhood of people that trip bikes for enjoyable. We’re not constructing an ecosystem that’s on par with different modes of transit. We’d like to begin serious about bikes and scooters and micromobility as transit, as a legit piece of transportation.”