For the last decade or so, newly constructed residential buildings have featured all kinds of novel amenities, from simple but unexpected to the opulent and extravagant—and it shows no signs of slowing down.
“There’s an amenities arms race between new construction and older buildings,” says Richard Cohen, president of Velodome, a tri-state area company that designs and creates bicycle storage rooms and stations. “It used to be just a laundry room, then it was the fitness rooms, and now most buildings have bicycle rooms. Many older buildings have empty space that’s used as bicycle rooms, but they waste so much space and it looks like a jungle.”
In 2009, New York City passed a zoning amendment that required newly constructed buildings of 10 units or more, along with substantially enlarged buildings and those converted for residential use, to provide one bicycle space for every two apartments. As a result, bicycle storage has become more and more common, leaving older buildings rushing to catch up.
“It’s a constant flow of interest,” says Ben Cramer, a salesman with Dero, a bike-rack company with offices all across the country. “In New York, the priorities are security, and maximizing bicycle parking for the space. Very typically I will see a small- to medium-sized room on the ground floor or basement, with piles of bicycles in utter disarray. Management will be looking to find a systematic way of parking those bicycles in a much more secure and user-friendly way.”
Of course, before building or overhauling a bike room, Cohen recommends gauging interest in such a project among residents. “What often happens is a building will have a survey or sign-up sheet to determine how many people are interested in storing their bikes,” he says. “Notice is sent out that it’s at the front desk. People will sign up, and then you’ll have an idea of who's interested and willing to pay the fee. From there, you’ll know how much space you’re going to need.”