New York MTA boosts cycle parking options

Grand Central six-space pod is one-year pilot between MTA Metro-North Railroad and Oonee
Parking & Access Control / March 2, 2022
By Ben Spencer
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority bike storage Oonee mini-pod
The pod is located at Grand Central’s former taxiway space at 43rd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue (image credit: Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced that secure bike storage is available at Grand Central Terminal via a mini-pod with six parking spaces. 

The pod is part of a one-year pilot programme between MTA Metro-North Railroad and Oonee, a Brooklyn-based startup that creates pop-up secure bike parking facilities.

The launch continues the MTA’s commuter railroads ongoing efforts to become more bike friendly. Last August, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road announced that bike permits would no longer be required onboard trains from 7 September.

MTA chair Janno Lieber says: “This is the time to think seriously about using micromobility to expand the reach of the MTA network. One way to bring riders back to the system is to make customers’ overall trips easier. Cycling exploded during the pandemic, and this pilot is a step towards improving bike access.”

Use of the pod will require a reservation through membership with Oonee, which will allow users to unlock a private space inside the pod using a keycard or smartphone. Reservations will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. Oonee memberships are free to the public and anyone can register on Oonee’s website.

Oonee will handle the upkeep of the storage pod and respond to any customer service needs. The pod will have a free air pump with both Presta and Schrader valves, hydraulic sliding doors for easy access to pod, automated closing doors, and insurance coverage for both bike and scooter owners.

Oonee founder Shabazz Stuart says: “Cycling integration has the potential to drastically improve the range of transit facilities while also enhancing the passenger experience.”

Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives executive director, says that “secure facilities like Oonee will help us catch up to peer cities around the world that have prioritised this infrastructure. We expect that this pilot will be hugely popular and hope it expands to many more transit hubs and neighbourhoods across the five boroughs and the MTA region.”

The pod is located at Grand Central’s former taxiway space at 43rd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. The space provides direct access to the terminal’s west balcony and main concourse and is protected from rain and snow by a large overhang.

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