There are roughly 3 million parking spaces on New York City streets, most of which can be used by drivers for free. One New York-based startup wants to repurpose some of them for storing bikes, not cars.
Oonee, which already operates a couple of larger walk-in kiosks where cyclists can securely store bikes for free at major transit hubs, wants to now begin placing smaller curbside pods in parking spaces throughout the city. The system is simple to use: After someone signs up for the app and provides proof of identity, they can unlock the door to a pod and lock their bike (or scooter) to a rack inside; the mini version can hold up to 10 bikes, along with a public bike pump. Founder Shabazz Stuart, whose own bike was stolen three times over five years, recognized that the city needed better bike storage infrastructure. Thousands of bikes are reported stolen each year in New York, and even more are stolen but never reported; thefts have increased even more during the pandemic.
If only a tiny fraction of existing car parking became secure bike parking, Stuart says, “we’d see a seismic shift in how New Yorkers are able to get around. We know New Yorkers want to use bikes and scooters. It’s just not feasible, given there’s no place to put them.”