Metro-North Railroad Teams Up with NYC-Based Startup Oonee to Provide Secure Bike Storage at Major Transit Hub
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that secure bike storage is available at Grand Central Terminal thanks to a pilot program being made possible by a partnership between MTA Metro-North Railroad and Oonee, a Brooklyn-based startup that creates pop-up secure bike parking facilities. The pilot program, which was formally announced in October, is expected to last one year and includes a mini-pod with six parking spaces.
The pod was installed 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. 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 as of Sept. 7, 2021.
“This is the time to think seriously about using micro-mobility to expand the reach of the MTA network,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “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.”
“Metro-North is thrilled to build on its ongoing efforts to provide sustainable transportation options for riders,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “I’d like to thank the Metro-North Stations Department for working so hard to make this pilot happen, and Board Member Norman Brown who first brought Shabazz and the great work that he has been doing to my attention.”
“The launch of this secure bike parking pilot represents a major milestone in for the New York City region,” said Shabazz Stuart, Founder & CEO of Oonee. “Cycling integration has the potential to drastically improve the range of transit facilities while also enhancing the passenger experience. We’re hopeful that this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our region.”
“Access to secure bike parking is a key way to encourage more biking in New York City, and we are thrilled to see the MTA working with Oonee to launch the secure bike parking pilot today,” said Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director. “As our report last year found, bike parking in New York City has not kept up with the bike boom, and secure facilities like Oonee will help us catch up to peer cities around the world that have prioritized this infrastructure. We expect that this pilot will be hugely popular and hope it expands to many more transit hubs and neighborhoods across the five boroughs and the MTA region.”
The pilot features the debut of the six-space secure bike parking pod known as Oonee’s Mini. 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.
The storage pod installation and maintenance were handled by Oonee. Through their customer support, Oonee Care, 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.
For current information on taking your bike on MTA subways, buses and commuter rail, visit new.mta.info/guide/bikes.
Oonee began when founder Shabazz Stuart realized that secure parking for bicycles was critical for convenient and reliable mobility in cities. Despite this obvious need, and the growing number of cyclists on the street, there was no solution available for smart, attractive, secure bike parking structures.
After more than a year of meeting with urban planners, cyclists, transportation advocates, public space managers, and real estate developers, it became clear that any impactful solution would require a completely new, fresh approach. Stuart and co-founder J. Manuel Mansylla realized the need for a kind of nimble streetscape infrastructure that could provide parking options for bikes and scooters, but also would be capable of enhancing the surrounding public space environment.
Each customizable Oonee pod features bike parking on the inside and public space amenities on the exterior. For sponsors and institutions, the easy-to-install pods offer an unlimited array of branding opportunities. For cyclists, Oonee offers affordable, secure bike parking, and finally, a solution that works.