Got Wheels? Bike-Friendly Business District Has Deals

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 6.13.25 PM See below for larger map.

Birdbath has long offered discounts to customers that arrive by bike; on Saturday, dozens more local shops and eateries will begin doing the same, with the launch of a Bike-Friendly Business District.

Over 150 businesses in the East Village and Lower East Side will offer bike racks, information about road rules, or (most exciting) 10 to 15 percent discounts and buy-one-get-one-free deals. (See the map below.)

Miller Nuttle, a bike advocate with Transportation Alternatives, said the group created the district because local stores and coffee shops noticed an influx of cyclists around areas like Second Avenue and wondered how to get them to stop inside.

According to the Transportation Alternatives Website, streets with less traffic that prioritize biking and walking and include public plazas boosted local retail sales by 10 to 25 percent.

photo-296Daniel Maurer

But the district isn’t just about wheeling and dealing – Mr. Nuttle also hoped it would encourage shopkeepers to become more accommodating to bikers. “We want to help connect business owners to city resources and help them make decisions about things like bike racks and to help them get educated on how to be a part of this network,” he said.

Some businesses are already familiar with bike culture. True to its name, Pushcart Coffee uses bicycle pushcarts for deliveries. Owners Lisa Fischoff and James Rogers, who also run Cowboy Pizza (another participating restaurant), have worked with the city to install three bike racks outside their East Broadway location and will do the same for their shop on 21st Street and Second Avenue.

“Our customers use these racks and there has been a noticeable increase in those that come via bike now that there is a place to safely lock up,” Ms. Fischoff said.

Tamara Greenfield, executive director of FABnyc, said that getting the non-profit’s consortium of theaters and dance companies involved was a “no-brainer.”

“The East Village and Lower East Side are such pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods but they’re increasingly becoming bike-friendly,” she said. “A lot of our artists are already bike-friendly.”

FABnyc requested bike racks for some of its locations and may also offer discounts to a dinner and a show.

According to Ms. Greenfield, Transportation Alternatives facilitates bike racks by distributing the necessary forms to interested businesses and sending the applications in a bundle to the Department of Transportation, which prioritizes bulk requests over individual ones.

The Bike-Friendly Business District will launch this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a bike tour of several bike-friendly businesses and arts partners, starting at Veselka and ending at the FAB! Festival.

The map below is constantly being updated; we’ll post updates as we hear about them.

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 6.13.25 PMTransportation Alternatives
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