Replacing a parking spot with bike racks is a different kind of fair trade for the owners of a famous Park Slope coffeehouse.
The city has removed one automotive parking space in front of Gorilla Coffee to make room for four on-street bike racks in front of the shop.
“Coffee and bikes go hand and hand in this neighborhood,” said Darleen Scherer, owner of the brew house on Fifth Avenue and Park Place. “It kind of happened organically.”
Civic leaders say the project — the second-of-its-kind in Brooklyn — de-clutters a stretch of sidewalk that is a hub for two-wheelers parking thanks to its location in front of the cafe and near the high-end bike shop R&A Cycles.
The plan calls for adding a new parking space for cars directly across the street by legalizing parking at a previously off-limits spot, said Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman.
“It’s a good solution — and there’s no net loss of parking,” he said.
The new O-shaped racks, which are protected from wayward vehicles by a planter, come on the heels of a similar project in Carroll Gardens in which the city removed car parking to install a bike corral intended to improve visibility and make the road safer.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation said the parking spot across from the Gorilla Coffee bike corral allows “no standing anytime,” but workers will be able to turn it into a legit parking space because the crosswalk on Fifth Avenue is diagonal — meaning there’s enough room for cars to park without impeding pedestrians.
The new parking spot will go in by the end of the month, she said.
Park Slope business owners like the idea — as long as on-street bike racks don’t start popping up all over Park Slope, said Irene LoRe of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.
“We don’t want this to happen everywhere but this is a good corner for it,” she said. “Cars and bikes are the lifeblood of the neighborhood.”
Scherer says she agreed to clean the area near the bike racks, which street sweeping vehicles can’t reach.
“We’ve always been a bike-friendly shop — and I think it will make people happy,” she said.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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