Hot pods: bike storage startup opens first Brooklyn vault

The Podfather: Shabazz Stuart shows off the first Oonee Pod in Kings County.
Photo by Ben Verde

In pod we trust!

Bike-riding Brooklynites finally have a safe and dry place to stow their ride if they want to hop on the train at the borough’s biggest transit hub, thanks to one entrepreneur’s bike storage system. 

Brooklyn’s first Oonee Pod, a modular bicycle vault that debuted in Manhattan last year, is open for business outside Atlantic Terminal in Fort Greene. The pod is the brain-child of Shabazz Stuart, a Crown Heights native who says providing safe storage for those who choose to move around the city efficiently is the next step towards becoming a 21st-century city. 

“We need to start to treat those who embrace and utilize mobility alternatives as first-class citizens,” Stuart said at the pods opening on Friday. 

Cyclists who want to stash their ride can book a little peace of mind through an app called Brivo OnAir. Bike storage in the pod is completely free of charge, according to Oonee employees. 

The pod business model relies on leasing out the pods’ exterior to advertisers, allowing Stuart to keep the rack free for cyclists, while providing something with more aesthetic charm than a strictly utilitarian parking garage, Stuart told the Brooklyn Paper in January. 

The Oonee Pod is on Atlantic Avenue near Fort Greene Place, across the street from the Barclays Center. Photo by Ben Verde

The pod contains 20 racks, includes e-bike charging, and has plantings and phone chargers on the outside, which Stuart says helps it service the urban environment in more ways than just storing bikes. 

“If this infrastructure is going to thrive in cities and public spaces, we need to think about the folks who walk by it on a regular basis,” he said. 

None of this would have been necessary though if Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer Bruce Ratner had followed through on his promise to include 400 secure bike parking spaces in the Barclays Center Arena, as reported by the Atlantic Yard/Pacific Park report. Ratner opted instead to install 100 outdoor racks, including 44 a few feet from where Brooklyn’s first Oonee now stands.