Finally! A valet for bikes!

There’s no longer a need to sit in an exhaust-spewing box to get to Barclays Center to see the “National” when now you can ride there in the open air have your bike parked by a valet.

Finally, the Barclays Center will offer free valet bicycle parking to those riding to Prospect Heights to see Brooklyn hometown band the National on June 5, in a clear acknowledgment that indie rock and bikes go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

“We knew the National would draw a big Brooklyn audience and it’s going to be nice out, so we thought we’d try something interesting,” said Ashley Cotton, of Forest City Ratner Companies, which runs the arena. “We picked a show that seemed like a pretty good fit.”

Bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives will run the valet at the Barclays Center bike parking lot, which holds up to 400 bikes.

The valet will essentially be run like a coat check. Ticket holders pass off their bikes, locks, and helmets to attendants in exchange for numbered tickets, and then they will pick up their bikes when the show is over. Barclays Center will pick up the tab. Tipping, of course, is optional.

Transportation Alternatives runs bike valets at a variety of events around the city, including Celebrate Brooklyn concerts at Prospect Park, Movies With A View at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and most recently, Prospect Park’s controversial Great Googa Mooga festival, yet another sign that Brooklynites are pedaling more than ever.

“There’s a really diverse bunch of events that are attracting bike riders these days,” said Michael Murphy, spokesman for Transportation Alternatives. “It’s really blown up.”

But the decision by a large arena to add a bike valet represents a sea change, according to the bike advocate.

“It points to the increasing mainstreaming of bicycling as transportation all over the city,” said Murphy.

For now, this is just a test run to see if the valets are popular, said Cotton. But even if the Barclays Center does decide to continue with the service, chances are it will pick and choose which shows the valet parking will work with. It is unlikely that Barclays Center will offer bike valet for WWE Monday Night Raw or the Bernard Hopkins versus Karo Murat fight. And if Barbra Streisand ever comes back to the arena? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Still, Cotton said the bike valet fits in with Barclays Center’s campaign to alert ticket holders to the many ways to get to the arena, which makes sense from a business perspective.

“We are all about people taking public transit to Barclays Center and we know that people are walking to the arena in the highest numbers ever seen,” said Cotton. “When you’re thinking about real estate, it’s always about location, location, location, which also means transit, transit, transit.”

Murphy promised his company will definitely take better care of the valeted bikes than Fred and Carrie did in that episode of Portlandia, so they should be able to enjoy the concert without fearing for their two-wheeled pals.

©2013 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER GROUP

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