Lottery For Coveted Storage Held Monday; Officials Vow To Monitor Demand, Work With State For More Funding

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An unusual lottery was held Tuesday in the suburbs.

Commuters vied to secure a coveted new bicycle locker at Long Island Rail Road train stations.

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Hundreds need them, but only a few dozen are available, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

A lottery was held on Oct. 9 to determine who would get access to the few bike lockers made available by the LIRR at a handful of stations. (Photo: CBS2)

It’s like rolling the dice when trying to find parking at LIRR stations — and we’re not talking for cars.

“Not enough bike racks and, of course, the safety of the bike. Will it be there on the way back? That’s the biggest concern we have,” bike owner and commuter Erick Mustafich said.

“I literally just Ubered here and it was $11,” commuter Celeste Zepeda said, lamenting what would have been a free trip on her bicycle.

Bicycle racks appear completely overwhelmed at each LIRR station that was checked by CBS2. Some racks mean maneuvering around the homeless. Frustrated riders are demanding more.

“I used to live in Boston, actually, and a lot of the train stations and subway stations there had lockers for bikes,” commuter Frank Palmieri said.

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Bike lockers have finally arrived on Long Island, but availability is scarce. A lottery was held on Tuesday for a lucky few.

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“You come back from work and your bike is missing, but these seem very secure,” lottery participant Hunter Gross said.

Each locker measures 4 feet tall and 6 feet long, and is weatherproof. Thirty-six are now being installed at LIRR stations in Baldwin, Bellmore, Merrick, Oceanside, Wantagh and Woodmere, CBS2’s McLogan reported.

“We are just starting to push this out there, letting people in the community know,” Hempstead supervisor Laura Gillen said of the pilot program.

It’s small step forward, investment in transportation partnering with the state.

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The $40 key deposit is refundable at the end of a one-year lease.

“Hopefully we will see this lottery be oversubscribed. To those who are not lucky enough to win, we are going to try to get more of these lockers in the future,” state Sen. Todd Kaminsky said.

The bike locker program hopes to help commuters save money on on parking, benefit the environment and improve health along the way.

If demand continues to grow, Hempstead town officials said they will work with the state for more funding for the bicycle lockers.

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