Shabazz Stuart's startup Oonepod is trying to turn New York into a bike-friendlier metropolis by offering bikers a safer space to park their two-wheelers. In addition to the bigger Oonepod parking pod, whose installation is often met with lots of red tape and resistance from the local administration, the Ooonepod mini is a more compact solution that fits in the space the size of an average car. This way, it could be installed anywhere in the city where anyone could park a car.
"People should be empowered to request one of these for their curb space", Stuart said in a recent interview about the Mini. "Why should a person with a car be unilaterally allowed to say, 'I'm going to take up eight feet in front of this random building?' Why can't the majority of residents of the block say, 'No, we want to use that space for bike parking' or 'We want that space for a cafe'?"
The Oonepod Mini can hold up to ten bikes and be accessed with a keycard or a companion smartphone app. It features a pump inside, but it might not always be the best solution for e-bike owners. Unless the units can access a building's utilities, they won't offer charging stations inside.
Instead of selling the Mini Pods to groups of bike riders, Stuart's startup wants to subsidize the units' installation with advertising in specific neighbourhoods. "We've learned that people don't want to pay for another service — they already pay for bike share, for the subway, for Netflix. So advertising and sponsorship are appropriate in commercial areas", he said. "It's not inappropriate to have advertising on one pod in Herald Square to finance 10 of the smaller pods in Crown Heights. And there will be so much demand from residential blocks where people have to currently carry their bikes up three flights."