It’s new, it’s innovative and above all, it’s local. From mid-November, New Yorkers (and tourists) will be able to use two smart bike shelters produced by the Quebec SME Poitras Industries, in the heart of the American metropolis. The icing on the cake: one of the shelters will be located a few steps from Times Square.
The first shelter will be installed at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, which separates New York from the neighboring state of New Jersey. The second will be placed in front of the Port Authority building, at the corner of 43e Street and 8e Ave. From this place, it is enough to walk five minutes to get to the mythical Times Square.
“It’s really a place where pedestrian traffic is enormous,” observes René Thibeault, project and design director at Poitras Industries, in an interview.
In concrete terms, the “easy to use and maintain” shelters are aluminum cubes with a sleek look, which contain around twenty interactive receptacles for locking bicycles.
The standard model is 15 feet long, 13 feet wide, and will feature advertising spaces as well as a green roof adorned with a small garden. “They are not ‘obstructing’, are very well lit and safe,” adds René Thibeault.
The original idea comes from the New York SME Oonee, which has given its own name to the product. Associated with her, the Poitras Industries team lends a hand with the design, but is also responsible for manufacturing, system integration and delivery.
For now, there are only 2, but the goal is to produce “20 to 30 for the first two years, and 50 per year” thereafter.
It is the success of the first two that will determine the extent of this adventure. If it works in New York, I’m sure it will work everywhere.
René Thibeault, project and design director at Poitras Industries
An application in command
“Everything will be controlled by application: it will work with a subscription, explains René Thibeault. She’ll tell you the nearest shelter, if there’s a locker available. You will even be able to reserve your place. »
“When you arrive, you scan your phone to open the sliding doors of the shelter. For smart locks, you take the chain and insert it into a hole in the wall. A red light tells you it’s secure. »
Subscription rates or terms have not yet been determined. However, the City of New York has already pre-ordered 12 other smart shelters, for the approximate sum of $1 million. Just one of them can be worth around $100,000.
For the rest of things, Poitras Industries is essentially targeting “all metropolitan cities in North America”. After New York, Long Island and New Jersey, the SME has already established a list of preferred markets: Chicago, Washington, Miami and Orlando. Los Angeles too, but its position on the west coast of the United States complicates matters.
In Canada, Toronto and Montreal are potential candidate cities, but present more challenges due to their climate.
Founded in 1930, Poitras Industries specialized in lettering. It was bought by Guillaume Chabot, Patrice Demers and Marc Fugère in 2015, and now focuses on projects involving street furniture and architecture in the field of transit.