Citi Bike asked Community Board 2 in Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Dumbo and Cobble Hill not to take a position on the bike share program, and only 30 people, mostly cyclists and not homeowners, attended its presentation, according to the board’s district manager, Robert Perris, The New York Post reported. By that time, the locations of the racks had already been chosen, he said. Usually the Department of Transportation asks the board to vote on its proposals, but the bike share program was presented more as a fait accompli. The DOT “did not do enough to engage the public” about rack locations, which have proved controversial in the Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and elsewhere, with one building suing the City over placement. “We were instructed that they did not want us to vote on bike share,” Perris said. “To me, that seems to indicate a kind of bunker mentality…The DOT brings a lot of initiatives to our board — bike lanes, bike corrals, modifications to the traffic pattern, pedestrian plazas — in almost every single case, we’re asked to take a position.” A DOT spokesman said the allegations were false and the department held 400 public meetings about the program.
Furor Over Cycle No-Vote [NY Post]
Photo by DNAinfo
The bike share program could increase property values in areas where stations are located, according to an article in One Earth.
Interestingly, when it comes to property values, it’s generally accepted that higher-traffic streets are correlated with lower property values. But with bike infrastructure, the opposite seems to be true. In London, there’s no surer sign that a property is located in an upward-trending hot spot than the presence of a nearby bike-share station. One real-estate broker notes that her company’s agents “have been inundated with questions from prospective tenants about the nearest docking station.” (And what’s true in London also appears to be true here: in Washington, D.C., proximity to a Capital BikeShare station now appears in real-estate listings — along with hardwood floors and top-of-the-line appliances — as an amenity.)
Interestingly, there were similar protests against the bike share system before it started in London in 2010, and the outcry was loudest in the most upscale areas, said the story. The new system has encouraged lots of non-bike riders to take up the mode of transport, probably having a positive effect on traffic and health: 49 percent of people who use the London system said they started bicyling in London because of it.
Overinflated: Why the NYC Bike Share Backlash Is a Good Thing [One Earth]
The city has relocated one Citi Bike docking station in Brooklyn Heights after residents of nearby co-op building 60 Remsen Street complained. The station, initially on Remsen Street just east of Hicks, was moved to Hicks Street just north of Remsen, according to The New York Daily News. (That’s the new station pictured at right.) Officials did not give a specific reason for the move, although the Daily News heard from a source that the docking station “logistically didn’t fit… [The street] was too small for when the bikes were going to come in.” An informed source tells us that the docking location did not conform to DOT’s own standards for pedestrian clearance. Nearby co-op building 130 Clinton Street sued the city for a docking station placed in front of the building; there’s no word whether or not that station will be moved as well. Citi Bike officially launches May 27. DNAinfo noted this morning that Park Slope just got its first docking station, on the corner of Dean Street and 4th Avenue.
Another CitiBike Rack Bites the Dust in Brooklyn Heights [NY Daily News]
Park Slope Gets First Citi Bike Station [DNAinfo]
Photo by Reuven Blau for NY Daily News
Community Board Six on Monday approved two new bike lanes on Union and Sackett streets between 3rd Avenue and Van Brunt Wednesday night, completing another link in the proposed greenway connecting one end of Brooklyn to the other and into Queens, DNAinfo reported. Above, a map of the Red Hook portion of the greenway. The new lanes will run through Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The board also rejected a proposal to install a bike corral for eight bikes on Columbia Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The City plans to install the bike lanes “soon,” said the story.
New Brooklyn Bike Lanes But Not Parking Approved for the Waterfront [DNAinfo]
The bike-share program will launch May 27 for people who have bought yearly passes. For all others, it will start June 2. More than 8,000 people have signed up for the yearly memberships, said The New York Times. The system will launch with 6,000 bikes and 330 stations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Eventually, the program will have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, including in Queens. For access on starting day, riders must buy passes by May 17.
Delayed Bike-Share Program Is to Start on Memorial Day [NY Times]
Bike Share to Launch May 27 [WSJ]
The very large Gothic Art Deco co-op at 130 Clinton Street, aka 150 Joralemon Street, plans to sue Citi Bike this week over the location of a bike share station in front of the building, The New York Post reported. The station is blocking garbage collection, according to the story. “We were never notified that we were selected until after everything was in place,” resident Ken Wasserman was quoted as saying. The building has 89 apartments as well as commercial tenants.
Rough Ride for Bike-Share Sites [NY Post]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark
The Department of Transportation has determined that a dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge would not adversely affect traffic there, according to a press release from Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who has been pushing for a dedicated lane. “After all the letters and calls, I am proud to say that a dedicated bike lane could be coming on the Pulaski Bridge,” he said. “By this time next year, cyclists and pedestrians could have their own dedicated lanes and could be crossing the bridge without fear of injury.” Still to be completed by the end of the year, however, is an engineering study to determine how to design and install the dedicated lane.
At last night’s community meeting about the bike sharing program called by Council Member Tish James, concerns about corporate branding in historic neighborhoods were downplayed, and instead the meeting focused on the location of the bike share stations. The current locations are not permanent and may be changed later after the DOT evaluates which ones are most popular, DOT reps said. The location of the Willoughby Walk station proved most controversial, with many attendees objecting to it, according to a reader who attended. Here is what he had to say about the gathering: “Tish came on at 6:30 and like the excellent, strong civilized woman that she is, she insisted to one and all that civility reign over the meeting. Throughout she was strong and asked folks not to interrupt others and to be polite. She stated front the start that she is favor of the BikeShare program and that she certainly fully understood some of the valid concerns of those who had issues with it. Some of the commenters mentioned corporate branding and landmarking issues, but…Tish herself dismissed these concerns. She felt the concerns that DOT ought to hear were the concerns of community members about placement, near entrances of buildings whose residents (at least of those who attended the meeting) seemed not likely to be riding these bikes anytime soon, or near very heavily trafficked intersections such as Clint and Myrtle at perhaps not the ideal corner (though maybe the best available), and also the issue of parking places displaced by the bike share stations.”
Meanwhile, Streetsblog has published a story critical of objections about corporate advertising on the stations in historic neighborhoods, pointing out that similar bike sharing systems are working well in historic sections of Boston, D.C. and London.
The Brooklyn Public Library is holding its first ever “Bike the Branches” event, a day-long bike tour through BPL’s network of 60 neighborhood libraries on Saturday, May 11. The proceeds from the ride will support Brooklyn library services, which include programming, technology and collections. Riders will set their own route and pace, although the BPL will offer suggested routes that focus on the waterfront, literary history and library architecture. Select branches along the way will offer programing and activities, including music, magic shows and a transportation workshop. The tour ends at the Central Library Branch in Grand Army Plaza, with music, entertainment and prizes from 5 to 7 pm. Registration for the tour is $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children. You can sign up right here.
The Citi Bike bike share program is moving its headquarters to Sunset Park, The Wall Street Journal reported. Citi Bike has leased a 39,200-square-foot space at 53rd Street and Third Avenue for about $20 a square foot. The three-story space will have room for bike repair, a call center, and parking for vans to transport bikes. Initially the bike share program thought it would find space in Soho, but Sunset Park offered industrial space and lower prices.
What’s the Deal [WSJ]
Photo of Navy Yard bike share station by Ben Fried for Streetsblog
Anti-corporate messages have appeared on Citi Bike stations in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and some Brooklyn residents are calling for removal of the stations on the grounds that they are inappropriate in historic neighborhoods, or that residents were not consulted about the locations. Above, flyers on a station on Clermont near Lafayette, near the Brooklyn Flea, point out that advertising is not allowed on landmarked residential blocks. Brooklyn Councilwoman Tish James has scheduled a town hall meeting on the matter Wednesday at 6:30 at the Benjamin Banneker Academy at 71-77 Clinton Avenue. Supporters of the program are urging people to attend to defend it. (more…)
More bike share stations are going in, and you can already buy a membership now, as multiple outlets have reported. A reader sent in the photo above of a station going in on Bond Street at Livingston Downtown.
Bike Share Debuts Next Month But You Can Buy a Membership Now [Gothamist]
City’s Bike Share Program Starts Signing up Customers [NY Times]
Time magazine just released the above video of a race of fixed-gear speed riders, mostly New York City bike messengers, that took place on a mini velodrome set up in a Bushwick church. Gothamist attended the race late last month, where more than 1,500 people packed into the former St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 626 Bushwick Avenue. The track used was only 51 feet long, as compared to a typical 1,700-foot-long full-length velodrome, according to the video. Over 100 New York City-based and international riders raced on the wooden track for a $1,000 cash prize — definitely a sight to be seen. Who needs a $50 million velodrome when Brooklyn’s got this!
One of the World’s Tiniest Cycling Tracks [Time]
Bushwick Church Now Event Space, Soon Apartments [Brownstoner]
Streetblog Editor in Chief Ben Fried took the bike share program for a little test drive at the Navy Yard, where a small network of stations has been in place for a few months. He borrowed someone’s key fob and found the bikes “sturdy” and easy to adjust. “The riding position is upright, with a slight forward lean,” he said. “A twist of the right handlebar will shift gears. Second gear was fine for the mild rises and downhills in the Navy Yard. I tried out a few bikes and they all pedaled smoothly and braked crisply.” Docking the bike at the finish takes a bit of “a rolling start.”
Taking Citi Bike for a Test Ride [Streetsblog]
Photo by Streetsblog
Another bike share station popped up on Washington and Park avenues in Clinton Hill. A few more stations at Fulton and Grand and Lafayette and Classon were set up in the neighborhood over the weekend. The bike share program will officially launch in May.
Bike Share Stations Are Going in Already! [Brownstoner]
Looks like that Change.org petition asking for a bicycle and pedestrian lane across the Verrazano Bridge has gained some traction. The Brooklyn Daily reports that the MTA is considering conducting a feasibility study for allowing cyclists and peds on the bridge, although it wouldn’t happen until 2014 or later. Building the route, which would mean installing a platform between the suspension cables, would cost as much as $26.5 million, according to a 1997 feasibility study that was already conducted by the Department of City Planning. The good news: It would not require removing any car lanes. The Change.org petition now has more than 1,000 signatures.
Cyclists Push for Verrazano Bike Lane [Brooklyn Daily]
Pedestrian Access for Verrazano Bridge? [Brownstoner]
Photo by Frank Hymus
A couple of bike share stations were installed in Clinton Hill over the weekend. One is at Fulton and Grand, and the other at Lafayette and Classon. The program is late, but we weren’t expecting any actual stations until May, so this is a pleasant surprise. Anyone else see any other bike share racks in Brooklyn? Any one tried it out yet? Click through to see a shot of the racks as well as a close-up of the credit card device itself.
Bike Share Coming to Nabes West of Nostrand First [Brownstoner]
Bed Stuy will receive the City Bike Share program in two phases, according to DNAinfo. The DOT plans to introduce nine locations in Bed Stuy between Classon and Nostrand, and one in Clinton Hill, as early as May. The other two dozen station locations, planned east of Nostrand Avenue, will not be ready until the end of 2013, according to the story. The bike share program faced significant setbacks after Hurricane Sandy damaged much of the material stored in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here’s a map of the extensive station locations around New York City.
Bike Share Coming to Bed-Stuy in Two Phases [DNAinfo]
Photo by Gothamist
Yesterday we told you about the DOT meeting this Wednesday concerning streetscape improvements in Dumbo and Vinegar Hill, and according to this week’s Streetsblog calendar, there’s a lot more happening around Brooklyn concerning street improvements and bike lanes.
Tonight Community Board Two’s Transportation Committee will hear plans from the DOT to extend the Jay Street bike lanes north of Tillary Street into Dumbo, allowing for safer access onto the Manhattan Bridge. The meeting‘s tonight at 180 Remsen Street from 6 pm to 8 pm. The New York Post also noted that DOT will head out to Coney Island tonight and present a proposal to add a plaza of tables, chairs and potted plants at the southern end of Stillwell Avenue. On Thursday the DOT is holding an open house in Bay Ridge to present design concepts for safety improvements on 4th Avenue from 65th Street to Shore Road. That’s at P.S. 264, 371 89th Street, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Also on Thursday, the DOT will attend Community Board Six’s transportation meeting to present a proposal for installing a new pair of bike lanes on Union Street (eastbound) and Sackett Street (westbound) between Van Brunt Street and 3rd Avenue. There’s also a proposal for bike corrals at 153 Columbia Street (between Kane and Degraw) and 787 Union Street (between 5th and 6th avenues). And one last meeting for Thursday: the DOT and Councilmember Mathieu Eugene will discuss traffic conditions on Cortelyou Road at Temple Isaac, 1419 Dorchester Road, at 6:30 pm. The last event of the week, planned this Friday, is a half-day conference at City Tech on biking in Brooklyn, with a focus on cycling along the waterfront. The event is free but you must register here. UPDATE: The DOT postponed its meeting with Community Board Two regarding the Jay Street bike lanes to April. And the DOT and Mathieu Eugene have rescheduled the Cortelyou Road traffic meeting for sometime in April, date TBD.
This Week: Brooklyn Bikeways and Traffic Calming [Streetsblog]
Photo by dcorbin3
Two petitions just emerged out of Vinegar Hill about proposed streetscape changes to the neighborhood, which leave, as Curbed put it, “residents of the tiny ten-block enclave less than thrilled.” The first petition asks the city to preserve the original belgian block streets in Vinegar Hill and opposes the “use of machine-made or machine-altered cobblestones of any kind.” The original blocks are scheduled to be removed for infrastructure changes along Water Street, as well as a bike lane down Water. The second petition specifically asks that the bike lane planned within the Brooklyn Greenway skip Vinegar Hill altogether, considering that the DOT plans to make the path by reconfiguring the Belgian blocks by rotating them lengthwise. The Brooklyn Greenway would stretch three blocks through Vinegar Hill on Water and Plymouth Streets. The DOT already undertook a similar project down in Dumbo, which mostly restored the old Belgian blocks and added new blocks to create a bike lane along Water. In our humble opinion the restoration job did a good job of eliminating potholes and uneven paving as well as accommodating bikers. Do you think the proposed streetscape changes threaten the historic feel of the neighborhood?
Vinegar Hill Residents Really Don’t Want Bike Lanes [Curbed]
The City of New York: Preserve Original Belgian Block Streets in Vinegar Hill [Change.org]
The City of New York: Bypass Vinegar Hill When Implementing the Brooklyn Greenway [Change.org]
Photo by jackie weisberg