Fort Greeners Join Heights Residents in Bikeshare Griping


It’s not just Brooklyn Heights residents who are going all NIMBY on the bike share kiosk locations: The Local reported over the weekend that some folks who live on Washington Park (which overlooks Fort Greene Park) are fighting DOT’s plan to put a 23-bike kiosk at the corner of Willoughby Avenue. “The [kiosk is] much too large and out of place for [this block],” said Wyatt Cheek. “We just want it to be at a location that doesn’t interfere with [residents].” He added, “The notion of having Citi Bike logos…will go against the [landmark] character.” Our take? Deal with it. This bike plan represents a tectonic shift in the city’s approach to transportation and it’s too big a lift for every body to get to put his or her two cents in about every location. In related news, a group of Hasidic schools has threatened to expel any children who break a decades-old prohibition against two-wheeling. “If you have something that gives kids the feeling that they can go wherever they want . . . farther from their parents and the community, it brings a lot of bad things,” said one father of six children.

75 Comment

  • agreed, deal with it. this bike sharing program is a good thing. the bikes will be a hit, no doubt – ugly/annoying logo aside. this ultimately is such a great idea and it’s not something to poo-poo.

  • I’m with the complainers on this one, “tectonic shift” aside. Who wants a big logo-laden bike rack in front of their house? Not me. I can see placingthem in high-traffic public areas, but a residential street? Not good. This is coming from someone who bikes a lot.

    I don’t get the whole bike-sharing thing anyway. A decent bike is not very expensive, is easy to obtain and can be parked on the street. This is a solution to a problem that just doesn’t exist, but hey, as long as Citi makes some $$ I guess it’s OK, huh?

    • yeah, you don’t get the bike-sharing thing. It’s understandable, because ‘bike-share’ is a misnomer. Use the term ‘human-powered mass transit’ instead. It’s not meant to take the place of people’s bikes. It’s meant to extend the pedestrian range of the subways and buses by an extra 5-10 miles. It’s meant for rapid turnover of use, short-distance transfer connections between subway/bus routes and destinations further out that one might otherwise be slightly discouraged to walk. It’s supposed to shrink transit times. It’s actually a very powerful idea. It’s -not- tourist rental bikes.

      People complaining about stations in front of their house either don’t get it, are frigidly aesthete or don’t understand it will increase their property value.

  • Home owners have a point. These should only go on commercial streets.
    How are they even permitted under zoning if a block is an R1 through R6 like this one?

  • Nobody wants theis S H I T in front of their house. Put them in commercial areas.

  • If they can put a kiosk on the north side of DeKalb and S. Portland why can’t they put one on the west side of Washington Park?? It seems to make a lot more sense for these things to be in or near parks, or at least on bike lanes. Seems pointless to take up parking (which is actually needed despite what the idealists at DOT seem to think) for something not yet proven. One can assume this will primarily target tourists, so these things should be in high traffic areas with lots of tourists (Fulton Ferry, Borough Hall, Grand Army Plaza, etc).

    Its all academic anyhow. This thing won’t outlast the first 5 or 6 European tourists and/or drunken hipsters who get themselves killed trying to bike down the middle of Atlantic Ave.

    • It is actually superior when taking up parking. Speaking as a car owner in Fort Greene, the whole city should lose 5-10% of its parking spaces across the board to public bike racks and stations. You can fit 7 or so bikes in one parking space.

      If you assume this targets tourists, you don’t understand its purpose.

  • Yeah well – I don’t want cars parked in front of my house or the loud Fresh Direct trucks idling everyday – but we deal. This is nimby.
    Bike share is a great development towards getting around the city without polluting. Can’t say that about all the SUVs parked in front of my house every day.

  • B-
    So the entire South WB Hasidic Community can opt out, but people whose homes will be directly in front of a station will have to “deal with it?” I doubt you’d be so dismissive of complaints if it was your house those CITI bikes were parked in front of indefinitely, effectively lowering your property value. Especially since you have your own bike.

    Maybe if the bikes weren’t so hideously logoed, they wouldn’t be such an eyesore.

  • I still dont think Jon has read the linked article since it’s about Brooklyn Heights AND Williamsburg — nor has he read the Brooklyn Heights Assoc email that went out after that article.

    I lived in Paris for 18 months and used Velib everyday. I can’t wait for this to be in NY. But “too big a lift” is insane. This is very easy. All these areas have neighborhood associations and they all know their areas very well. Ask for imput and then use it or not. Couldn’t be easier.

    Brooklyn Heights, btw, wanted ALL the bikes but thought a couple of changes made more sense — getting people on/off the Brooklyn Bridge and into and around the Brooklyn Bridge Park for example. There are things that are hard. This isn’t one of them.

    Easiest solution, put a 23-bike kiosk in front of Jon’s place.

    (I want to know who is going to move them for alt side street parking days)

  • I doubt you’d be so dismissive of complaints if it was your house those CITI bikes were parked in front of indefinitely, effectively lowering your property value. Especially since you have your own bike.

    **
    Me too. I wonder how Mr. B’s view would change the rack were placed directly in front of his house….

  • Lower my property value? Bikes parked in front of my house would lower my property value? Because… the logo is uglier than your range rover that’d be parked there otherwise? Really?

    Actually I think my corner is slated for some bikes and I’m kind of psyched, and I don’t even bike.

  • Is it even legal to put advertising like that in historic districts? Another reason to work with the local communities — to avoid them taking you to court.

    I know you can’t put a real estate sign out. But you can do this? Those standing things are just pure ads. There’s no other reason for them. Other cities don’t have those. Well, maybe some do but I dont know why. You usually swipe your card at the individual bike.

  • I won’t be a Citi Bank ad on wheels. Thanks very much.

  • While I really sympathize with the griping – heck, someone just plopped an arena in my neighborhood – I feel like the upside of promoting bikes outweighs the (admittedly ugly) downside of promoting Citi.

  • Good grief. These kiosks are hideous. I sure as hell wouldn’t want one in front of my house. I wouldn’t want to look at them in front of other people’s houses, either.

  • Good grief. These kiosks are hideous. I sure as hell wouldn’t want one in front of my house. I wouldn’t want to look at them in front of other people’s houses, either.

  • kudos for Mr. B for using “tectonic”. Epochal would have worked too.

    If I see see one more cliche-queen use the phrase “game-changer” I’ll soon be on the most wanted list.

  • oh, this is just a game with local businesses who want spots in front of their shops for cars only so they put them in front of your house. protest and put them back in the commercial areas where they belong.

    in any case, the problem will solve itself because they will all get stolen and shipped overseas in the same container with your stolen luxury car.

  • “I feel like the upside of promoting bikes outweighs the (admittedly ugly) downside of promoting Citi.”

    You don’t need a kiosk in front of your house to promote bike-riding. Just ride one yourself and encourage others to do so.

  • “I feel like the upside of promoting bikes outweighs the (admittedly ugly) downside of promoting Citi.”

    You don’t need a kiosk in front of your house to promote bike-riding. Just ride one yourself and encourage others to do so.

  • Every street in every historic district has become a vast parking lot, which also “goes against the landmark character”. Why target only the bike kiosks?

  • Just came back from Barcelona, and they have the bike docks on residential streets as well. The residents love them. In fact tourists dont have access to the program there – its meant solely for residential commuting. And for that reason, I would KILL to have a dock in front of my building. It would be like having a private driveway — seriously, I would be able to get and return a bike right in front of my own residence. How convenient is that! My guests would love it too. Anyways, VERY few docks are placed on tree-lined brownstone streets; almost all are on a main or central locations.

  • A) Without the logos, who would pay for these bikes?

    B) If I had a bike share kiosk outside my front door, I wouldn’t have to store my bike in my living room. And I wouldn’t have to worry about my bike or seat getting stolen. If it’s stolen, Citi paid for it anyway.
    At least the Citi logo is fairly nondescript. It’s blue and white. Boo-hoo. You could have had BoA or Wells Fargo or some other orange/red god awful logo.

    Also- “A decent bike is not very expensive, is easy to obtain and can be parked on the street.” “Decent” and “not very expensive” are relative, and I’d never leave my bike on the street for more than a few hours, and definitely not overnight. Especially in Fort Greene. I’ve had a couple bikes stolen with good locks. If I can have a rideable bike accessible, and near my house to boot, I’ll take that in a heartbeat and suck up the fact that there’s a Citi logo on it. I get that everyone thinks banks are evil, and that this is just advertising for Citi, but in this instance I have to say, who cares?

    Oh, and this Hasidic ban on bikes is just bonkers. Do they allow books or television? I’m sure giving kids active imaginations, where they can ponder worlds outside of the 10 square blocks of their community, can also bring “a lot of bad things.”

  • A) Without the logos, who would pay for these bikes?

    B) If I had a bike share kiosk outside my front door, I wouldn’t have to store my bike in my living room. And I wouldn’t have to worry about my bike or seat getting stolen. If it’s stolen, Citi paid for it anyway.
    At least the Citi logo is fairly nondescript. It’s blue and white. Boo-hoo. You could have had BoA or Wells Fargo or some other orange/red god awful logo.

    Also- “A decent bike is not very expensive, is easy to obtain and can be parked on the street.” “Decent” and “not very expensive” are relative, and I’d never leave my bike on the street for more than a few hours, and definitely not overnight. Especially in Fort Greene. I’ve had a couple bikes stolen with good locks. If I can have a rideable bike accessible, and near my house to boot, I’ll take that in a heartbeat and suck up the fact that there’s a Citi logo on it. I get that everyone thinks banks are evil, and that this is just advertising for Citi, but in this instance I have to say, who cares?

    Oh, and this Hasidic ban on bikes is just bonkers. Do they allow books or television? I’m sure giving kids active imaginations, where they can ponder worlds outside of the 10 square blocks of their community, can also bring “a lot of bad things.”

  • “Every street in every historic district has become a vast parking lot, which also “goes against the landmark character”.”

    The streets have been there for as long as the houses. Are you suggesting that only horses and buggies be parked there????

    • On a side note, dave, on-street residential parking is wasn’t legal for a good long time. I can’t remember the year, but it was later than I had thought it would be – there weren’t buggies parked outside, and it was a bit of time before there were cars.

    • No, I think his point was that it’s stupid to complain about bike kiosks if you’re not also complaining about car parking spaces. He’s not saying there shouldn’t be car parking, but that purposes get rewritten over time.

  • I don’t get everyone’s ugly complaint, I think that they look just fine. The Citi logo is very neat, and the blues are nicer and more calming than say ING orange. The bike share program is great, and if it needs corporate sponsorship to live, then be it. Also, they have to be distinctive to counter theft. I can see the point that they should only be on commercial streets though.

    Someone said that a decent bike is cheap; they are not! A decent bike is $400 minimum, and many average around $600; even used bikes are at a premium. Also, many New Yorkers do not own bikes or do not have room for them in their tiny apartments on the top of 5 story walk-ups. The bike share program sounds like a great solution for these people.

    Is anyone else outraged at the remarks of that Hasidim who does not want these bikes around because they are a temptation to their youth! They are entitled to their opinions, and how they raise their children, but there are non Jews and non-orthodox Jews who live in these neighborhoods too; what about them? I am sick and tired of the Orthodox community dictating public policy over their own sectarian views, and I am Jewish myself! This is a city wide effort, they will just have to live with it.

  • First they wanted to install bike kiosks and I said nothing.

  • Well I don’t like the “wide turning zone” sign plopped in front of my house, but I understand that it serves a public good. The bike racks are supposed to be on residential streets as they are for you – yes I am talking about you who have renovated that lovely 25 foot wide mansion on Washington park – to walk out your front door and jump on the bike to get to the C stop at Lafayette, or to ride over to Park Slope, or down to Dumbo. A better argument could be made for banning street parking altogether, forcing us all to pay for parking in peripheral garages. These bikes are meant to extend the reach of the subways and to allow us to “walk” further. They wouldn’t make sense if you had to walk to a commercial street, then get on a bike, then get on the subway.

  • I bike all the time, I think the program is dumb (such a short distance limit!), the kiosks are ugly, and citi is crap.

    That being said, I think the cars are ugly too, so I can’t feel much sympathy with the fancy people worrying that I won’t realize it’s 2012 instead of 1895. An interesting point about alternate side parking, though – does that area just not get cleaned?

  • What’s the distance limit???? How can you limit how far someone wants to ride a bike????

  • Sorry; *time* limit (effective distance limit) of 30m or you incur cost penalties (on top of your $100/yr). There isn’t much you can do within 30 min on that big beast, assuming you know where the end kiosk is.

    • New Yorkers with annual memberships get 45 minutes. I think you’re mistaking this for a bike-rental service. It’s meant to extend the range of existing mass transit, even if it’s just a 5-minute ride that saves you 15 minutes of walking. It’s supposed to have massive turnover of use.

    • The kiosks will be every 3 blocks or so. The time limit (45 min, actually) encourages people to return the bikes rather than try to lock them up somewhere. When your time limit is up, simply exchange the bike at the nearest kiosk and the timer resets. I’ve used the system in the Twin Cities and DC, and the time limit was never an issue.

  • A true New Yorker believes that the only automobile that is useful and has redeeming social value is their own.
    Everyone else is just clogging the streets and taking up public space with their unnecessary jalopies.

  • Ridiculous to go from “the bike share program is great!” to “DOT has impeccable wisdom in where to locate the kiosks.” One does not beget the other. And with this particular kiosk, look around at the many other great spots for the kiosk other than right in the middle of a long residential block (there is not a single business anywhere near that intersection). Why not in the big, open area of the west side of Washington Park at Myrtle, set back under the trees? Carlton and Myrtle, near the stores? Plenty of better choices abound, and the people who know the blocks have every right to point that out to DOT. (NOt to mention that residents have to go through huge hassles to comply with every landmarks rule — but then DOT gets to do this. AND that this SAME block has no parking on Saturdays because there is a greenmarket directly in front of people’s houses, with trucks rumbling in at 6 am.)

  • It is a mistake to think that bikeshare is designed for residents without their own bike or for tourists. The benefit to anyone of making a spontaneous decision to ride one way from one part of the city to another is a huge (bike share to go out at night and cab home drunk or subway to work in the morning rain and ride home during evening sunset, stroll around the city all day – ride home quick, etc.). For that reason a range of proximities to residential areas, businesses, parks, etc. seems key to its success.

  • The bike share is just for fun. Its meant to provide recreational bike rides. Of course on a pretty day I doubt you will find any left when you get to the kiosk. Like all public things in NY it will either be all taken, filled to capacity, or closed for repairs.

    • No it’s not. Not primarily. That’s why the usage times are set lower than an hour. The company responsible for running the program has a lot of experience in doing this. All the kiosks are wired. There will be specially-outfitted vans acting on data coming in to pick up bikes from kiosks going over 80% and redistribute them to kiosks lower than 60%. Considering the system is weighted to encourage short-run trips, it’s not as hard as it might sound.

    • No it’s not. Not primarily. That’s why the usage times are set lower than an hour. The company responsible for running the program has a lot of experience in doing this. All the kiosks are wired. There will be specially-outfitted vans acting on data coming in to pick up bikes from kiosks going over 80% and redistribute them to kiosks lower than 60%. Considering the system is weighted to encourage short-run trips, it’s not as hard as it might sound.

  • yet again the city and this bike program DOESNT GIVE A CRAP about the residents living there and what they think. Which begets the bitchin and moanin about it. WHY does there need to be a kiosk on a residential street when there is a big ole public park with lots of space the bikes can be stored? It doesn’t matter if it is NIMBY, it shouldn’t be going on.

  • certainly these should not me in front of someone’s home on a residential block. bad idea.
    I have big reservations how successful any of this will be anyway. people who do bike(including me) have bicycles already.

  • Why can’t they put the kiosk across the street on the park side, where there are no brownstones? Instead, there are very old fire hydrants, where one can’t park anyway, and which probably haven’t worked in half a century?

  • I suppose the NIMBYs are ok about this seeing as its out front only.

  • OK, I will say it: bike lanes, bike share, bike anything is primarily for people in the prime of their life, and in the prime of their health, in the warmer months and usually mostly in the day light. So everyone else’s needs are sideswiped by a handful of the population, say 15 – 35 years old, totally ignoring children, elderly, disabled, whatever. It’s the same people who buy video games – it’s a big market, but you have to realize IT IS A MARKET. Thus Citibank.

    I like all the enhanced the bike stuff, but we have to be realistic about who is pushing whom around.

  • In response to petebklyn posting of the story on bike theft in Carroll Gardens; This only proves that the city needs this bike program. Bikes are stolen because of demand for bikes and their parts; if there are bikes available to rent, theft will go down.

    These rental bikes are theft resistant and a unique design that cannot be fenced since anyone would know that it is a stolen city bike. Also, I cannot see any kind of organized theft to ship them over seas, like car theft, since their retail value would be so low as to make it unprofitable and not worth the risk.

    What do you have to fear? I don’t get it.

  • “their retail value would be so low as to make it unprofitable and not worth the risk.”

    So then how exactly would their presence deter bike thieves from stealing the bikes they’re already stealing?

    • Because residents who are casual riders and bike owners – there are a lot – will be less likely to use their personal bikes for trips to specific places (leisure rides will still rely on personally-owned bikes, as this system is not a real bike-share service). Personal bikes require the hassle of chains, securing it in the right spot, the risk of theft, etc. If this reduces the number of personal bikes chained to places, it reduces theft. Instead of a one-to-one ratio, it’s one city bike to-many-users ratio.

      The bikes themselves are theft-resistant, with low resale value and higher risk than other bikes. They are chipped as well.

  • In reply to eastnewyork:

    It’s simple economics. Bikes are stolen and resold to fill an unmet demand for bicycles. If you flood the market with a cheap alternative to buying a stolen bike, the thieves no longer have a market. Unfortunately, they will probably begin stealing something else instead. Unless you are a pure kleptomaniac, people steal to make money or because they have an immediate need for that thing; they don’t do it for fun.

  • “It’s simple economics. Bikes are stolen and resold to fill an unmet demand for bicycles. If you flood the market with a cheap alternative to buying a stolen bike, the thieves no longer have a market.”

    Huh? Your hypothesis doesn’t make sense. Most bikes are stolen by people who re-sell them or their parts for money. That’s why thieves are especially interested in the best bikes. These crimes have little to do with how many bicycles are available generally (“demand”). Just because there are a bunch of low-cost rental bikes around doesn’t mean thieves won’t continue to steal the best bikes. There is no cause-and-effect here.

  • “It’s simple economics. Bikes are stolen and resold to fill an unmet demand for bicycles. If you flood the market with a cheap alternative to buying a stolen bike, the thieves no longer have a market.”

    Huh? Your hypothesis doesn’t make sense. Most bikes are stolen by people who re-sell them or their parts for money. That’s why thieves are especially interested in the best bikes. These crimes have little to do with how many bicycles are available generally (“demand”). Just because there are a bunch of low-cost rental bikes around doesn’t mean thieves won’t continue to steal the best bikes. There is no cause-and-effect here.

  • The “best” bikes are kept inside and are not stolen unless by burglars. It’s the cheap ones that are stolen off the streets. I own a very expensive racing bike, I would never lock it up on the street.

  • The “best” bikes are kept inside and are not stolen unless by burglars. It’s the cheap ones that are stolen off the streets. I own a very expensive racing bike, I would never lock it up on the street.

  • “people who do bike(including me) have bicycles already.” yes…but i dont lug it around with me everywhere…yes i have a bike at my house that i use often…but if i’m in manhattan or if i’m in another neighborhood within brooklyn and want to run an errand or meet someone that’s what i’ll use bikeshare for. i’m psyched!
    also “The bike share is just for fun. Its meant to provide recreational bike rides.” actually it’s really not hence the pricing..cheap for errands, costly for recreational futzing around.

  • “I own a very expensive racing bike, I would never lock it up on the street.”

    Of course you wouldn’t. But plenty of people lock up bikes that are better than the bikes that will presumably be available for rental. I know. I’ve seen them. And plenty of these bikes are stolen. I can’t imagine how the presence of a fleet of rental bikes will change that by any significant degree.

  • “I own a very expensive racing bike, I would never lock it up on the street.”

    Of course you wouldn’t. But plenty of people lock up bikes that are better than the bikes that will presumably be available for rental. I know. I’ve seen them. And plenty of these bikes are stolen. I can’t imagine how the presence of a fleet of rental bikes will change that by any significant degree.

  • For this to work well, bike stations must be available within a few blocks of the beginning and end of intended trips. Hence they must be on residential streets. Clearly they are no uglier than cars and truck parked on the street, not to mention graffiti covered mailboxes and the like. I for one hope one is placed across the street from my apartment (in an historic district). There were numerous community meeting where input by residents and community board members was taken on proposed bike station location, The process in ongoing but not everyone will be happy with every location, And bikes are for all ages. I just turned 50 and plan on riding for many years to come.

  • even with the limited info that has been shared, i already plan on subscribing to the bike sharing program. it’s a great idea, in my opinion. i like what both dream-king (about the bike sharing being an extension of the pedestrian range) and geck (regarding graffiti).

    i’m hoping for someone to spray some killer graffiti on the bike i’m riding, while i’m riding it!
    :)

  • OK, if you say so dream king. I’d like to see some data to back your assertions, because I’m wondering what that nebulous contingent of folks who find themselves within a 15-minute walk of their intended destination and their previous mass transit option are doing now. Clearly they’re finding solutions to this apparent dilemma. And if there is a truck (or trucks) driving around to service these stations, isn’t that creating traffic and pollution that isn’t there presently?

    Sure, owning a bike means the hassle of chains, securing it in the right spot and the risk of theft. These are clearly not insurmountable barriers, as bike ridership in the city is at its highest level in years.

    Again, this sounds to me like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Furthermore I can’t help but think it’s a cleverly conceived means to install Citibank ads on residential streets from which they’re presently barred.

  • People complaining about stations in front of their house either don’t get it, are frigidly aesthete or don’t understand it will increase their property value.

    **

    I would definitely love to see any evidence that indicates this would increase property values.

  • “I would definitely love to see any evidence that indicates this would increase property values.”

    Just wait to see how many brokers tout “proximity to bike kiosk” in their listings.

  • “Just wait to see how many brokers tout “proximity to bike kiosk” in their listings.”

    Good one. That was funny.

  • this works well and has been embraced in several other cities. not sure why brooklyn thinks it’s so damn special

  • this works well and has been embraced in several other cities. not sure why brooklyn thinks it’s so damn special