The big story of the day is yesterday’s launch of Citi Bike, the first large-scale new transportation system in the City for more than 75 years, according to The New York Times. It is “already the largest bike-sharing system in the country,” said the Times, and will get even bigger when it expands farther into Brooklyn and other boroughs. DNAinfo spoke to Clinton Hill resident Travis Eby, who said he was excited to try it and planned to use it for “quick trips” or to get to the subway when the G is out. “They are great at filling in gaps in the transportation system,” he said. The U.K.’s Guardian had an interesting perspective, and noted the system is expensive compared to London’s: $9.95 plus tax vs. $3 for 24 hours. Plus there are all sorts of late fees, such as a $9 charge if you keep the bike out for more than 30 minutes (and $12 more for every additional 30 minutes after the first 60-90 minutes of overage…!). Apparently the bike share program has no plans to move into southern Brooklyn, and that’s just the way the residents there like it, according to Brooklyn Daily.
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