The long-awaited New York City bike share program, Citi Bike, has started installing the 330 docking stations it expects to launch in May. But the placement of the stations is drawing protests from city residents—including West Village co-op owners and downtown food cart vendors.
According to DNAinfo.com, residents of a seven-story co-op building on Bank Street in the West Village are suing the city over a 31-bike station on the corner of Hudson and Bank Streets, which they say will be dangerous for people stepping out of their building.
In Fort Greene, Brooklyn brownstoners are angered by the stations being placed on historic blocks because of the corporate Citibank signage that comes with them. Gothamist reported that residents taped handmade signs to the stations that read “Residential landmark blocks are not for advertising or commercial activity.”
And in the Financial District, food cart vendors got together last week to protest a station on Liberty Street and Broadway, which they say displaced their businesses.
Michael Murphy, the communications director for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy organization that’s been supportive of Citi Bike, said that while compromises had to be made, the city had done due diligence in soliciting feedback from neighborhood residents—including hosting 159 public meetings and sorting through more than 10,000 online station requests from residents—before determining the placement of the stations.
“Every single individual may not agree with every station choice, but the locations in these neighborhoods have been chosen fairly,” Murphy says. “The last minute attempt to undo years of public process is simply not fair, and it’s not reasonable for a small number of naysayers to expect to have veto power over the wishes of their neighbors.”
The numbers seem to support his sentiment. According to a 2012 Quinnipiac poll, 74 percent of New Yorkers think Citi Bike is a good idea. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re willing to give up space on their very own block to make it work. —Lisa Elaine Held