Bike-Share NIMBYs Suing to Prevent a Rise in Their Property Values?

Setting aside the sheer entitlement it must take to sue the city over a public amenity installed on the public right of way, let’s just appreciate the irony of the complaints coming from anti-bike-share litigants.

Apartment owners at 99 Bank Street and a few other tony buildings are under the impression that locating a public bike station in front of their residence is going to depress their property values:

“The placement of such a massive futuristic structure … (and) dropping … a slab in front of (their) 100 year old landmark building located on an historic street in a landmarks protected district is offensive to the public and residents,” the owners’ lawyer, Jeffrey Barr, says in court papers.

Barr said the residents decided to sue the corporate sponsor, Citibank, and the vendors running the program, Alta Bicycle Share and NYC Bike Share, because they are in charge of the program and in position to make a change.

He said they also are responsible when the building’s value drops because the bike racks attract garbage and animal waste and impede pedestrian and vehicular traffic, forcing bikers to ride on the narrow sidewalks to escape the narrow bumpy street.

Meanwhile, Matt Chaban at Crain’s writes that people who deal with apartment sales for a living are expecting the opposite effect:

Residential brokers are also buying into the program. “I deal mostly with clients in their late 20s to mid-30s who are very physically active,” Douglas Elliman agent Zakery Risinger said. “Being close to one of the stations will be a huge selling point for apartments.”

So the bike-share litigants are fighting something that’s not only going to enrich transportation options for themselves and their neighbors, it’s also probably going to enrich them, period.

  • George

    Most of the bikes will get stolen anyway

  • Ben Kintisch

    Nope. They have GPS tracking devices linked to the credit cards of users.

  • The value to these people of having free on-street parking for their cars (legal parking and the double-parking, both of which are prevented by a bike-share station) is worth more than a bump up in the value of their apartment because others place a higher value on proximity to bikeshare than curbside parking. They’re fighting to hang onto a suburban lifestyle in Manhattan. It’s a losing battle. The ones who oppose the bikeshare stations on purely aesthetic grounds are entitled to their opinions, but that’s no basis for determining such an important piece of transportation policy.

  • Eric McClure


  • Joe R.

    I should point out that increased property values are only beneficial to two classes of people:

    1) Those who are eventually planning to sell their property.
    2) Those who buy and sell real estate for a living.

    Nobody else benefits from high property values. People looking to buy certainly don’t benefit. If you plan to stay where you are until you die then higher property values usually hurt you in the form of higher real estate taxes.

    There will be lots of positive benefits to bike share. However, I don’t consider (potentially) higher property values to be one of them.

  • Sounds like a headline straight from The Onion!

  • Andy B from Jersey

    They are suing on hypotheticals that haven’t happened yet (and won’t). Throw this BS out!

  • Co-op owner

    Co-op boards are obligated to act in the best interest of all shareholders, an interest that’s usually measured in terms of price per share. If I lived in 99 Bank Street, or 150 Joralemon, and were at all aware of cities outside of NYC, I’d pull research from Boston, London, DC and elsewhere and counter-sue my board for decreasing the long-term value of my shares and my building’s reserve fund.

  • Anonymous

    Why? WTF will someone do with a stolen bikeshare bike? They are unique with non-standard parts. Nothing really you can do with it.

    What I do expect however is vandalism by some of these NIMBYs out if spite.

  • Anonymous

    While you are correct, you are confusing the symptom for the cause. The increasing property value is a symptom of the fact that the bike share station has made the area more desirable to live in. Desirability leads to increasing prices, and if that is not okay, we’ll, then you should be against any measures hich make an area better. For example, if the city were to stop collecting trash from 99 Bank Street, the cost of living there would plummet.

    Maybe that is what we should do. No bikeshare, and an end to all other public services too. Then the 99 Bank St residents won’t have to be worried about being priced out of their apartments.

  • Anonymous

    Is this an Article 78? Don’t they have to exhaust their administrative remedies before suing the government?

  • Anonymous

    Why “most”? I mean, if you’re committed enough to the folly of stealing super-heavy, easily traced bikes with nonstandard parts, I think you’ll steal them *all*.

    (And then–I’m guessing here but bear with me–and then you’ll fly them back to your underground layer and shout variations on the phrase “Vengeance is mine!”)

  • Joe R.

    Desirability only leads to higher prices if the supply is artificially constrained, as is the case with housing. As livable streets advocates who understand the inherent waste of an auto-dependent lifestyle, we should be lauding any measures which make living in an urban setting less expensive. This doesn’t imply that we make such living cheaper by making it less attractive because we stop collecting the trash. Rather, it means we should increase the supply. Yes, that will mean more NIMBYs complaining about falling property values, but nobody ever said this real estate bubble won’t eventually pop.

    The only time high housing prices are good is if they force people to pay the true societal costs of their lifestyle. In that line of thinking, it could be argued that urban residents should pay lower housing prices than suburban residents, not vice versa.

  • jrab

    One of my pals lives at 99 Bank and was quoted in the press as supporting the lawsuit.

    She works for the city in Washington Heights 7am to 3 pm Tues-Sat and like many city workers commutes by motor vehicle.

    As @disqus_dlP91vGbzC:disqus points out elsewhere in this thread, rising real estate values sound great but are of little benefit until you sell your home. And then you need somewhere else to live! So my friend is forced to spend more time commuting (either taking the subway or looking for parking) for the foreseeable future. Sounds like a bum deal to me, even if the value of my co-op shares are likely to increase.

  • Joe R.

    This is NYC. Vandalism of anything in a public space is a given. Just ask the people running the bus shelters, for example.

  • Anonymous

    So is she to good to take the 1 train?

  • scrimscram

    yes many city workers drive because they are middle/working class and think the subway is for poors and they would rather die a premature death from the stress of driving through our streets than deign to sit on the subway with the regulars. please explain to me fully why should the rest of us be supporting their bad lifestyle/ignorance?

  • Guest

    99 Bank Street looks like a relatively big building. It’s just not possible for every resident who has a car in this and neighboring buildings to find a spot on this block. How about the people who own cars but only use them on weekends? Maybe she could direct some of her frustration at them rather than at a bike share station that will get used by people every day? Just a thought.

    Drivers need to realize that their main “enemies” are other drivers!

  • J

    Seriously? It’s not even a long or inconvenient subway ride. The 1 train AND the A train take you directly to Washington Heights from the West Village (I know the A is farther, depending on where in the village you are but it’s super express). So the rest of the city should continue to subsidize her unnecessary car commute, which make very poor use of public resources (street space) and contributes to the already terrible pollution in Washington Heights and elsewhere? If anything, bikeshare will make her commute EASIER, as he/she will be able to take a bikeshare to a more convenient subway station.

  • Anonymous

    The City should end all street free parking. Instead, allocate parking on the street to residents who pay an annual fee (around $200ish). The parking areas would be based on zones. This is what goes on in DC.

    This way, residents could still park on the street relatively cheap. And the permitting system makes it such that only locals use it..

  • Suing Citibank? Can I sue all the car companies that advertise during games if my favorite baseball team loses?

  • Maybe residents of 99 Bank will start stealing wallets so they can use the credit cards to dump bikeshare bikes in the river.

  • Joe R.

    Not to mention anyone who drives in Manhattan who isn’t getting paid for it is only spiting themselves. Seriously, it probably takes 15 or 20 minutes by train to go from Bank Street to Washington Heights, maybe 40 minutes on a really bad day. What’s the average speed of Manhattan traffic, something like 7 mph? That’s over an hour to drive, plus the time to park. Are people who drive in Manhattan even aware of how much longer it usually takes compared to other modes? They should be when quite a few of them say they drive because it saves them time. From where I stand it sure as heck don’t seem that way. She’s driving during peak hours. It’s usually a clue this isn’t a great way to travel when an 80-year old on a three-speed can keep your pace for block after block.

  • Ari

    With all due respect, it’s probably faster to drive to Washington Heights than to take the train from the west village. Especially if the final destination is far from the subway station.

    Just travel time. Not counting parking, externalities, etc.

  • Guest

    That’s why drivers are the true leisure class of NYC, especially in Manhattan. Anyone who has an extra 20 minutes to 1 hour every day to look for parking and the time to deal with alternate side parking, maintenance, and the other costs of car ownership must have a lot of free time on their hands. I bike and take transit because my time is way too valuable and my wallet too thin for this kind of headache.

  • Joe R.

    During peak hours when this woman would be driving? I doubt it. The stats say Manhattan traffic moves 7 or 8 mph. That’s over a full hour to go from the West Village to Washington Heights. The rare times I go into Manhattan I find more often than not I’m moving just as fast on foot as the motor vehicles.

    Oh, and there’s no guarantee of finding a parking spot any closer to the final destination than the subway station. Unless of course you want to pay to park in a private garage. It doesn’t sound like the budget of a city employee can accommodate that.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget about the cost of gas. The last time i had to fill up a tank it was like $70!

  • Anonymous

    WSH isn’t that fast during the day.

    I frequently have to make similar trips and I’ve used zip car and I’ve used biking to the closest express train. And zip car is a little faster. But, once you factor in trying to find parking at your destination, and circling around, I find that biking to the express train to be better (but, in my case, I take my bike with my on the train — whereas with bike share in WaHi, I’d just hop on to the bike share at the destination station to get my eventual destination).

  • Joe R.

    Even biking the entire way (but not on one of those heavy Citibikes) wouldn’t be all that arduous. It’s about 8 or 9 miles, depending upon where in Washington Heights you’re going, and you can take the Hudson River Greenway most of the way. That makes it a nice, easy ~30 minute ride for someone in decent shape, maybe 45 minutes for a person in average shape. Certainly that’s no slower than driving, possibly even a good deal faster.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. I am not saying that high prices are good. The solution to them though is, as you point out, increasing density. I completely agree about increasing supply.

    However, that isn’t relevant at all to this situation. Here the stock of housing isn’t changing at all. It is constant. As a result, the increased prices is a reflection of a good thing, I.e. the increased desirability of the location.

    Now, if you want to counteract the higher prices by increasing housing density in the area (or even imposing some sort of rent control) I am with you. However, that is a completely different issue with nothing to do with bikeshare.

  • Anonymous

    Why in the world is the city giving her free parking in the first place? She is welcome to buy a monthly pass from one of the many parking garages around if her time is so valuable.

  • jrab

    According to the MTA’s website, it takes 31-32 minutes for the A train to travel from West 4th St to 175th St (station to station only) on a weekday morning before 7:00. At that time, mapping websites suggest one can easily drive the same distance in 20 minutes (cycling takes at least 45 minutes).

    Certainly she’s getting over on the rest of us fellow citizens, but it’s not illegal to drive to work and I can wholeheartedly endorse a woman’s preference not to take the subway at 6:15 am on dark winter mornings.

  • Anonymous

    “Especially if the fi al destination is far from the subway station”

    And this is PRECISELY the problem which bikeshare is best at solving!

  • jrab

    Christopher St to West 181st St is nine and a half miles along the Greenway. Before seven am you can probably drive that in 15 minutes. I know folks like you and @dporpentine:disqus can ride it in 30 minutes, but you guys are my heroes.

  • jrab

    I think she has free parking at work, like many city workers outside of downtown Manhattan.

  • Joe R.

    Well, thanks for the compliment! Actually, when I briefly tried bike messengering in 1981, I did 125th St. to West 4th St. in 15 minutes flat. I’m not that strong any more, but certainly 9.5 miles in ~30 minutes on a Greenway with no stopping is feasible. Heck, out here in Queens I sometimes do East Hampton Blvd. to Main St. (4.3 miles) along the LIE service road in 14 minutes flat. Not a greenway, but if I hit a green light at Springfield Blvd. I’ll get greens the rest of the way.

  • Anonymous

    Certainly she’s getting over on the rest of us fellow citizens.

    I think that’s the main critique. Pay to park. Or look to park and STFU. Don’t hate on bikes because you’re already getting a massive subsidy from the rest of us. But for that subsidy (including free parking at her school in WaHi), she wouldn’t drive, and she wouldn’t even be in a position to gripe.

  • J

    Yes, driving can be convenient, but why should her convenience take precedence over the convenience over the many many people who would benefit from the bikeshare station? The space for one car storage will allow one person to drive to work and back. That same amount of curb space, when occupied by bikeshare, will allow maybe 8 bikes, and each typically gets used about 4 times per day (based on London, Montreal, and Paris), benefiting 32 people. Plus each bike ride emits no pollution, causes very little noise, improves public health, etc, etc. In short, your friend got a great deal on parking and driving to work in Manhattan while the rest of us paid for that convenience and the pollution and congestion it caused.

    If it’s now slightly harder to find parking so she can drive from her coop in Manhattan to her job in Manhattan, cry me a freaking river.

  • Anonymous

    30 minute ride? that’s almost 20mph average. that is your A-level rider for NY cycling club. to do almost 20mph average on a hybrid or non road bike? that has to be a really strong biker.

  • Anonymous

    30 minute ride? that’s almost 20mph average. that is your A-level rider for NY cycling club. to do almost 20mph average on a hybrid or non road bike? that has to be a really strong biker.

  • Anonymous

    30 minute ride? that’s almost 20mph average. that is your A-level rider for NY cycling club. to do almost 20mph average on a hybrid or non road bike? that has to be a really strong biker.

  • Anonymous

    totally agree…

  • Anonymous

    don’t forget their pensions are also generous too

  • Anonymous

    Or she can shorten her trip by mass transit by using a bike-share bike to get to the the subway.

  • Joe R.

    30 minutes for a strong rider (that’s 16 to 18 mph average assuming 8 or 9 miles distance), 45 minutes for your average rider. A lot of it depends upon equipment. Averaging 16 to 18 mph for 30 minutes on a decent road bike really isn’t all that hard, assuming of course you don’t need to stop for any reason. 20+ mph starts to get into the rarified area which only a small fraction of cyclists can manage. Nobody except pros are maintaining 25+ mph for any length of time.

  • Anonymous

    I for one am going to make a point of going to the 99 Bank Street station on a regular basis to use the Citibikes there and make sure that location is particularly successful. The West Village is such a nice place for a quick, scenic ride.

  • Anonymous

    “doing 16 to 18 mph for 30 min isn’t that hard…”
    thanks for making me feel fat and unfit. I look in my office of 7 employees and I feel I would be the only one who could do that time on a road bike no less. I work in washington heights too and I don’t like parking my road bike there. therefore I take my hybrid and combine with subway. I’m not confident the general population could go at a pace like that and not end up a sweaty mess at work.

  • Anonymous

    Of course it’s going to be successful. A lot of people live there. We already know this building is full of stuck up snobs. Where do stuck up snubs get their groceries (the same place I do). And nobody drives to Whole Foods in Manhattan.

    Walking time v. biking time v. transit time (during rush hour) to the local Whole Foods from 99 Bank Street:

    Houston Wholefoods
    Walking: 1.3 Miles. 26 minute walk.

    Bike: 1.3 Miles. 9 minute bike ride.

    Transit (this is rush hour too): 17 minutes. Walk to F/D.

    Chelsea Wholefoods
    Walking: .9 miles. 19 minute walk.

    Bike: 1.2 miles. 7 minute bike ride.

    Transit: 12 minutes via the 1 train.

    Union Square Wholefoods

    Walking: 1.0 miles. 20 minute walk.

    Bike: 1.0 mile. 7 minute bike ride.

    Transit: 10 minutes (if you catch the L)


    I think they over estimate bike times as bikes can generally move through congested traffic.

  • Joe R.

    You might want to look at this:

    This lets you calculate the speed you’ll be doing on various types of bicycles for any given power input. For reference,100 watts is about what your average person can manage. 150 watts is what someone who has been riding regularly for at least a few months should be able to do. 200 watts is considered “strong amateur” (I’m around that). 250 watts might be a Cat5 racer. 300 watts is a Cat1 racer. 350+ is an elite pro. In all cases these are one hour outputs (i.e. what you can manage for about an hour). 160 watts on a road bike with your hands on top gets you about 17 mph. If you can manage to ride on the drops, you’re good for 19 mph. Naturally a hybrid is a bit slower.

    If you underdress so you’re cold the first few minutes of the ride, you can manage to arrive at work not sweaty except in warmer weather. I only ride for fun so it doesn’t matter. I can come home a sweaty mess then just hop in the shower. That said, just cutting my speed by 1 or 2 mph is enough to make the difference between sweating or not sweating.

    A lot of riding faster and sweating less is just pushing harder. If your general level of fitness rises, you can maintain any given speed with less exertion and less sweating. I understand if you can’t push yourself on the ride going to work. There’s always the ride coming home for that.

    No, the general population can’t average those kinds of speeds without sweating like pigs. I never said otherwise. Anyone who rides fairly regularly however could build up to that if they wanted to. When I first started riding regularly in college it was a struggle at first to cover even 12 miles in an hour. After about a year averaging 15 or 16 mph in typical city riding conditions was relatively easy. I even once managed 10 miles in 25 minutes out in NJ. The interesting thing is I’m finding as long as I ride enough to stay in shape, I haven’t slowed much with age. I can still cover 15 to 17 miles in an hour under typical city riding conditions. What I can’t do any more is sprint as fast. In my 20s I could hit about 35 mph on level roads for a few blocks. Now it’s more like maybe 27 or 28 mph, perhaps 30 on a good day.

  • Anonymous

    I’d be really excited to be someone’s hero, but I’m a very meh rider, and I don’t know what I did to suggest otherwise. I mean, back when I bothered to check my speed, I rarely averaged more than 15
    mph on my rides. The only thing I can think is that I’ve said here a few times how much safer I feel if I’m in the 15-20 mph zone. (And how annoyed I am by that sense of safety, since there are obvious hazards to riding that quickly in a city setting.) But the reality is that drivers just don’t seem to be quite as obnoxious to you then–a bit less likely to cut you off, possibly a bit more willing to drive at a reasonable distance from you and not honk like idjits. And I certainly save my energy to call on that level of speed when I need to, for as long as I need to. But sadly, I am not otherwise worthy.


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