Tell CB 6 and Mayor de Blasio That Bike-Share Belongs on Brooklyn Streets

Last week a bunch of people showed up at a Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting to complain about Citi Bike, which has recently expanded into Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, and Red Hook. Bike-share wasn’t on the agenda, but that didn’t stop one hothead from screaming in the faces of board members about the perceived threat to free on-street car parking.

It’s the same old story: People believe they are entitled to park for free on public streets, and anything that diminishes the quantity of free on-street parking is infringing on their “rights.”

You can add your name to a petition to remind officials that bike-share is a welcome transportation option for New Yorkers who live, work, and play in those neighborhoods — most of whom don’t own cars. Posted by “Citizens for Citi Bike,” the petition will be sent to CB 6, Council Member Brad Lander, Borough President Eric Adams, and DOT.

It might be a good idea to send it to City Hall as well. Asked by WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough last Friday why bike-share docks are “taking precious parking” in Brooklyn, Mayor de Blasio minced words:

A lot of people use Citi Bike. It’s worth investing some parking spaces if there’s a lot of usage. But … if we put up the Citi Bike stations, and then people don’t use them, we can take them out too. So this is going to be a matter of people vote with their feet. If they take advantage of it, if it helps take cars off the street because people are on bikes. But if it doesn’t work out, of course we’re ready to move them.

Weak sauce from the mayor here.

He could have pointed out that New York’s car free majority deserves a share of curb space too, or that bike-share stations — which can fit several docks into the same space occupied by one car — are likely to be used much more intensively than free parking spaces that rarely turn over, or that complaints about street changes tend to die down pretty quickly after the initial uproar.

Instead, the mayor equivocated.

De Blasio made it sound like personal auto storage should be the default use of curbside space, while anything else is on perpetual probation. After almost three years in office, someone close to the mayor should explain to him how streets work.

  • qrt145

    No surprise coming from wishy-washy de Blasio.

    At least Weiner owned up to hating bike lanes…

  • I’m interpreting what the mayor said to mean that the docks aren’t going anywhere, since this is the highest-utilized bike share program in the world.

    Indeed, minced words or not, the system facilities were designed to be removed/shuffled without major construction. That is a fact, just not a fact to be offered generously to people who make irrational apocalyptic claims about bike share impact.

    Let’s go back to hitting him on the slow progress (and weak investment) in Vision Zero, please

  • JudenChino

    Ok, but please sign the petition.

  • Of course

  • Brad Aaron

    All of one piece.

  • “But … if we put up the Citi Bike stations, and then people don’t use them, we can take them out too.”

    There are cars on my block that don’t move for weeks on end, even with alternate side parking. Since people don’t use them, can we take them out and replace them with bike-share stations?

  • Tyler

    That car is kinda sweet though. 🙂 Though, I couldn’t imagine parking it on a street anywhere other than a suburban metered spot that is a double-car length long.

  • I miss Bloomberg being a curmudgeon.

    Both mayors roughly have the same policy on bike share. Beyond that, de Blasio has a funny (but not amusing) habit of talking about possibly ripping out things – horses in Central Park, green taxis, plazas in Times Square… all with the same weasel-worded language, like he’s trying to please somebody but has no commitment to the ideas being presented…

  • Wanting to be all things to all people means he’s often no one to nobody.

  • Alan

    The local grocery store owners regularly park a Bentley on neighborhood streets here in Crown Heights. I also see a Tesla parked on my block regularly.

  • Tyler

    Tesla is small enough… but a Bentley? That’s some parking skillz.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    The car in the picture at the top of this article is possibly always in that exact spot. Citibike stations are usually at corners so it almost looks like they sited the station around it.

  • A few of the stations are in from the corner. I think that may be to prevent damage from turning cars, but I’m not sure.

    But, yes, that Bentley is always parked right there. In the picture you can see it’s dusty. It almost never moves.

  • van_vlissingen

    It seems like demand for curb space is outpacing supply. Charge market rates for parking 24/7 and watch the problem melt away (eventually).

  • AMH

    Agreed, pointing to the stations’ portability is a good way to shut down opponents by saying that nothing’s permanent. Once they’re operational, obviously, they’re wildly popular and no one will want to get rid of them. (Then again, this is a mayor who unilaterally ripped out safety islands, so maybe all bets are off.)

  • Long time New Yorker

    Media people like Chuck and Melissa are always going to side with those with cars, since they see driving fast to the nearest story as part of their job. I was driven by Melissa once, and she drove like a maniac. You know the type: speeding and then slamming on the brakes at the red lights she didn’t blow through. It was terrifying as a passenger and I imagine even scarier for those passing cyclists and pedestrians. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car.

  • Joe R.

    The sad part is the people who drive like that don’t have a clue that they’re rarely getting where they’re going any faster. All they’re doing is wearing out their brakes and transmission as they speed to be first in line at the next red light. Also, this “every person for themselves” behavior tends to negate smooth traffic flow, ultimately causing much more delay in the aggregate.

  • And they call my generation the entitlement generation. It seems it might not be a generational thing, almost as if there are entitled jerks in every generation. Of course it’s not surprising, people like this feel entitled to free parking, they also feel entitled to scream in people’s faces.

  • Miles Bader

    “We’ve removed this person’s Rolls Royce from the parking spot it’s been parked in for five months, and replaced it with a crude replica made from JELL-O™ brand gelatin … Let’s see if he notices!”

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