Check Out the Reaction to Bike-Share Installation Once the Novelty Is Gone

With NYC’s bike-share system in the delicate period where new stations are going in but people can’t yet use the bikes, the city’s press corps is gorging on stories about conflict. The reporters at the Post and CBS2 better enjoy it while it lasts, because once people get used to seeing bike-share in action, these stations are going to be about as newsworthy as bus shelters.

When Capital Bikeshare launched in Washington, DC, public meetings saw the same type of wrangling about station placement that’s happening in NYC today. Certain station locations aroused opposition because some people thought they were too dangerous, or inappropriate for residential blocks, or irresistible to vandals.

Now, two and a half years after the DC region’s bike-share system got off the ground, new stations are just a matter of course. In this video, via Shaun Courtney at the Georgetown Patch, a crew installs one of two stations that arrived in historic Georgetown last week. About 30 seconds in, a silver-haired gentleman walks by and says, “This is great to see. It saves me about five blocks.”

Of course, most New Yorkers might very well be reacting to bike-share in more or less the same way, but while the sight of public bike stations is still so novel and many people remain unsure of how the whole thing will work, it’s the complainers who’ve got the media megaphone.

  • Danny G

    For what it’s worth on the official Streetsblog comments record, my only complaint about bike-share stations is that it would’ve been really nice if one of the modular units that make up the stations included a bench. That is all.

  • Anonymous

    Auto-play videos are the devil! And of course once these become common place the NIMBYs will move on to something else.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention, Georgetown is often the equivalent of the Park Slope NIMBY’s when it came to Bikeshare (and almost anything else). Now they are clamoring for more stations after missing out on all the fun.

  • Anonymous

    Autoplay videos are the worst.

  • Anonymous

    Georgetown notoriously doesn’t have a Metro station because they wanted to keep the “riff-raff” out.

  • Ari

    I disagree. That would have caused more opposition. And they aren’t really related.

    The city is installing 1000+ benches via the CItyBench program. So they can go exactly where people request them, near a bike share station or otherwise.

  • Bill

    This is a myth.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm that’s what I was always told but I guess it was a tad over stated:

    In fact, although Georgetown residents did oppose a transit station, their attitude was essentially irrelevant, for a Georgetown station was never seriously considered. While it would have been possible to build a subway line to Georgetown, it would have been difficult. (Page 155)

    Now let’s do something about the height maximums to increase density by metro stations in the urban core!

    edit: Other interesting quote:

    Still, the Georgetown legend has a kernel of truth. Residents of many neighborhoods did protest planned Metro stations, and WMATA was forced to respond, even cancelling one station. [] But the residential protests lacked the clear-cut class and racial connotations of the Georgetown story, for the protests were common to black neighborhoods and white, to poor neighborhoods as well as rich one

  • Jared Rodriguez

    What about a water fountain (all the engineering difficulties of achieving such aside)?

  • guestnyc

    Considering these docks are mobile, water fountains are unlikely. Maybe a “find water” app would suffice?

  • Craig S.

    Go ahead, continue to fool yourselves that the ‘NIMBYs’ will be fine once they get used to all the bike corrals in their neighborhoods. It might have been that way in other cities, but NY is different. Haven’t you noticed that opposition is large and outrage growing by the day? New Yorkers are smart enough to notice that all of this was rammed down our throats without any community input (oh yes, the ‘appearance’ of community input)

  • guestnyc

    They’ll get over it. Nothing was rammed down anyone’s throat. There was plenty of community input in selecting locations, in fact it all started with online suggestions followed by more precise community input.

    Over time certain stations will be relocated but that’s normal. In the end, this will be a great way to get around and used quite often.

  • Super Timbo

    Nothing says “rammed down our throat” like knowing it was going to happen for 3 years:

  • not sure if stupid, or just trolling…

  • Craig S

    Wrong again- we were left in the dark about locations until we woke up in our various neighborhoods to find those huge bike corrals. I went to ALL the meetings in my area, so there!

  • Craig S

    Wow! Who is paying you for promoting this propoganda?

  • Ian Turner

    You need to chill out. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make them a propagandist.

  • Ian Turner

    By “left in the dark”, you mean “announced a year in advance”, is that right?

  • Georgetowner

    “Now they are clamoring for more stations after missing out on all the fun.”

    Yes, Georgetowners are clamoring for more stations, but not because we were left out. We were among the first stations in the system. All our local government and community groups have been strongly in favor of the stations from the very start.

    We’re clamoring for more stations because, like that guy said, having a station five blocks away is good but having it one block away is much better.

  • Anonymous

    But it begs the question, just WHAT is the big deal anyhow? What is the major objection? The loss of 2 vehicle parking spaces? That don’t belong to you? Seriously?

  • Anonymous

    True, but none of the Georgetown stations are located on the street and required removal of vehicle parking correct?

  • Georgetowner

    No, the one by GU did. But all the rest were able to be installed on the sidewalk. Not sure how that makes Georgetown “NIMBY when it came to Bikeshare”.

  • Anonymous

    Did you bother to ask for one? Or search for it online (a highly-detailed map of the locations was readily available on the DOT’s bike share site)? Or did you expect a map of the locations to be hand-delivered to you?

  • In a pinch, say if you’re waiting for someone, you can easily lean/perch upon the flat part of the dock, facing away from the bike. Or on, you know, one of the locked bike seats 🙂

    I’ve even used this unconventional seating for a few hours, while interviewing bike share users for a research project.

  • curbs for cars

    Had no idea what this would be like…First Avenue looks like a mess…no more curb, now bike lane…cars (only a couple of parking spots remain due to construction of concrete islands – so a lie that only a few parking spaces take away…also $3.50 per hour to park) down to 2-3 lanes. You should see when trucks come to make deliveries to stores…they take up a lane…seems unsafe…last week a car got stuck…getting a boost from someone now in the 3rd lane…now down to 1-2 lanes. This doesn’t work on NYC streets…we’re not Boston, DC…too congested…and btw those concrete island are ugly..There are places for bike rides..don’t see the value for this boondoggle bike program…You are right…there is growing outrage…

  • Ben Kintisch

    The support is broad and deep and growing by the day. Thousands of annual memberships have been sold.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Regarding deliveries, it sounds like more space needs to be allocated for delivery zones. Cycling on that avenue is much safer and more popular. When car traffic slows, catastrophic injuries and deaths related to car collisions go way down. Those are all big upsides for the downsides you list.

  • Ben Kintisch

    This little video is so cute. Especially because that distinguished-looking older gentleman looked so much like the hundred or so folks at the Soho meeting the other night, who laughed out loud when a bike share supporter suggested that within a few months they might find themselves trying this out. They scoff and protest now, and soon enough they will be surprised at how much they love bike share when they try it. Then, they will be clamoring for more bikes and more stations.

  • Guest

    Boom @e02c0950834f7dd043e69458e032ddf9:disqus was roasted

  • Joe R.

    Putting aside for a moment whether bike lanes are the best use of space on First Avenue, why should the city give some of the most expensive real estate in the world over for free private vehicle storage when a very tiny minority of people in Manhattan drive? The fact is that delivery vehicles double park because the curb is clogged up with parked private vehicles. Instead, there should be no parking on the Avenues (actually, there should be no on-street parking for private vehicles in Manhattan, period), and the curbs should be reserved solely for delivery vehicles. Yes, you’re correct that NYC streets are very congested. As such, it makes no sense making them more congested with private vehicle storage. Besides the space taken up by the parked cars themselves, drivers circling for parking spots, and backing into them when they find a spot, add to the congestion.

    As for the bike lanes, I would have done things differently by placing them on elevated structures above the traffic. There’s too much congestion and too many traffic lights at street level. Cycling by its nature is much more efficient if you remain in motion instead of stopping every other block. That’s why in my opinion bike lanes in congested parts of the city need to be grade separated.


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