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.

  • Joe R.

    I find the exact same thing. When I get above around 15 or 16 mph, it seems motorists don’t mind as much if I take the lane. When I’m at 25+ mph, I’m just one of the crowd, and can merge into a traffic lane at will. Too bad I can’t hold 25+ mph for any length of time. I also find pedestrians seem to respect me more when I’m riding faster, meaning they won’t step off the curb into my path when I’m 10 feet away.

  • jon

    How is this going to increase your friend’s commute time? What a load of garbage you speak.

  • Anonymous

    This stuff really brings out the weird behavior caused by NYC’s inability to properly manage street parking. It’s the same reason why a handful of store owners will vehemently protest a bike lane outside their shops, even while it will result in more convenience for customers.

    There is real value in being able to park (or double park) near your home or place of work, at least for the minority of people who own or regularly use cars. This valuable asset has been allocated according to a convoluted system of historical precedent, membership in special groups (like certain city employees), and other non-market factors. It’s the very definition of a political entitlement.

    Parking space should be allocated on a market basis – you pay for it based on supply and demand. The next best thing would be a rationally designed top-down system, something like residential permits plus metered parking, plus an explicit parking allowance benefit for public employees (taxed as income!) But instead it is neither of these.

    If you are a beneficiary of the current parking system, I can understand why you would fight very hard to preserve it. But nobody can credibly claim that it is fair or efficient.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I don’t see any way that a bike commute from the West Village to Washington Heights is a realistic option. If it’s raining, snowing, very cold, or very hot, biking is just not a viable option for most people to get to work. And in terms of time, I think 15 mph is around the upper limit of what someone who isn’t a racer can expect to achieve after taking into account red lights, traffic, potholes, etc. Even that is very optimistic for most people.

  • Anonymous

    He’s just speaking to his friend’s motivation. It’s incredibly selfish. But, she’s acting in her self-interest. Any reduction in free street parking freaks the fuck out of people who rely on that limited free street parking.

  • Joe R.

    I threw out the idea of bike commuting merely as another option. This commute would actually be a lot more viable than many others of similar distance because it could be mostly done on a greenway without cars or traffic signals. As such, a 15 mph average isn’t totally unrealistic even for non-racers. If you rarely need to slow or stop, you just need to ride maybe 16 mph to average 15 mph. Or if you don’t want to arrive sweaty, take 1 or 2 mph off that. You’re still looking at around 40 to 45 minutes at most.

    The larger point though is this person’s auto commute really isn’t any more viable than a bike commute if not for the fact that she has free (i.e. taxpayer subsidized) parking on both ends of the journey. I get it when people get all bent out of shape when a privilege they’ve enjoyed for decades might be taken away. By the same token, I also tell these people that a privilege is exactly that. It’s not a right. It’s not guaranteed in stone. If the city feels bike parking or loading zones or any other of a number of uses of curbside space are better, then it can revoke the privilege of people to store their private vehicles there at will. In fact, I’ve even told people the state can revoke your privilege to drive at will, for any time, and for any reason, and you’ll have zero recourse. Privileges are exactly that-they’re subject to the whims of those in charge. Perhaps charging people whatever the market will bear for on-street parking makes more sense. If you really value something, then you should pay something for it. If others value it more and price you out, well, that’s already happened with housing in much of the city. Housing by any measure is more essential then parking, and yet we’ve let the free market reign. I’m not seeing why we shouldn’t do the same for parking.

  • Joe R.

    Regarding a woman taking the subway at 6:15 on dark winter mornings, I recall a girl I used to go to high school with doing exactly that-going all the way from my neighborhood to the Bronx. She was all of 4’8″ or so, and didn’t seem to have any trouble. This was in the late 1970s/early 1980s when the trains were a lot less safe than now. That said, I get your friend’s position, at least to some extent.

    That beings me to another larger point regarding the expectations of employers. Employers have to realize we live in a city where public transit is king. As such, they have to realize there are times when public transit is sparse. They also have to realize that for whatever reason some people prefer to avoid public transit during certain hours, perhaps because of real, or even perceived, safety issues. This means employers can’t expect their employees to keep hours if the only way they can keep those hours is by driving. It’s just not a realistic expectation for any employer in a place like NYC to count on employees who own and drive private vehicles. It also places a huge burden on non-drivers who must sacrifice space and air quality because some business owners insist on running businesses which keep hours which just aren’t viable. If an employer requires a car or driver’s license for any job which doesn’t directly involve driving, then perhaps their business model isn’t viable in NYC. They might be better off relocating their business to places where the majority have private vehicles.

  • jrab

    Your 15 mph through Brooklyn and Manhattan compares very favorably to my 12.5 mph through the same areas for years upon years. Maybe I slow down too gradually when approaching intersections?

  • dan

    the comment about bike racks attracting garbage would be hysterical if not part of the lawsuit. You know, because when I get off my bike the first think I do is litter, as I know all cyclists do. and dog waste. yeah, that’s our fault too, I like to drag my dog along on the bike, and when I see a rack, make him defecate there.

  • I was kind of amazed that the lawyer for 99 Bank Street emphasized the parking issue on the Fox segment this morning. Really brings out how self-entitled these people are.

  • publix

    I saw that segment, he mentioned but hardly ’emphasized’ the parking issue. More interesting to me was the way you minimized – several times in fact – that cycling can cause injuries. You may want to take a moment to familiarize yourself with your Firm’s own website, which lists ‘cyclist injuries’ FIRST under your areas of practice.

  • There is a fundamental moral difference between causing injury and being injured, however much the various malefactors of American policy scheme to conflate the two.

    Steve also represents pedestrians injured by motorists, which is a good idea because there many times more of them.

  • Miles Bader

    I don’t think it’s dogs that are going to be doing the defecating … ????

  • Anonymous

    No, Barr didn’t emphasize it. I mean, sure, he brought it up in the first chance they gave him to speak. And he equated the loss of some on-street motor vehicle parking with the complete destruction of a significant portion of the block. But since he didn’t, say, jump up and down on the chair while pronouncing the words in a sprechstimme, I guess you’re right.


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