New York Post Serving as Stenographers for Bike-Share Litigants [Updated]

Update: Streetsblog had a call in to FDNY about the Post story. After this post went up, we talked with spokesperson Frank Dwyer, who said: “We had no operational or response issues to this call. Period.”

If you believe the story in today’s New York Post, it took an EMT crew over an hour to get a 92-year-old man past an empty bike-share station and into an ambulance on Sunday. But the piece cites no EMTs to back up its claim.

Before the bike-share station was installed, parked cars lined the sidewalk in front of 175 W. 13th Street. Photo: ##

Reporters Julia Marsh and Amber Sutherland quoted no sources other than residents of 175 W. 13th Street and their lawyer, who are suing the city to have the bike-share station removed.

“It’s exactly what this building feared would happen,” said Steven Shore, the building’s attorney, who filed a lawsuit over the bike racks last week. “The good news is the guy’s not dead.”

Parking spots for 39 bicycles create a barricade that runs the length of the 20-story co-op. The ambulance was forced to park three doors down along West 13th Street for the emergency call, the co-op board’s vice president, Dave Marcus, told The Post.

It took EMS workers more than an hour before Liss was taken to Beth Israel Hospital.

“With great difficulty they managed to get the guy out,” said Marcus. He called the kiosk, which was installed in the dead of night last month, an “impregnable wall.”

“The ambulance was forced to pull in at the eastern-most portion of the bike rack, where they had a clear shot to the sidewalk,” Marcus added.

It’s specious at best to claim that EMTs who must constantly work around any number of obstacles, like automobile traffic, could be foiled by a bike rack — particularly since the bike-share station in question replaced car parking. But clearly the Post has no qualms with printing straight-up propaganda from anyone who opposes Citi Bike.

Bonus: The Post put up a video with this story. What it shows is an FDNY vehicle stuck behind motorists, followed by footage of sanitation workers easily loading a truck from the sidewalk in front of 175 W. 13th.

Better luck next time, New York Post.

  • Mark Walker

    “The ambulance was forced to park three doors down…” Is the bike rack the width of three buildings? If not, did parked cars form some of that “width of three buildings”? Jeez, this is like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • Anonymous

    The natural conclusion to the NY Post story is to remove ALL parking in front of ALL buildings. Bye, bye on-street car parking, and thanks to the Post championing it!

  • Guest

    Via Gothamist:

    “With great difficulty they managed to get the guy out,” said Dave
    Marcus, vice president of the Cambridge co-op board, adding that the
    racks formed none other than an “impregnable wall.”

    But a quick call to the fire department revealed that this simply
    wasn’t the case—not by a long shot, said Frank Gribbon, an FDNY

    “The fire units on scene had absolutely no problem accessing this building,” he said. Well, surely paramedics have had trouble maneuvering around other Citi Bike kiosks?

    “There have been no problems,” Gribbon said, exasperated. “None.”

  • ADN

    Not really sure how reporters like Marsh and Sutherland live with themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Judging from the photo that accompanied the article, it was indeed “three doors down:” one door to an office within The Cambridge, one door to the alleyway next to The Cambridge, and the front door to the next building. Of course, nobody would actually count those doors unless they were trying to over dramatize the situation; the ambulance was parked in front of the townhouse next door.

  • Anonymous

    The update to this story is priceless–except insofar as it helps to stop this worse than frivolous lawsuit, in which case it probably has a very clear value.

  • KillMoto

    Yes! Thank you Streetsblog for having the determination and fortitude to do some hard-knocks investigative reporting that clearly the Post has no resources to do themselves.

    I hear the newspaper industry is not doing so well these days, so perhaps the Post can be forgiven for not being able to make that one phone call themselves.

  • ADN

    Well… Cut the Post some slack. They only had two reporters working this story.

  • KillMoto

    Their own video supports this. As the camera pans around, you can see an impregnable wall of private vehicles being stored free of charge on the far side of the public roadway.

    Shameful those vehicle owners aren’t thinking of first responder access to the properties that line that side of the street.

  • Daphna

    I don’t understand the mentality of the residents of 175 West 13th Street. They act as if before the docking station there was open curbside space which is absurd. Before the bikeshare docks, there were cars parked non-stop along the curb in front of their building. Hence there was no ambulance access to the curb and access to the street was to be had with difficulty between the closely parked cars. Now there is a bikeshare docking station on the curb and one must go around it or between the docks, which is no more onerous than the situation it replaces.

    Why would building residents want to fight so hard to keep ugly, dirty, large, visibility-blocking cars, vans and SUVs in the curb lane in front of their building???? Bikes greatly increase visibility and openess rather than a row of motor vehicles and are much more appealing aesthetically.

    In a few months (or maybe just a few weeks!) when bikeshare is flourishing, residents on blocks without docking stations will be asking for one. Buildings without docks in front of them will be asking for docks. Neighborhoods not includes will be asking to be included. Will all the buildings that are currently suing to have their docking stations removed just slink away with their tail between their legs? Maybe just when these buildings realize the benefits of the docking stations and start clamoring to keep them, their docking stations should be relocated.

  • Short answer: because many of them own the very same cars that previously lined the curb in front of their building.

  • Daphna

    Some people read the Post and think that it is valid news. Doesn’t the Post have some ethical responsibility to fact check? Don’t the Post reporters and editors have an obligation to report fact rather than false claims made by biased individuals? Don’t they have some duty to actually report? Can they be in trouble for failing to seek the truth and printing what they must have known was very biased? What they are doing is not reporting. Spokesmen for the FDNY, Frank Gribbon and Frank Dwyer both said there were no problems with this call.

    I think the residents of 175 West 13th Street had better bet smart and rebel against what their vice-president Dave Marcus is doing. Having a docking station in front increases their value both by being on a hub of a transportation system, and by being a more attractive aesthetic than parked cars. They should be grateful a docking station is on the curb lane outside their building.

  • ADN

    Lucking into a free parking spot right in front of your own building is, for people like this, pretty much the highlight of your year. You cherish that. And now it’s been taken away.

  • Free ride

    Yes bikes should be given all the same rights as cars and then more. You pay nothing into the pot for your MORE THEn GENEROUS share of the road. You carry no insurance, no registration, no license plates and can travel at any speed you want. You don’t care about traffic laws, pedestrians or manners. Keep blogging away about your “given right” to the street that my “bulky ugly car” pays for though my huge taxes/fees/tolls. I own a bike and for years people were ticketed for not wearing helmet why now doesn’t it matter because its a city bike? Why were so many parking spaces marked “no parking” but now suddenly it’s ok for these huge machines to stay there. We are a city of laws and we are a city that ALL should contribute to our resources. You don’t get a free ride just because you use a bike. After all, if we all got rid of our cars who would pay for the bikes?

  • anon

    I’m in favor of Bike Share and I already ride in the City, commuting from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back. However, I do agree that the dock stations should not be placed directly in front of building entrances when there are viable nearby alternatives. It’s impossible to get out of cab late at night or with packages and walk through the dock filled with bikes. At least with parked cars you can most of the time slip through them. Just sayin’…

  • Free ride

    I guess they live looking at those ugly bike racks. Stop riding your bike and sitting in the pedestrian parks on 42nd. Then maybe you can buy a car because you will have a job. BRAVO NY POST.

    PS I think it’s amazing that most of you probably sat in Z Park in protest of Citibank and now are their chief defenders. I guess you have no issue with a bailed out bank paying for bikes with taxpayer funds? Oh how times have changed.

  • Free ride

    Cars pay into the system. We should be able to park. How much money do you pay into the system for your share of road?

  • Anonymous

    Uh, city streets are paid for by the same taxes we all pay. And your licensing, etc.? Those fees barely pay for themselves. They certainly don’t come close to paying for the unpriced externalities that come with motor vehicle travel.

    Any other baseless claims you got up your sleeve? (I mean, aside from the comical hippie punching you try downthread.)

  • Free Ride

    Why do you compare bikes to cars? In what way are they similar? Can they bring food from the ports? Transport multiple people great distances? Do bikes help support the employment of thousands of New Yorkers? Do you pay taxes on gas? Pay for parking? Do you have a test to get a license before you hit the public roads? The answer is you do nothing but ride yourself, for yourself and you pay zero. Bikers= the most selfish people in the city!!!

  • Free ride

    You made no valid point. Lets say for a moment you are correct and my fees and my gas tax and tolls doesn’t cover the costs. What fees do you pay? What is your validation for such hostility toward car owners when you PAY ZERO. Call my 500 per month garage spot that employes garage men and subsidizes housing costs nothing. Call my gas tax that employs gas attendants and station owners call that nothing too. Call my tolls that DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE UPKEEP OF ROADS (paid for your lanes). Call that nothing too. I ask again…. WHAT DO YOU AS ABIKE OWNER PAY. WE ALL PAY TAXES. Well maybe not on this site, but we all pay taxes. Try to side step my question but, in the end even you can figure it out. You contribute ZERO. Thank goodness for the NY POST. By the way I am sure they will be covering a story entitled “baby hit by bike”. Just you wait… I hope you wear your helmet.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a shame that you’re so angry and misinformed.

    I hope you have a cardiologist.

  • Anonymous

    @dporpentine :
    It’s amazing how bikes make people so angry. I remember I took my bike on the train during rush hour. I squeezed in at the end of a train. And oh man, this one guy was furious at me . . . like I robbed someone or something. Like I was some free-loading garbage.

    Anyway, with bike share, I wouldn’t have had to take my bike on the train that day. So that’ll be one less potential conflict.

  • Anonymous

    Taxpayers, not drivers, cover most of the costs. Drivers pay nowhere near what they cost of the damage they do. In fact, they don’t cover the cost of the roads alone. Then add in the other negative effects like costs of deaths and injuries, public health consequences from obesity, diabetes, etc., and the environmental damage of all the pollution.

    But here’s just the start on road spending:

  • Anonymous

    A) You and I pay the same for the city roads. End of story. This is not a matter of perspective.
    B) You destroy those roads much more rapidly than I do, bringing on constant road repair costs that suck up massive amounts of city funds.

    C) You take up on-street parking spaces that you don’t come close to paying the value of. (You don’t park only in your garage–you park on the street, if only temporarily, while, say, shopping.)
    D) You burn fuel that causes immediate health problems in an already congested city, as well as longer range problems brought on by environmental destruction. So there are massive, massive health care costs brought on by the constant burning of fuels–and you don’t come anywhere close to paying for that.
    E) Your tolls are cute, and when I use those roads, I pay them too.

    F) That’s great that you pay for a garage. I’ll give you that much.

  • Taxpayer

    If I own a car and I bike, where do I fall on your outrage-o-meter?

  • Anonymous

    It’s almost funny: people who ride bikes (which do practically nothing to the world around them and which most of the time are stored at the private expense of individuals) are the freeloaders, whereas the people who driver cars–why, is there any species on earth so giving?

  • Joe R.

    We all pay taxes, part of which goes to pay for the roads. That more than covers the expenses the city incurs for cyclists. As for your car expenses creating employment, don’t people who have bikes create jobs for those who own bike shops? Besides that, not all business is sacrosanct. If a business creates negative externalities which cost more than the taxes that business pays, we’re all better off if that business just dies.

    Oh, and toll roads are invariably limited access highways which bicycles aren’t allowed on, so your tolls contribute zip to cyclists.

  • Clarke

    And “entitlement” has been sufficiently embodied. We must all bow down and kiss thy feet!

  • Joe R.

    OK, start by paying for your on-street parking at the same rate that local businesses pay to rent stores and then maybe I’ll say you’re paying your fair share. That’s how valuable the real estate is. You have no right to free parking and never did. The city gave you the privilege to park, and it can take that privilege away at any time, for any reason, if it feels there are better uses for curbside space.

    Cars pay into the system? Most of what people pay for cars are expenses directly related to owning the car, like gas, repairs, insurance. That’s like me saying I spent x dollars on my bike last year, so I’m entitled to free on-street space. You only get whatever space the city is willing to give you. Thankfully we’re reallocating the streets in favor of the 95% in Manhattan who don’t drive.

  • Joe R.

    I guess you’re still upset your parents never bought you that shiny new Schwinn when you were a kid. Don’t worry, you can always buy a bike now and enjoy riding along with everyone else. You posts just prove the point that a lot of drivers are miserable because they’re slaves to their cars. Here’s a little piece of advice-this is NYC. You can get by just fine without a car here. If you don’t want to ride a bike, we have an excellent mass transit system. Ditch the car because it seems like it’s making you a raging lunatic who can’t separate fact from fiction.

  • Anonymous

    “Thank goodness for the NY POST.”

    Of course! Your comments are spoken like a true NY Post reader: horribly misinformed.

  • Anonymous

    “Paying for bikes with taxpayer funds?” Wow, you really haven’t bothered to learn anything about bike share before going onto the Internet and spouting off about it like a madman, have you?

    Citi provided the funds for the bike share program. Alta, the operators of the system, will split the revenue with the city. The city paid no up-front costs for bike share, and will actually collect revenue from it.

    Sorry to rain on your little crazy parade.

  • Anonymous

    When it comes to city streets, it’s the same amount as you do. City streets are maintained by the NYCDOT, which is primarily funded by city sales, income, and property tax revenue (gas taxes are collected at the state and Federal level). Everyone pays those, so we’re all entitled to a share of the road – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians.

    Gas taxes only cover a portion of Interstate highway construction, so cyclists and pedestrians pay for those, too. But we don’t go onto website comments and rant like a madmen about how we don’t have access to Interstate Highways even though we “pay into the system.” You’re the only one who sounds entitled.

  • Mike

    Quit making up facts — people were never ticketed for not wearing a helmet, as it’s never been illegal. Now please take your car back to the flyover state that you came from.

  • The clear solution is for the people in the building to join bike share. Then they’ll always have a spot right out front.

  • pwbnyc

    Gas tax and tolls ultimately are insufficient to cover the costs of road construction and repairs which are very much more attributable to motor vehicles measured in thousands of pounds than to bikes, so really you are not in a position to claim some sort of superiority when all of our taxes have to help subsidize your vehicle travel. Further there are valid policy reasons to favor increasing bicycle travel over the use of motor vehicles (see below) so there is a logical basis to not raise cost barriers to bicycle users in order to support those goals.

    As for what do bicyclists contribute? Leaving the improved health benefits, reduced medical care, and positive environmental impacts aside (some of those policy considerations I mentioned and all of which are deleterious consequences of motor vehicle use with attendant financial and societal costs), we help sustain our own set of industries and their employees: bicycle manufacturers; bike and repair shops; accessory makers – lights, pumps, locks, gear, clothes, etc.. Further, the evidence is clear that everywhere bike infrastructure is installed/improved, local business benefits because people on bicycles go slower, see the shops and stop more frequently to make purchases than people moving cars from parking space to parking space. Oh and then there are innumerable charity rides many bicyclists participate in that raise millions and millions of dollars. In any event, my real point is that your “free loader” argument is just silly and ignorant. Just because you cannot see the tangible benefits to society of bicycles as a mode of transportation doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

    Ultimately, the thing that amazes me is that people such as yourself are becoming incensed because we are looking to expand bike infrastructure just a little bit. No one is suggesting banning cars (I have one and share it between 3 families), we are simply seeking something that is more equitable. And by “equitable” we aren’t even advocating “equal.” Only 1% of parking spaces have been lost to docks yet people such as yourself are reacting like its an invasion. Only 25% of Manhattan residents even own cars, yet they still get 99% of the public road space. Is it really so horrible to allocate 1% or even 3% of space to support a means of transportation that is healthier, cleaner, takes up less space on the roads and has proven economic benefits?

    Then there is the practical issue that bike haters simply cannot seem to grasp. There is no more room for added road real estate. Pretty much everything that can be paved has been paved. However, the population keeps increasing. So how can you move more people through the same road space? The answer is to condense the size of the traffic. There are two ways to do that: push people to mass transit and put those who can on bicycles. To support both of those needed strategies we need people to leave their cars behind. Hopefully people will do this simply because they realize it is necessary to do so. But if a few fewer parking spaces, and some avenues with one less travel lane helps the process, that is all to the good.

  • Ian Turner
  • Anonymous

    He’s saying that Citibank was bailed out with Taxpayer funds, thus, the taxpayer is paying for this. Talk about convoluted.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, I see that now. Although that’s funny – it has the unintended consequence of suggesting that taxpayers are paying for a public program that in a perfect world, they should be paying for.

  • Mark Walker

    As Mae West used to say, “goodness had nothing to do with it.”

  • Daphna

    Thank you pwbnyc for this well written statement. I like it when someone else writes what I had been thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s hoping that the concerns for the safety of citi bikers, hastens the implementation of dedicated bike lanes on fifth and sixth avenue. It’s way over due.

  • Please learn how our roads are financed before suggesting non-drivers pay zero.

  • Boris

    “my gas tax that employs gas attendants and station owners call that nothing too”

    Are you saying gas station attendants get paid from public funds, despite the obscene profits of the oil companies that employ them? That’s a new one.

  • Anonymous

    A discussion of whether to keep curbs in front of building entrances clear is a good one to have. The problem with these lawsuits is that they occurred only to block BikeShare, and not to block the line of parked cars. And as for squeezing past parked cars, it is often very difficult. I just have the cab drop me at the corner.

  • dontyousee

    Old photo!! That photo is an old photo, before they took away parking on that side of the street. Your point there, does not make sense.

  • Your revise for this account can be priceless–except insofar as it really helps to end this worse compared to careless litigation, in which particular case that almost certainly has a clear price. Rent a car Pakistan

  • Anonymous

    The Share hasn’t even begun yet and the detractors are already complaining about “full” bike racks. The system is designed to have more rack space than total bikes available. The only way those racks will be constantly filled will be if there is a constant demand by users to get to that area which would also raise the question of who’s rights are more important – the co-op’s demand for public curb access or their neighbor’s demand for better transportation options?

  • I would love to have bike share in front of my building, whose entrance is usually blocked with parked cars in spite of it being a no parking zone. How’s that? Well we have some special people in this city, a few hundred thousand, and they have special pieces of paper to place on their car dashboards, and this allows them to park wherever they want. In Downtown Brooklyn where I live, most of the street parking I see is special.

    So I have no interest in typical no parking zones that function as a perk for special people and many of which seem to have been assigned with that intent, but hope for ever more useful infrastructure like bike share stations that physically prevent special people from parking on every inch of public property.

    As far as a bike share station being easier or harder to negotiate than parked cars, who knows? The stations won’t be 100% full. How they compare when in use to the many other obstructions pedestrians face and some of which they replace, we’ll just have to see.

  • Clarke

    Wait until the articles about how bike share is a failure because there are always empty slots. “Did they even order enough bikes?”


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