Why Stephanie Rides

Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Stephanie had just commuted from Chelsea to her job in the Time-Life Building in Midtown, where she works in magazine publishing.

“I don’t have a bike at home – my co-op actually doesn’t allow them. It’s a walk-up and there was damage to the walls from people carrying bikes up and down so the board voted to ban them from the building. My parents live a few blocks away and I have a bike at their place, but it’s too far to use regularly.

“Before Citi Bike, I only really rode around recreationally on the weekends. This is my first week biking to work. The first day I took 10th Ave up and it wasn’t so great. Then I looked at the bike map and saw that 8th Ave has a separated bike lane, and that’s what I took today. The protected lanes make a huge difference.

“So yeah, it’s been great and I don’t know why some people are so upset about it. Some New Yorkers are so resistant to change! I’ve lived here my whole life, so I still remember the uproar over the MetroCard. Overall I think people are really excited about the bike-share. On the day it launched, my parents and I rode to the East Village to have dinner. Everybody was stopping us and asking questions. One angry guy yelled at me when I was docking the bike… but I also got a few high-fives.”

  • Love that–the uproar over the MetroCard. I remember that!

  • Anonymous

    What a shitty co-op! I’d move out and make sure to knock everything everywhere I possibly could! Actually I’d sue them. Even though I know I’d loose I’d do it just for kicks.

  • Daphna

    Some co-ops do not allow dogs, some do not allow pets of any kind, her’s does not allow bikes. These policies are not smart because they cut down on the pool of potential buyers and reduce the value. Her co-op would have been smarter to re-paint the stairwell walls from time to time instead of banning bikes.

    Co-ops and condos do stupid things when it comes to bikes. All of the Sutton Place area has denied themselves bikeshare because of a few vocal anti-bike types from some local co-op boards. A station on Sutton Place between 57th and 58th St and the one on 55th between 1st Ave and Sutton Place were taken off the map at the last minute. Milan Condos at 300 East 55th St (at 2nd Ave) has been fighting the planned bikeshare dock near their building. 55th St and 2nd Avenue is one of 21 docking stations that were supposed to be among the 330 installed. It seems only 309 were installed instead of all 330. Milan Condos is dumb to reject a docking station. A bikeshare station would increase the convenience of living there and thus would increase the prices their units can command. 11 of their 119 units are up for sale and 2 are up for rental. Being on a transportation hub would increase their value, but they are fighting it.

  • carma

    okay, i can understand the bit of dogs/cats. but no bikes in buildings? you gotta be kidding me…

  • Joe R.

    Some coops consider bikes to be pets.

  • Eric McClure

    By the same token, I’m already hearing stories of apartment hunters telling brokers they want to be near a bike-share station. This is the future, and NIMBYs are fighting a losing battle.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Why not ask for a “bike room” on the ground floor? No damage to walls and much easier for residents. My friends condo in Munich Germany was built 15 years ago with one. They’ve been standard equipment in new Munich apartment buildings for two decades now!

  • nfgrfrrffff

    I can not believe how upset some people in NYC are over the bike share program. It has been successful in other cities that it has been introduced in and is not only very convenient for residents it is also convenient for visitors. As someone that travels a lot it is great to be able to join for a day and be able to grab a bike to get from one part of town to the other. In London last month I was able to get around on bike share with no problems. The only thing that the city did wrong in my opinion was moving peoples cars with out warning and then charging those people a tow few and giving them tickets for being parked where they should not have been parked.

  • James kennedy

    We have been interviewing people for this genre of bike article for tranportpvd’s women that bike section and the internal joke has been that everyone who bikes in providence is named stephanie, because by chance, 4 of the 5 interviews have been stephanies. So this article made me chuckle more than I’m sure the author intended.

  • Some people dislike the “CitiBank” branding on CitiBike (I understand that) and they are looking for a sponsor. I don’t think a kickstarter campaign could come up with the 40 million dollars that citibank provided but a campaign would show the extreme level of support there is for bike expansion– and it might draw in bigger sources.

    The kickstarter campaign would aim to raise say $500,000 to fund expansion in to areas that might get left out otherwise since they are not “glamourous” enough for big sponsors. (This is my biggest problem with the program, I don’t care about branding, they could be Monsanto-Halliburton bikes for all I care.)

    A campaign would also call attention to the issue of unequal distribution of urban amenities that can help people stay healthy, save money and just plain have fun!

    (This why why leaving public amenities to sponsors will never be fair! I know they went this route since it keeps some critics more quiet but in the end it could jeopardize the fairness of the whole system. So, after this trial proves the worth of the system I hope they move away from it.)

  • This is another reason why the network needs to be expanded to include more of the city and NOT just the places with highest rents and the most trendy restaurants. It’s just reenforcing residential segregation by income by making places that already attractive even more attractive.

  • Eric McClure

    Susan, I couldn’t agree more. 1st & 2nd Avenue lanes extended to Harlem, bike lanes in Brownsville and East New York, and other routes and bike share in neighborhoods that have been underserved are crucial to an equitable, safe, healthy city.

  • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/02/1213240/-Bike-Share-Comes-to-New-York-but-only-for-some-people

    Yay! I wrote about this on dailykos and made the community spotlight!

    Most people seem to be bike share fans there too, though there are a few who are asking about the same old stuff:

    “Won’t they get stolen?”
    “It happened overnight!”

  • Ha! I do wonder if I spend more on my two cats or on bike accessories . . . .

  • john

    Dorothy Rabinowitz (WSJ editorial board!) explains why this bike sharing program is dangerous to NYorkers, “more dangerous” than yellow cabbies.

    “Death by Bicycle”:

  • StephanieNYNY

    A bike room is a great idea! But unfortunately I’m in a very old historic building and there is no space for a bike room. We tried converting space in the basement but there are safety issues that prevent us from having bike storage. The cost to re-paint the hallway walls for all 5 flights is very expensive so we don’t do it every year. Someday I might move and this won’t be an issue, but I do love my building, even more now that I have CitiBike to use! Thanks, Stephanie

  • StephanieNYNY

    I know, it sounds crazy. But, as shareholders, we were all getting tired of the cost associated with repainting the 5 floors of hallway walls, It was insanely expensive and some residents and guests alike were not mindful, thus the damage was constant. We had to make this difficult decision to keep our costs down. It stinks, but when it is your own money, you don’t want to throw it out the window (or onto the walls). 🙁 -S.


What We Learned From the Daily News Bike Lane Debate

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