Tell CB 6 and Mayor de Blasio That Bike-Share Belongs on Brooklyn Streets
— Michael Pick (@mikepick) September 18, 2016
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.