NYC Council Member Letitia James: Bike-Share… Get Used To It

Despite mounting disdain in Brooklyn Heights—and throughout the borough—Citi bike-share is here to stay. At a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in Fort Greene that the New York Times deemed “raucous,” NYC Council Member Letitia James—who helped formulate the program with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg—told 100+ neighborhood residents, “The public streets belong to all of us. We have to learn to get along.”

Not good enough, according to area residents—including kiosks stickered with signs of protest in Fort Greene saying, “Landmark residential blocks are not for sale!” The Times quotes Fort Greene resident Dr. Noreen Hosier at the meet: “We pay a landscaper to maintain our property. They can no longer get to them. You talked about meetings held for locations? We never received anything.”

Others complained about sanitation issues, safety of bikers backing into the street and previously, that the bike stands don’t fit in with the historic tenor of Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods. Regarding a loss of parking spaces because of the bike-share stations, James had no sympathy, claiming the BQE and Flatbush Avenue have fostered “one of the highest asthma rates in the city. We have to do our part to address global warming.”

Citi Bike docking stations have been installed by the Department of Transportation in the Heights, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, so far, in preparation for the citywide bike-share program next month. In Brooklyn Heights, stands are now at the corner of Remsen & Hicks, Clinton & Joralemon and Clark & Henry (outside of the Hotel St. George), with locations coming to Clark & Montague and Borough Hall. Users can rent bikes by the ride, day or week.

Citibank and Mastercard sponsors the New York program, modeled after similar systems in Washington, London, Paris and Madrid.

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  • Steve

    If you have a 21st Century model car parked on these 19th Century streets and not, say, a horse and buggy I’m not sure you can complain about historic aesthetics.

    In a city of 8,000,000 the idea that every single person has to be contacted individually is preposterous.

  • Sam

    I agree. I think everyone needs to relax and realize that encouraging people to get outside and be active is good for society.

  • Jorale-man

    I also agree. And what about 21st century mailboxes, street signs, garbage cans? Of course, the architecture is the crown jewel of Brownstone neighborhoods that shouldn’t be tampered with, but infrastructure needs are another story.

    I’m also starting to feel like the BHB is stirring up controversy where it doesn’t really exist. Who says there’s “mounting disdain” in the Heights? It could be a few very vocal cranks who are attempting to highjack public discussion on this issue.

  • Arch Stanton

    Humm, The BHB is being its own troll, brilliant.

  • T

    “You talked about meetings held for locations? We never received anything.”

    Why are these people, who all claim to be longtime community members, unable to sign up for email notices from their community boards or at least check the calendar now and then? That’s how I heard about the meetings I went to!”

    You should look up how Citi Bike works. No one really rents “by the ride.” You get a pass or membership which is good for a lot of rides during one day, one week, or one year. There’s a time limit per ride, but it’s good for someone making a lot of short A-to-B trips.

  • Monty

    I was 100% behind this program until I realized that people’s landscapers would have trouble getting to yards. That’s just too high of a price for anyone to pay. Also, I’m having trouble crossing the road at my leisure and would like the Mayor to ban all automobile traffic in the 5 boroughs. Thanks.

  • Livingston

    Queen Letitia has spoken… the rest of us can just move along now.

  • hicks st guy

    I like this Leticia James, but doesn’t she know,
    whatever it is, the BH cranks, it seems, are against it.

  • Ann B Chapin

    Clark and Montague are not streets that cross each other?? We have stands in front of Chase at Clinton and Montague now.

  • A.Bloke

    I wonder if they will still work in a power cut? Did anyone notice if the stations are solar powered?

  • Arch Stanton

    Good question, I don’t think they are hardwired to the power grid.

  • Mike R

    I’m taking a wild guess that Letitia James does not own a car. Either that, or her special Council plates allow her to park wherever she wishes. The loss of several dozen parking spaces in the Heights means that drivers will have to cruise the neighborhood for a longer period of time in order to find a spot, if we can find one at all. What will that do to our air quality?

  • Bloomy

    They are solar powered, though I assume they have to communicate with the outside world to run credit cards. So perhaps in a power outage the cell service, or whatever they use, could be an issue.

  • Joe A

    Get rid of your car and we would all be appreciative.

  • Mike R

    That should be my choice. I should not be forced to do so by the bike-stand nazis.

  • Joe A

    You don’t have any more right to a free parking spot for your automobile than the numerous bike riders that will be serviced by that same space. Why do you think you are somehow more important than them? The parking spaces are not being taken to plant flowers they are being converted for use for alternate methods of transportation which greater numbers of NYers will utilize. I’m amazed at the self-centered nature of your complaint.

  • LISA

    Is this program sponsored by Citi Bank? If so, I think
    it would be a good idea if all the bike ‘stations’ could
    be at Citi Banks, which are usually in commercial areas
    not in residential areas.

    Also, is there a chance these ‘stations’ might disappear
    in the winter, I hope ??

  • Knight

    Seems like Ms. James doesn’t care about the honest feelings of her constituents. Not a good re-election strategy.

  • Joe A

    Yes let’s not put the bikes where people live. If you want to use a bike you’ll just have to hop onto the subway to get to them. Makes sense to me.

  • Arch Stanton

    She doesn’t care about dogmatic, narrow-minded, self-absorbed, fools. She has my vote.

  • Mike R

    You have a point, but only if NYers use these bike facilities in the numbers the city seems to be anticipating. We have three in BH alone. Time will tell. … And yes, I am a bit self-centered. We all are. It’s the law of NIMBY. C’mon, Joe, there are things you’d hit the ceiling about if they took them away from you.

  • Joe A

    If they are not used and the program is a failure then the stations will (should) be removed. If the program is successful then that space, which one or two cars would have been parked in, will now service greater numbers of residents’ transportation needs.

    We will never know till we try. Everyone should give it six months and lets evaluate the situation then.

  • Mike R

    Agreed. But the one on Clark St. looks like it’s replacing seven or eight parking spaces, not one or two.

  • neutrality in blogging

    Agree. I would also like to call bias on Chuck Taylor for the one-sided slant in his post. As any viewer of the comment section here can easily see, opinion is at least divided and probably strongly in favor of the bikes. Yet he presents the story as the dictatorial politician telling her aggrieved citizens to eat cake.

  • ab_bklyn

    The fact that there were over 5,000 annual memberships sold in THE FIRST DAY alone tells me that people are excited about using this service.

  • MonroeOrange

    BC they can put the bike racks on sidewalks or in parks where they belong. not taking up car parking. I/ve never seen a normal bike rack in the street, so it would make sense to have these in parks or on laager sidewalks, no?

  • Joe A

    Did you make your viewpoints known at one of the 400 community meetings regarding the locations of the bike stations? If not then you are a day late and a dollar short.

    Planning for the bike share system in New York City involved one of the most extensive community planning processes in the city’s history. This included 400 meetings and a website that received over 10,000 suggestions and 55,000 clicks of support for station locations.

  • Arch Stanton

    No they do not only belong on larger sidewalks and in parks. If the docking stations were restricted to those locations, there would not be enough dispersion for the program to be successful. The program is not meant to be for recreational rides it is meant for commuting.

    Visit the website, look at the map and get the picture.

  • Hicks St Guy

    mine too!

  • Hicks St Guy

    several dozen? a little high, don’t you think?