Citi Bike Share Program: CB2 Member Claims DOT Told It Not To Vote Yea Or Nay

The wheels just keep spinning on the controversial Citi Bike Share program. Today’s New York Post reports that The Department of Transportation told Brooklyn Community Board 2 not to hold an up-or-down vote on the bike-share proposal—and “did not do enough to engage the public” about where the racks would be located, a board employee has charged.

“We were instructed that they did not want us to vote on bike share. To me, that seems to indicate a bunker mentality,” says Robert Perris, district manager of the board, who told the Post that the Department has asked for a vote on nearly every other issue under its purview. “The DOT brings a lot of initiatives to our board—bike lanes, bike corrals, modifications to the traffic pattern, pedestrian plazas. In almost every single case, we’re asked to take a position.”

Perris says DOT explicitly asked CB2 not to vote on the bike-share program. He insists the Department “did not do enough to engage the public” about where 300 bike racks would be located citywide.

The agency’s presentation to the board last spring was attended by only 30 people, he adds, saying that most of the outreach was targeted toward cyclists, not property owners. By the time the Department reached out to the board this spring, maps for rack locations were already drawn.

A Department spokesman called Perris’ claim false, saying the agency held 400 meetings with the public and elected officials.

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  • Seeming Paradox

    Who says cyclists aren’t property owners? I’m both.

  • http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com Doug G.

    No community boards anywhere in the city held up or down votes on bike share, just as no community board would hold an up or down vote if the MTA built a new subway system with dozens of stations. In most cases, Community Boards are advisory only and DOT comes to them many times as a courtesy, more so than almost any other agency. Some “bunker mentality” that is, huh?

    Perris mischaracterizes bike share as merely a bike program. While it’s true that it involves bikes, it’s actually a transit program. If every CB got an up or down vote, it would probably never get off the ground due to the pro-driving types who make up so much of the typical board. You can’t run a city that way.

    The fact is that it’s CB2 that didn’t do enough to promote its own meetings where DOT attended to make bike share presentations, among other business. Perris can blame DOT, but it’s the local CBs also have the responsibility to get the word out to business owners and residents about its meetings. Did Perris go door to door?

    I attended one of the presentations, and far more than 30 people showed up. A fair number of people spoke against bike share stations in the Heights, so Perris’ claim that everything was geared toward cyclists is false. A number of building owners explicitly objected to stations in front of their homes. It was one of the focuses of the entire meeting.

    Only about 10 people showed up to the same meeting to discuss sidewalk seating at a cafe in BH. Is that a failure to notify the community, too? Who bears that responsibility?

    Perris is a nice guy and does a lot of safe streets, but he’s not being completely honest here.

  • petercow

    The meeting I attended, which was held in the auditorium at St. Francis on Remsen, was -very- heavily attended.

    DOT took questions, comments, and as result of it, some locations were changed.

    Everyone who wanted to speak, could. At no time during that meeting, do I recall any complaint about the lack of input by the CB.

  • Joe Enoch

    Do you think the DOT asked CBs along 2nd Ave to take a vote? The meetings weren’t held to vote for or against the bike share. They were held to find out where would be the best places to place the racks. Even if the CB had corralled all the NIMBYs it could and voted it down, it would still happen. It’s a moot point to vote on it.

  • http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com Doug G.

    And for what it’s worth, the Post has zero credibility on bike issues.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/05/21/fdny-commissioner-salvatore-cassano-bike-share-racks-are-not-in-our-way/

  • Joe Enoch

    Ha. I just basically posted the same thing above. Glad I’m not the only one who takes the time to understand the process before penning an article.

  • Wilbur MacKenzie

    No one said they weren’t.

  • Wilbur MacKenzie

    This is worse than Watergate.

  • Gary Reilly

    Three things.

    One, I’m on the CB6 Transportation committee, and we sometimes have informational presentations from DOT that do not involve votes.

    Two – Cobble Hill is in CB6.

    Three – I’m looking forward to bike share!

  • Joe A

    Yeah and another NY Post article claimed that the bike share racks had delayed getting medical assistance to a resident. Oh that sounds so bad right? Expect it was completely bogus as the below statement from Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano demonstrates:

    Contrary to a news report today, FDNY EMT’s had absolutely no problems responding to and providing medical care to a patient on Sunday on West 13th Street in Manhattan. The FDNY has been working closely with DOT on this initiative and we have not experienced any problems nor do we anticipate issues operating at or near bike racks that have been situated on city streets.

    I would take any NY Post story about the bike share program with a grain of salt.

  • BP

    Like it or not, Citibike is here to stay. In life you have to pick your battles and this does not seem to be worth fighting against. In the future, CB’s can best be used to advocate for station re-locations based on non-NIMBY justifications.

  • Reggie

    I don’t think Perris is speaking for himself here. He uses the first person plural in his quotes. I think he is expressing the opinion of CB2.

    Also, while you are correct that the Post has “zero credibility on bike issues,” streetsblog is hardly a model of objectivity either.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    The New York Post is a dishrag. I hardly believe anything they have to say.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Amazing! Just as the comments on one Bike Share thread start to wane another one pops up.

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, if only people got this worked up over *real* problems in NYC — dysfunctional public schools, income inequality, poverty, bias crimes. Bike racks are really harmless by comparison.

    And as Joe A. said, the NY Post is hardly a credible source on this issue. They’ve made no secret of their dislike for bikes (for whatever reason) and I question their basic interpretation of this community board issue.

  • Pedestrianite

    Streetsblog was quoting the FDNY commissioner. I’d take his word over the Post’s or Perris’ any day.

  • syeah

    I hear that there are going to be fireworks to kick off the citibike program. And a free concert in the park! Bringing in RIFFRAFF THROUGH THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE!

    Brooklyn Heights: New York’s NIMBY Neighborhood.

  • Steve Stollman

    One day last week the NY Post had 20 pages of car ads. Next case………

  • Reggie

    It is well documented that most people get their news from sources that reflect what the reader already believes.

  • DrewBurch

    I thought the exact same thing, and then I clicked on it and help bump up the page views, sigh. I suspect they will keep milking this topic for page views for a long time.

  • Hicks on Hicks

    The blog post states “most of the outreach was targeted toward cyclists, not property owners”

  • Hicks on Hicks

    What role should a city play in income inequality?

  • Wiley E

    Let’s charge a toll on the Pedestrian Bridge to cover the costs for BBP maintenance. And what should we name this new swinging bridge?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton
  • yoohoo

    Yes, DOT held many public meetings but not as part of the community board consultation process. In their enthusiasm for the bike-share program, participants of the meetings held in Brooklyn’s CB2 district blanketed the map with favored locations, which were greatly reduced in number. The final list of docking stations was presented to CB2 as a fait accompli.

  • Wiley E

    That is a lot to swallow, my friend.

  • bialy

    Did pee wee herman design those bikes ? were they stored in the basement of the Alamo all these years? Ride them to BBP park and push them all in the river.

  • petercow

    I have no idea what you’re saying here. That said, I would wager that many more people attended the DOT presos than attend a community board meeting.

  • willowtowncop

    Not advocating vandalism or anything, but my objection to the bikes is the Citibank ads that are now all over every neighborhood. It would be a real shame if the ads were covered up with stickers or something … Too bad it would be nearly impossible to prove who did it …

  • Wiley E

    $hiti Bank.