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‘CitiBike’ rolls out, and Brooklyn Heights continues its fight

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The bikes will finally hit the streets today, and already Brooklyn Heights condo owners have declared the so-called “CitiBike” program a disaster.

The plan to bring rental bicycles to city streets and sidewalks in Brownstone Brooklyn is being met with a collective scream from residents who are filing lawsuits, crying injustice, and, in some cases, vandalizing the Citibank-sponsored parking bays that some say are a danger to the public.

“The whole thing is just ridiculous,” said Keith Klein, a resident of 140 Cadman Plaza West, which had racks placed outside its front entrance. “In this particular part of Brooklyn Heights, there are so many parts that would have made more sense.”

Klein wondered why the bikes couldn’t have been placed in Cadman Plaza Park, away from the residence. In mid-May, the building met with a representative of Councilman Steve Levin to complain about the issue, asking why they hadn’t been consulted about the rack placement, even though he claimed residents had been promised they would be kept in the loop.

“We were told that there was extensive community outreach prior to placement of each CitiBike station,” he said in an e-mail. “Fact is, not one person on our Board of Directors or any staff member of our building or building’s management company knew anything about this until the day the racks appeared.”

That seems to have been the city’s mode of operation. Our sister publication, the New York Post, reported this week that the city told community boards not to hold a vote on the CitiBike installations.

To keep the insults rolling, Klein said that the installation wasn’t just unsightly — it was dangerous.

“Our argument about the placement of this installation is that it blocks access to the main door of the building, not just from a cab when you have luggage, or your car when you are unloading shopping bags, but it also blocks access for emergency vehicles,” he said. “This is a critical situation and rather shocking that no one thought it through. It is now necessary to walk all the way to the corner to get through.”

Those who live in Cadman Plaza West aren’t the only Brooklyn Heights residents upset with where the city put the racks.

Residents of 150 Joralemon St., have sued the city over the racks’ placement there, claiming they get in the way during garbage collection.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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Reader Feedback

Jay from Heights says:
Can't wait for these same people to say what a wonderful ammenity this is...just you wait...
May 27, 2013, 5:58 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Whhhhhhaaaa, I want to get my way!

In 6 months these jokers will be singing another tune.
May 27, 2013, 6:43 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
All you need to know about this piece.. ". Our sister publication, the New York Post"..

Of course, Jaime Lutz gets no quotes from the FDNY - because they've said there's no public safety issue.

Pathetic.
May 27, 2013, 7:35 am
Sto from Brooklyn says:
This paper is useless.
May 27, 2013, 7:38 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Right, because storage of public automobiles is the only valid use of public space.
May 27, 2013, 8:32 am
ty from pps says:
Continue to spread the lies of the NY Post. So, a row of bikes blocks the entrance, but a row of cars are magically porous?

It would be awesome if (a) these NIMBYs would actually make rational arguments and (b) the NY Post would stop lying and 'conveniently' omitting basic fact like statements by the FDNY commissioner etc.
May 27, 2013, 9:33 am
Mike says:
"Our sister publication, the New York Post": that says it all.

These people are complete idiots. It's WAY easier to get through a bike-share station on foot than it is to get across parked cars.
May 27, 2013, 11:43 am
Dimitry from Carroll Gardens says:
These NIMBYs are a joke. They would rather have cars idling in front of their building then having a bike rack?! None of this makes sense. Get used to it, curmudgeons, the bikes are here to stay.
May 27, 2013, 11:56 am
SUV from Stay Out Of My Way says:
Another bike article and the same north Brooklyn pussies who apparently hate this paper feel compelled to read the article and comment on it. Shut up, ride your bikes and for your health, stay out of my way!
May 27, 2013, 1:49 pm
JAY from NYC says:
so its memorial day and this is what the Brooklyn paper reports on? They could have talked about the on-going issues with the war memorial in cadman park, and instead decided to report that people are mad that the new bike racks did not go there..
Brooklyn paper, you would not exist were it not for those who gave up their lives to defend the first amendment and on memorial day, you do NOTHING to remember them. Pathetic.
May 27, 2013, 3:37 pm
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
pro or con I don't think anybody knows how this will turn out. Yes it works in other places, but NYC really is not like other places. Even the most ardent supporter will recognize that there are going to be teething problems. balance and distribution, how long you can take a bike out for, is it priced right, once the tourists get on will the cause more harm than good, disappearing bikes, vandalism, lawsuits technical glitches. The press will be crowing about all of these things. This is a grand experiment and anybody that thinks they know if this will be all over the 5 boroughs or just hanging on next year is dreaming. One thing for sure, the expansion or contraction will be decided by people not yet elected or appointed. This is going to play out and the worst information will come from the press
May 27, 2013, 4:27 pm
ty from pps says:
Wow... I really hate the weird feeling I get when I agree with Swampy. I feel dirty. :-p

The "best" part about this program will be the quotes the NY Post and its "sister publications" will continue to recycle... uninformed NIMBYs whining about "taxpayer dollars" when the city is not paying for it, but will receive a cut of the revenue... continued whining about the aesthetics and conflict with the "historic context" because apparently a 2006 Nissan Sentra is approved by the LPC? ... we'll also get to hear continually about the "near misses" while the people actually crushed by cars is just part of life in the city...

All that said, Swampy is (uggh) right. This is a huge experiment. I don't agree with the premise that NYC is really all that different from other places, but this program is new. The next two to four months will be a little bumpy, but just like everything else (Times Sq Plaza, Prospect Park West Bike Lane, a new traffic light, or whatever) the vast majority of folks will soon not remember what it was like before.
May 27, 2013, 4:50 pm
Teresa from Greenpoint says:
Ty and Swamp Yankee agree? It's a Memorial Day miracle!
May 27, 2013, 4:54 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Keep in mind that both Janette Sadik-Khan and Mayor Bloomberg will both be gone in the fall. By that time nobody cares much about bike issues. A new mayor is going to have different commissioners (all serving ones must submit their resignations) and will certainly have new priorities. Bike share will not be high on the list. If the program has been successful and economically self sufficient expansion might be considered, if it is rife with controversy and technical problems it will be challenged. Who knows, it might even be a campaign issue
May 27, 2013, 5:27 pm
Tom from sunset park says:
Mr. Klein has very powerful reasoning in his argument: You didn't ask.
May 27, 2013, 9:13 pm
Chooch-buster from Park Slope says:
Chalk another one up for hipster innovation!
May 27, 2013, 10:01 pm
Manposeur from Brokeland says:
Screw the NIMBYS. The bike shares don't harm anyone. The city and its people are deserving of nice things.
May 27, 2013, 10:43 pm
ty from pps says:
Yeah, Tom... Mr Klein, the one who claimed it took an HOUR to put an old man in an ambulance... umm... "because of" the bike rack in front of his building. So effing ridiculous. BTW, only the NY Post and this "sister" publication is continuing to repeat this lie. All emergency personnel stated that the bike racks are in NO WAY a hindrance. I mean, come on, the park cars were magically invisible during emergencies?

And why should the bikes be placed on the other side of a very busy 4-lane street? The side with no clear destination... these are PART OF THE TRANSPORTATION infrastructure.
May 27, 2013, 11:14 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
Good comments from swampyankee. The only thing I can add is that bikeshare is a great advertising scheme for Citibank, and that alone should make it economically self sufficient. If Citibank is happy with bikeshare, the next generation of politicians will be too.
May 28, 2013, 1:37 am
BronxGuy from East Bronx says:
More bikes = less cars on the road ( pollution and collisions) and less people utilizing mass transit. Bicyclists benefit from quicker commute times, filled transit gaps, and health benefits.

What is the issue here? This is NYC, not some xenophobic suburb. This is great for NYC.

Like elsewhere, the vocal minority will b*tch and moan at first. I noticed quite a few people using it yesterday and I signed up for an annual. It's a much cheaper way to connect those inconvenient subway rides rather then taking a cab.
May 28, 2013, 5:36 am
Kelly from Park Slope says:
I'm glad to see The Brooklyn Paper is finally writing about this issue. Given your long history of fighting the city and developers on behalf of Brownstone Brooklynites, I was expecting an earlier and more thorough reporting job. No mention of the parking spaces that were ceded to the bikes, or the other legitimate concerns of people in DUMBO, Williamsburg and the Heights.

It seems there were no real opportunities for public discussion or feedback. Where was the story then, weeks ago, when these racks were unveiled? And what

Not so long ago, you would've had screaming banner headlines on this week after week. No public input on location of the racks?? Secret plans being made under our noses? Safety issues?

You guys are going soft.
May 28, 2013, 1:58 pm
Jim from Park Slope says:
Kelly -
Wake UP!!!!

There were hundreds of public meetings about bike share locations. Just because you are too lazy to attend one does not mean that they did not happen.
May 28, 2013, 2:34 pm
Born in Brooklyn from Carroll Gardens says:
I guess Hipsters can't afford to buy a bike because they buy a$5 Latte everyday!! I forgot they were not born in Brooklyn.... They only think of themselves. How come I can't park my bike in the street but Citibank can????Why can't Citibank buy the F train to make it better??
May 28, 2013, 4:02 pm
ty from pps says:
Born in Brooklyn --
Actually, the DOT has been installing bike corrals on the street in areas that benefit from the bike traffic and/or already have considerable bike traffic. You may have seen many of your "born in Brooklyn" compatriots whining about this many times on this very website. (ya know, corrals that hold 8 bikes per one car parking spot.... high turn-over bike parking for vistors at local businesses vs. long-term storage of a single car)

So, you *can* park your bike in the street if the community (board) and DOT supports it.
May 28, 2013, 5:44 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It wasn't that they opposed the bike share program as a whole, it more about the way it was being implemented. Most of the locations were either placed in narrow streets or taking about spaces in small parks. Also, I never got why the racks have to take up almost an entire block when those in other cities are only half as long. Another thing is that those European cities some of you bike zealots praise so much at least have wide boulevards, which is something that NYC doesn't have for the most part, which is why there was a concern about where the racks were going. Seriously, I do suggest looking for the causes of the opposition rather than the effects not to mention making personal attacks on those who just happen to disagree with you, which I find to be very childish.
May 28, 2013, 7 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You are WRONG WRONG WRONG. Everything... EVERYTHING... you just typed is misinformed, ignorant... and well, stupid.
May 28, 2013, 7:34 pm
ty from pps says:
"Most of the locations were either placed in narrow streets or taking about spaces in small parks." -- NOT TRUE.

"Also, I never got why the racks have to take up almost an entire block when those in other cities are only half as long." -- THEY DON'T

"that those European cities some of you bike zealots praise so much at least have wide boulevards" -- Umm? London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Barcelone... they have wide boulevards? WRONG

"which is why there was a concern about where the racks were going" -- WRONG

"Seriously, I do suggest looking for the causes of the opposition rather than the effects" -- OK. The causes are not what you think they are... but OK.
May 28, 2013, 7:38 pm
BronxGuy from East Bronx says:
Over 12,000 rides in the first 24 hours (Kicked off at 11 AM Monday). Already broke (smashed) the old US record held by Capital Bike Share in DC. When you consider only the founding members (Around 7,000 people) can ride this week, it's especially significant. There's now over 20,000 annual members, and that doesn't count potential day passes.

Bike share is definitely here to stay. It'll be citywide soon enough.
May 29, 2013, 3:51 am
Holly from Greenpoint says:
To, ty
you need to chill-out. Why so angry?
May 29, 2013, 2:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Holly, the reason he is like this is because he always likes to dish criticism, but just can't take it. One thing I can never understand is why are the bike zealots always so defensive on their position. Every time I ask a very serious question, they do tend to get very defensive on it rather than giving an actual answer not to mention resorting to name calling and other personal attacks. The main reason for the opposition is because of the fact that most cyclists hardly ever follow the traffic laws, which is what will be expected in this program. BTW, the amount of time for the use of these bicycles are mostly for short rides, and there was an article in the NY Post on saying how many times some had to keep making stops at different racks to change bicycles for a trip that would normally involve just one if owned. Another thing is that I have been to a number of those European cities, and I have seen the wide boulevards there as well as the rest of their grids so I know what they are like. As for the claim of them taking of space in certain parks, just ask what the people of SoHo think about it, and you will see that I am not joking on that, but on bike zealot websites such as Streetsblog, they will get vilified just for not seeing things through their eyes only.
May 29, 2013, 5:38 pm
ty from pps says:
Holly -- ^^ that's why ^^

And Tal, "BTW, the amount of time for the use of these bicycles are mostly for short rides" THAT'S THE F*CKING PURPOSE OF THE BIKE SHARE PROGRAM!! It's not to ride a bike for 5 hours. It's the make short trips and the "last mile" of journeys with a mix of transit. Oh God you are soooooo f*cking annoyingly ignorant.

And Wide Boulevards like Manhattan Avenues!?! Not all of Paris is boulevards... nor is Manhattan! You are so dense. It's unreal.
May 29, 2013, 6:08 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
I think ty is retarded oops I mean autistic but functional . the racks are an eye sore and block cars and trucks - yeah EVILE CARDS ADN TRUCKS - get over you candy ass barney I love you cra
yola crap
May 29, 2013, 9:41 pm
ty from pps says:
They block cars and trucks? They do?! Do you have any "facts" based on reality?
May 29, 2013, 10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It seems that everyday, I keep hearing flaws in this program on all the major NYC papers. However, the bike zealots, especially those on Streetsblog, try everything they can to deny those problems. Some go to great lengths to attack those who even made the articles, which is a major hit below the belt here. Seriously, I don't see why to pay so much just for short trips when bicycle, which may cost more, can do everything in one trip for free. In the end, NYC just isn't a city made for riding bicycles especially when it's population is far more and more densely populated than all of the cities the bike zealots keep on rambling about.
May 31, 2013, 3:27 pm

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