Missing wheels! City cuts out East W’burg, G’point from bike share

So, will Brooklyn benefit from the city’s ‘bike share’ plan?
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie O’Neill

Sharing pedals is going to be easy in North Brooklyn — unless you live in East Williamsburg and parts of Greenpoint.

Department of Transportation officials proposed about 300 possible bike share locations in Brooklyn, including 20 on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg alone, in a draft of its planned bicycle rental program this week.

But the city’s proposal omitted bike kiosks east of Bushwick Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard, where an estimated 30,000 of transit-starved residents live, according to 2010 Census data.

That means when the bicycle sharing program hits the streets this spring, no one will be able to hop on a rental at the bustling art center 3rd Ward on Morgan Avenue, the beloved pizza purveyor Roberta’s on Moore Street, the youth-infested McKibbin Lofts, or anywhere near McGolrick Park — and bike boosters at North Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 say that’s unacceptable.

“The entire area north of McGuinness is both highly residential and a far walk from the train station and I think many people that live in that area would love to jump on a bike rather than wait for the bus,” said CB1 member Ryan Kuonen. “It seems like a missed opportunity to really utilize the bike share in the best way for our community.”

The city announced its plans last September to develop a network of privately funded cruising bicycles that would allow anyone who purchases a $100 yearly pass to take trips lasting up to 45 minutes on clunky Dutch-style bikes. City officials have held bike workshops in parks and solicited locations for bicycle pick-ups and drop-offs from the public to foment interest in the new project.

Brooklynites suggested thousands of kiosk locations throughout the borough, including 100 in East Williamsburg and Greenpoint east of McGuinness and 17 near McGolrick Park, where the nearest public transportation is the temperamental B48 bus.

Department of Transportation officials said the proposed map includes three to four times more sites than the city is ready to implement, and noted that bike share kiosks close to McGolrick Park are a possibility.

“This map is meant as a starting point, not the final word, for bike share siting in your district,” Department of Transportation planner Keith Bray wrote to CB1 members on Tuesday.

Greenpoint and East Williamsburg cyclists hope the city adds more locations.

“It’s ridiculous — we need more good transportation here,” said Bushwick resident Adrienne Wagner, outside of Swallow Cafe on Bogart Street. “We don’t always have the money to take cabs home and riding a bike is so much more pleasurable.”

Critics lashed out at the Department of Transportation for not heeding the requests of bike riders who pitched locations all over North Brooklyn. But the agency can’t be blamed for overlooking some suggested kiosk sites, considering that several cyclists requested pick-up and drop-off locations in Newtown Creek.

“It would be great to ride a bike on water alongside a ferry,” said one commenter. “Imagine that.”

— with Natalie O’Neill

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.