April 14, 2017 / Brooklyn news / Bedford-Stuyvesant / Health, Mind & Body

Bedford-Stuyvesant locals: Citi Bikes are the ride stuff

Bike on: Vice president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Coroporation, Tracey Capers, fourth from left, and Councilman Robert E. Cornegy, on one of Restoration’s community bike rides.
The Brooklyn Paper
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They went from not feeling it to seriously wheeling it.

Citi Bikes got a dubious reception when they arrived in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2013; now, many locals are singing the bike-sharing program’s praises.

Residents initially opposed the bikes and their space-hogging curbside docks because they saw them as evidence of encroaching gentrification, said a representative of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, which launched a pro-Citi Bike campaign about a year after rows of the blue two-wheelers started showing up on area streets.

“The effort was challenging in neighborhoods going through gentrification, and I think oftentimes when people see change in their community, they see that change as another signal of that,” said Tracey Capers, a vice president of the corporation, which surveyed Bedford-Stuyvesant locals and concluded that bike use in the area should be encouraged.

“We were looking at the health of the neighborhood, jobs, and environmental development, and when Citi Bike came to the neighborhood we took that on as an effort to see how we can change the conversati­on,” said Capers. “We mounted a multi-faceted plan and strategy of acceptance of Citi Bike into the community.”

Residents surveyed by Restoration representatives said they were concerned about the safety and affordability of Citi Bikes, how to operate them, and whether they were primarily intended to be used by newcomers to the area. Capers said the corporation responded by holding Citi Bike-themed community events, and distributing brochures and posters around the neighborhood showing blacks and Latinos riding the bikes.

“We showed them that it can be used as a tool and it can be used by them,” said Capers. “To create a culture of biking we held family-centered events with children so they can learn to ride, and showed them that it was exercise, it’s affordable, and it can save you time.”

The Restoration Corporation has tracked the growth of the Citi Bike program since its arrival in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and reports that ridership spiked in the year between May 2015 and May 2016, rising 56 percent during that period as compared to a 46 percent jump citywide. The tally among residents of New York City Housing Authority developments in the neighborhood was even more dramatic, with Citi Bike trips skyrocketing 225 percent from May 2015 to May 2016.

Those results have convinced Capers and her Restoration Corporation colleagues that predominantly minority communities across the city should embrace Citi Bike.

“We want to get these [in] more [minority] communities because the bikes are more environmentally friendly, and they allow residents to commute efficiently and more comfortably in their neighborho­ods,” she said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Wanda, you can change "Bed Stuy" to Park Slope or Williamsburg or Greenwich Village. In fact, just delete "who live in Bed Stuy" all together. Then you start making sense.
April 14, 2017, 7:51 am
Pamela from Bed Stuy says:
They can make these bicycles, but there's no public toilets?!? What happens when I wanna take a poop?? Am I supposed to just poop on myself?? Or on the street??
April 14, 2017, 9:18 am
Frank from Furter says:
Public libraries,parks, museums....and if you patronize the local beauty salon or restaurant they won't say's been the same for 50 years...
April 14, 2017, 9:50 am
Rob from NY says:
Capers is 4th from the left in the photo, not 3rd.
April 14, 2017, 2:35 pm
Shonda from Clinton Hill says:
Glad to know the Restoration VP explaining how backward and averse to change blacks are is black herself. Good to know she's not the big white lady misidentified in the picture third from the left.
April 15, 2017, 12:22 am
Omar from Harlem says:
Simply, Restoration is getting folks of color on citi bikes. If you look at all of the riders on their community bike rides, a huge majority are of color and many are local residents. There are riders coming out from Queens where the bikes aren't even there yet. Groups of people are ready to volunteer for rides and support Restoration's bike share work with a majority being of color. I myself, a public housing resident, have had the opportunity to voice my opinion, and speak with the General Manager of Citi Bike on providing jobs to local residents. These efforts helped show the community that this is for them.
April 15, 2017, 8:32 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Since we are on the topic of citi bikes, this letter from today's Daily News seemed interesting.

Cycle through to a better plan

Brooklyn: Re Voicer Paul Steely White’s call for greatly expanding the Citi Bike program to include all five boroughs: I live in one of the outer boroughs and it’s already a horror with parking throughout the city. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio and his predecessor for rewarding builders and contractors with huge taxpayer-funded incentives to build recklessly without any regard to the neighborhood’s ability to absorb the increased population.

De Blasio is also pushing to eliminate the one parking spot per resident rule for new construction. Parking throughout the city is already at capacity and getting worse every day. His plan would result in literally hundreds of parking places being removed from public streets resulting in a great hardship for the existing residents in those neighborhoods.

Being a recreational cyclist, I do support protective bicycle lanes but because of New York City’s poor planning, this plan would not be fair for non-cyclists. Bob Del Castillo
April 15, 2017, 5:33 pm
Rashida Al-Humeni from Bk says:
If they want this idea to catch on they'll need to install butt pads for people with especially sensitive holes. As is, we cannot ride them. We get butthurt.
April 16, 2017, 10:05 am
Alan Wong from Sunset Park says:
Many of these bicycles are stinky! Can someone wash off poop residue from them???
April 16, 2017, 12:33 pm
Barbra Warbourton from East New York says:
Only bicycles but no cars? Typical that these privilleged elites would think that we don't get to have cars. They want the streets only for bicycles, and they think they can use us to do it. Why you not giving us car rentals? What bout dat?!
April 16, 2017, 1:53 pm
Jooliya says:
Something seems fishy here. I don't like it...
April 17, 2017, 5:11 am
Daryl H from Bed-Stuy says:
I've lived in Bed-Stuy most of my life. I signed up as a Citi Bike member the first year it opened, and I use it pretty much daily.

As an advocate of a healthy lifestyle, I see this bike share program as a necessity in providing local residents an option in incorporating regular exercise—which is something the City has campaigned over the years.

I encourage everyone who lives in near a station to give Citi Bike a shot.
April 19, 2017, 8:12 pm

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