Petition drive seeks to bring city’s bicycle-rental scheme to Bay Ridge

Pushback: Eight-year-old Ethan Wind, pictured here with mom Kelley, was really mad about losing parking spaces when Citi Bike came to Park Slope last year. Some Ridgites — but not all — fear the same if the program expands to their nabe.
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Citi Bike may be rolling to the Ridge.

A non-profit bicycle advocacy group has gathered more than 700 signatures on a petition to bring the Citi Bike bicycle-rental program to Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. And the petition drive is well past the halfway mark toward the tipping point, which can move the city to consider the neighborhood in upcoming expansion plans, according to the head of the group.

“When we get more than 500, people take notice,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “When we hit 1,000, that’s a critical threshold where we get more support from community members, small businesses and elected officials.”

The actual decision on where to place new Citi Bike stations lies with the city and Motivate, the for-profit company that owns and operates the program. Yearly membership is $163 for unlimited trips of less than 45 minutes.

Currently, there are 600 bike stations and 10,000 bikes across the city. About a third of them are in Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Downtown, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint. But none have been placed in any neighborhoods in car-centric Southern Brooklyn — yet.

The company expects to add another 100 stations and 2,000 bikes this year, with the Brooklyn expansion already planned to reach into Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.

“We have offered to continue to expand the program and bring another 6,000 bikes with no cost to taxpayers to all five boroughs,” said Dani Simons, Motivate’s director of communications. “We will work with the city to determine where the bikes should go.”

Not everyone in Bay Ridge is excited about the prospect of hosting a Citi Bike rack in the place of several precious parking spots, and encouraging locals to swap four wheels for two.

“They put bicyclists out in the road. They take more road space, and they have no respect for cars or drivers,” said Allen Bortnick, an 11-year member of Community Board 10. “Fourth Avenue is 50 feet wide. They want to reduce to one lane each way and make it next to impossible to use.”

Bortnick says that he’s not anti-bicycle, but worries about ceding more and more street space to pedal power at the expense of automobile traffic flow.

“I have no interest in stopping bicycles from using the streets,” continued Bortnick. “I’m bothered by when they put them on main drives and main avenues and take away a lane. You don’t need a six foot wide lane for bicycles for off curb parking.”

White counters that bike advocates are not pushing for global bicyclical domination, but rather aiming to more equitably share the road between cars, bikes and public transit.

“No one is suggesting we should turn all the car storage spaces into bike spaces,” he said. “But, I think most people would support the modest conversion of some car parking into bike-share spaces, recognizing that even in a neighborhood like Bay Ridge, most commuters are not driving to work.”

White contends that a majority of Bay Ridge residents actually favor turning over some parking spaces to bikes, despite a vocal minority that complains about losing spots for cars.

A Citi Bike space provides 40 times more transportation productivity than a car space, according to TransAlt figures, considering that six bikes fit in a single car-parking space and those bikes turnover about seven times a day, while a car will typically move just once a day — if that.

White framed the push to bring Citi Bike to the Ridge as a question of equity — not between bikes and cars, but Bay Ridge and other neighborhoods — and he doesn’t think Ridgites want to see their nabe short-changed.

“People in Bay Ridge are saying ‘Aren’t we as deserving as other neighborhoods that have this great new transit option?’ ” said White. “What is defining it is this view of equity that Bay Ridge is no different from Downtown Brooklyn or Park Slope or Bedford Stuyvestant. That bike share — like bus service, like subway service — should be possessed by Bay Ridge residents like all New Yorkers.”

Updated 5:56 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I would love for the bike share to come to Bay Ridge. It could be a really convinient way to get around the neighborhood. I'd especially like it late nights between the 36th or 59th street stations and Bay Ridge because the subway can be totally unreliable.
I agree that 4th avenue can be tight, but maybe the stations can be there, but people can be encouraged to bicycle on 6th avenue, where there's almost no traffic.
July 21, 2017, 8:20 am
Laughing from Rolling on the floor says:
Bay Ridge people are afraid to even get off the train at 36th and 59th streets and this guy thinks they are going to get off late at night, grab a bike, ride up to 6th Avenue, cycle through Sunset Park park and under the highway. Ha,ha,ha,ha!
July 21, 2017, 8:47 am
Sparkle from Bay Ridge says:
I will use these bikes on a daily basis when they arrive in Bay Ridge. I will ride back and forth in front of Allan Bortnick's building while singing Broadway show tunes as loudly as I can. I love Broadway show tunes. Especially "Hello Dolly."

That is what I will do.
July 21, 2017, 9:13 am
D from Queens says:
I'm not familiar with 59th Street Station, but 36th Street Station is a mighty fine station to get off at, especially if you're ready for a few frames of bowling over at Melody Lanes. And I agree that biking is a great backup option for when the subways go on the fritz, and you just want to get home.
July 21, 2017, 9:27 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
I will use these bikes. Bring 'em on!
July 21, 2017, 9:55 am
djx from Harlem says:
OMG they're taking away our parking spaces! The city has a duty to preserve our parking spaces! W T F!!! We're supposed to be able to store our stuff (cars) on the street!!
July 21, 2017, 9:56 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Why are we giving so much space to cars anyway?

"A Citi Bike space provides 40 times more transportation productivity than a car space."
July 21, 2017, 10:09 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Instead of using citibike as a club to beat drivers over the head with, why not put the racks on sidewalks, like so many other stations? Oh right, I forgot the point was the middle finger to drivers.
July 21, 2017, 10:16 am
Bob from NYC says:
"Currently, there are 6,000 bike stations and 10,000 bikes across the city".

You got the number of stations wrong by an order of magnitude. It's actually close to 600.
July 21, 2017, 10:17 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Curious how an eight-year old who can't even drive can get mad about loss of parking spaces.

Also, maybe I'll sympathize a bit with drivers over any loss of curbside space when I'm allowed to put a container by the curb to store my personal property the same way they can store their personal property. The space by the curb belongs to NYC, and NYC can repurpose it as it sees fit whenever it wants to.
July 21, 2017, 10:28 am
vooch from 10021 says:
The War on Cars is very real. Watch these video examples of what happened to the once thriving city of Munich when the anti-car zealots took over. Trigger warning - horrifying to watch.
July 21, 2017, 11:37 am
Taxpayer from NYC says:
“We have offered to continue to expand the program and bring another 6,000 bikes with no cost to taxpayers to all five boroughs,” said Dani Simons, Motivate’s director of communications.

What ——. That "no cost to taxpayers" involves the city forgiving millions of dollars in payments that Citibike is contractually obligated to pay for their use of public space.

If that happens, then taxpayers WILL be footing the bill.
July 21, 2017, 12:08 pm
Also a taxpayer from Brooklyn says:

Motivate reimburses the city for meter revenue in places where docking stations take metered parking.

As far as paying for use of other public space, since there's no paid parking permit program in NYC, there's no loss of revenue to the city. If anything, this is a more equitable use of taxpayer dollars since it's the car-free majority that subsidizes free on-street storage for the minority of households who own cars.
July 21, 2017, 12:41 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
Will anyone be holding the cyclists accountable for following the rules of the road when these are installed? Because no one is doing it now. Running red lights, riding on the sidewalk, riding against traffic, weaving in and out of traffic, crossing (riding) diagonally across intersections, and I've see three cyclists hit pedestrians who had right of way this month on Fort Hamilton Parkway.
July 21, 2017, 12:58 pm
Old time brookly from Slope says:
Do you guys realize how rediculous the mantra of a car being private property on public space sounds -- it would be funny if you were not so vehement

Put them on the sidewalk to
Keep parking spaces
July 21, 2017, 1:01 pm
Taxpayer from NYC says:
"If anything, this is a more equitable use of taxpayer dollars"

Wait, what happened to "no cost to taxpayers"?

And I'm fairly certain that no payments for lost revenue has ever been paid to NYC by either of Citibike's operators, which is why they're looking to get this debt forgiven.

And Citibike is a private company, owned jointly by a sports club and a major real estate developer. Why aren't their owners paying for an expansion?
July 21, 2017, 1:05 pm
Brian Howald from Brooklyn Heights says:
New Yorkers killed in traffic by pedestrians (2015-2016): 0
New Yorkers killed in traffic by cyclists (2015-2016): 0
New Yorkers killed in traffic by drivers (2015-2016): 460

Anybody whining about cyclists running lights or lost parking spots clearly has lost sight of the forest for the trees.
July 21, 2017, 1:16 pm
Also a taxpayer from Brooklyn says:
The cost to taxpayers comes in subsidizing vast swaths of public space to store private cars.

In other words: My tax dollars pay to subsidize your free parking.
July 21, 2017, 1:19 pm
Resident from Brooklyn says:
I think "Taxpayer" is Tom Murphy, who's so anti-bike his face turns red if he hears a bike bell.
July 21, 2017, 1:20 pm
yup from yarp says:
Brian Howald from Brooklyn Heights TRUTH!
I have found that antone who complains about bicycles is usually too fat to ride one
July 21, 2017, 1:21 pm
yup from yarp says:
July 21, 2017, 1:21 pm
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
To also a tax payer

Thanks - I pay taxes too
So I am just using my share - beep and beep and beep
Beep yeah
July 21, 2017, 1:33 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
Myself and 4 different relatives of mine have been struck by cyclists running red lights. We've had to pay out of pocket for medical expenses. When YOU are willing to cough up monies for such expenses, then you can be smug. Until then, TEACH THE CYCLISTS TO OBEY THE LAWS OR STAY OFF THE STREET.

And considering you complained on your twitter about drivers disobeying the law, you'd think you'd be more than happy to see cyclists observe the same laws.
July 21, 2017, 1:38 pm
Hank from Bay Ridge says:
CitiBike would be a great way to get to and from the ferry, not to mention home at night from 36th and 59th streets.
July 21, 2017, 1:40 pm
Resident from Brooklyn says:
Jane, I believe cyclists should obey laws or stay off the street, just like you said.

Should drivers stay off the street since so many of them kill and injure thousands of people each year?

Just trying to figure out your logic.
July 21, 2017, 1:44 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
I hope Citibike comes to my neighborhood someday. I noticed that there is less and less parking without Citibike. The reason: lots of people moving in are taking up parking spots with their cars. Why does no body complain about their neighbors taking up parking spots?
July 21, 2017, 1:44 pm
Jane from Brooklyn says:
@ Resident-do cyclists carry insurance so people can be reimbursed for accidents? Are they required to have licenses and registrations so they can be tracked in the event of a hit and run? Are they required to take classes in order to operate a bike/follow the rules of the road?

When cyclists are held to the same standards as motor vehicles owners, then we can talk.
July 21, 2017, 1:49 pm
Taxpayer from NYC says:
I don't own a car, take out a Zipcar once or twice a year.

Commute by bicycle every day. Which I paid for with my own money. So why should I, and other taxpayers, subsidize a private bike rental company? Either raise the fees, or let Related pick up the tab.

Should taxpayers fund my next Zipcar trip?
July 21, 2017, 1:50 pm
Moira from NYC says:
To Adrian-people do complain about their neighbors, especially those that have multiple cars. They also complain about taxis, car service, and school buses being parked overnight in residential areas, but no one does anything about it. I see so many cars with city placards parked overnight by fire hydrants, or in bus stops, or no parking zones, and no one does anything to stop it. So yes, people do complain about their neighbors. Sadly, the city doesn't listen.
July 21, 2017, 1:51 pm
Brian Howald from Brooklyn Heights says:
@Jane_from_Brooklyn: "When cyclists are held to the same standards as motor vehicles owners, then we can talk."

Go stand in the middle of Flatbush Avenue or Tillary Street and say, "Cyclists clearly have it easy!"

I constantly read headlines about drivers who kill or seriously maim and walk away without so much as a ticket, and when they do get a ticket, it's for $250 and doesn't come with a license suspension. I'd say there clearly are no standards for motor vehicle operators in New York City.

Given that only drivers kill, I don't know why the same standards should apply. This is a false equivalence.
July 21, 2017, 2:28 pm
Jane from Bay Ridge says:
I've worked on Flatbush Ave. I've worked in many of the busiest areas of Brooklyn as a utility worker,and when I tell you I've seen cyclists cause damage (not just to myself) and get away scot-free, I'm not joking. Nor is it "false equivalency". I've seen them cause car accidents, and they're gone. I've seen them hit children, walking on the sidewalk, and they're gone. I've watched them stop dead in front of moving vehicles to be "funny".

I watched a cyclist hit an older woman the other day because he was playing with his cell phone (which I couldn't understand how he was able to ride the bike). But he got up and took off. Two people ran after him to catch him, and he almost ran into to stopped cars because he was trying to get away (which he succeeded in doing). She was bloodied. She was in pain. No responsibility whatsoever.

If you're going to be using the road, you need to follow the same laws. You don't get to feign innocence because you're on a bike.
July 21, 2017, 2:37 pm
Reader from Brooklyn, NY says:
When drivers kill 200 people a year and cyclists kill 0, and when cars are complicated pieces of machinery that weight two tons or more and bikes weigh 20 - 40 pounds, asking their operators to be held to the same standards is indeed false equivalency, Jane.

I mean, pedestrians use the same roads and they are not held to the same liability standards as drivers or cyclists, no should they.

It's like saying that ocean liners and canoes should be held to the same standard because they both travel on water.
July 21, 2017, 2:41 pm
Jane from Brooklyn says:
How many cyclists stick around to be "responsible" for their actions? I've yet to see one do it. Perhaps this is why we've yet to see headlines that read what they get up to. I wish we would. I wish police officers would stop them and ticket them for their actions, so we could get some numbers on what they're doing. I wish they'd be honest when they harm someone or cause an accident that they'd do the right thing and be honest. But they don't. It's the damnedest thing. They always manage to disappear. Strange as hell.

And given the pedestrians I walk the streets with, doing stupid things, yes, they do need to be held to the same standards. Running in the middle of traffic, running behind people parking their cars, crossing in the middle of the streets-they just as much at fault. I remember, in grade school, getting lessons on both crossing the street properly and what to do when riding my bike. I don't believe any school does anything like this anymore. And people who aren't from here, who completely disregard the laws altogether because "they don't know" should be held to the same standards.

I've known cyclists who proudly flaunt the law. They admit it. And they feel no regard, because they think everyone else should be responsible for what happens to them.
July 21, 2017, 2:49 pm
Resident from NYC says:
Good luck to you, Jane.
July 21, 2017, 3:15 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
I was so happy when they added Citibike docks to my neighborhood last year. It's been especially nice to have an alternative when the subway is down.
July 21, 2017, 5:10 pm
Everyone from Brooklyn says:
Jane, shut up you ignorant slutt. You're a liar and shouldn't have voted for trump.
July 21, 2017, 5:27 pm
Cathy from Bay Ridge says:
AWESOME. ** Terrible ** Bay Ridge drivers will cry while I, a car owner myself and careful driver who signals, stops at red lights and stop signs, and doesn't text at the wheel laughs gleefully!!

Roll 'em!!
July 21, 2017, 6:10 pm
Cathy from Bay Ridge says:
Also, focusing on the carnage of death caused by cars is misleading-- consider rather the amount of DEATH and SERIOUS INJURY to pedestrians and cyclists and sometimes other safe drivers.

It's ludicrous anyone could possibly defend this though such stupidity isn't unique to Bay Ridge or Brooklyn.

Did you see the story yesterday from the Upper East Side where an Uber driver allegedly had "a seizure" (right) and slammed into people on the sidewalk?

Of course witness said he was 1) speeding 2) ran a red light 3) lost control...

all real symptoms of a "seizure."

Jane, we disagree but you sound zexxxy as hell, would love to meet sometime if you still, you known, "fool around." xoxo
July 21, 2017, 6:17 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Everyone deserves safe streets and good reasonable public transportation. That includes bike cyclists. In some areas the stations must be on the street because the sidewalks are crowded. In some areas they should be on the sidewalks. Right now our public transportation is a mess and does not work well
Adding bikes is probably the least expensive way to expand transportation quickly and relatively cheaply. Take 10 million from the BOX and do it now...what few spaces are lost won't be significant.

July 21, 2017, 6:46 pm
Frank from Furte says:
Btw what is next is car share stations taking on street parking
July 21, 2017, 6:52 pm
Frank from Furte says:
That should read BQX Brooklyn queens connector..a 2.5 billion boondoggle
July 21, 2017, 6:56 pm
Tom from Bay Ridge says:
I am a car owner that would welcome Citibike to Bay Ridge.

People aren't either/or.

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists can and should coexist. On any given Saturday I will be each of the three at different times of the day.

Try not to remove already scarce parking spots by installing the docks on sidewalks wherever possible, put plenty of bikes near the subway stations and at the 69 St Pier and Brooklyn Army Terminal ferry stops, and you have a great amenity for the area.
July 21, 2017, 11:12 pm
Voice 'O Reason from Bay Ridge says:
Frank mentioned car share cars getting dedicated street parking spots. That would be great. Those car2go smart cars fit between the stop line and the intersection line. If people knew they'd get a spot when they're done driving them, a lot less people would need the expense of owning a car.
July 22, 2017, 2:48 am
Citi Bike from Queens says:
As a Citi Bike employee I can personally say that Bay Ridge will most likely be waiting until the next expansion before any stations are placed on the streets or sidewalks. The current expansion plan which should be starting within the next 2 to 3 months (guessing, don't really know the time line when the 2017 expansion will start) has no plans in placing any stations in Bay Ridge, this of course can change but I doubt it will with the current upcoming expansion plans.
July 22, 2017, 12:26 pm
Gimme from Yourz says:
How much 4 da milf rack? Betta b cheap 2 rentz yo!
July 22, 2017, 12:47 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Cars2go can't be used by anyone with a wheel chair. A for profit company can easily use parking lots for a rental car.
July 22, 2017, 1:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I feel that some of you bike zealots seem to only look at the effects of the opposition rather than the causes of it. The main reason why Allen Bortnick opposes this is also due to who uses the roads more, and last time I checked, it wasn't bicycles, plus 4th Avenue is a major thoroughfare that commercial vehicles use a lot on a normal basis. Reducing the lanes will make it hard for them and can lead to holding up traffic. Of course those such as Paul Steely White will never understand this seeing that he never drives. Another reason for opposition is that there's a good chance it will barely get used a lot during the year making it feel like a waste of space especially during the winter. Let's not forget that according to a recent study by the US Census Bureau of NYC commuters, less than 1% of them go by bicycles, which shows how little they really are yet still feel that they deserve everything despite that. As for the claim of those using stats to make their claims that bicycles aren't as dangerous, that's also using the effects only while ignoring the causes. The truth about stats is that only give the effects while never stating the causes hence what most likely did happen. I wouldn't be surprised if the stats for cyclists getting hit by motor vehicles while flouting the laws is a good percentage of them that wound up getting hit. When a cyclist flouts the traffic laws, they are placing themselves into harm's way and this doesn't make them the victim either. On a side note, using such claims by the bike zealots to vilify the car culture almost reminds of how the anti-Israel crowd does this to vilify Israel by saying that they far more the terrorists than Hamas will ever be just because they kill more by just using the effects without even looking at what really happened while almost turning a blind eye to the fact that Hamas actually does target civilians even though they kill less. For more on what I mean by that analogy, I suggest you look that up, because I won't be going further on that being that it's besides my point.
July 22, 2017, 3:58 pm
Tom from Bay Ridge says:

Hamas, he says!
July 23, 2017, 5:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tom from Bay Ridge, please enter anti-Israel crowd in the search engine and you'll see why I used that analogy to counter what Brian Howald used to make his claim and why just stats by themselves don't say everything let alone what really happened.
July 23, 2017, 5:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tom from Bay Ridge, please enter anti-Israel crowd in the search engine and you'll see why I used that analogy to counter what Brian Howald used to make his claim and why just stats by themselves don't say everything let alone what really happened.
July 23, 2017, 5:30 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Citibike was initiated under Mayor Bloomberg but refused to give them City money. He knew better.

After they went belly-up they were bailed by private money. Again, no City cash; although, there is a lot of in-kind contributions of NYC DOT personnel time.

Now Motivate(formerly Citibike) is begging the City Council to fund their expansion citywide. Not gonna' happen. BdB knows what Bloomberg knew. It's a losing proposition. They can't get private cash because the Chinese are coming in with the new technology--dockless bikes. Motivate will be happy to hold what they got now. There will be no return-on-investment from the outer areas. They've no plans this year or next to come to Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Boro Park or Bensonhurst. Not until they come up with a new biz plan.
July 23, 2017, 9:10 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Look for bike racks to go up in front of Chase, Santander,andTD Bank.

Never in front of Citibank.
July 24, 2017, 9:44 am
Da real gimme from Yourz says:
I luv luv luvz eatin dat big fat hairy guy azzes yo! I luvz me a man buffet!
July 24, 2017, 12:51 pm
Da real gimme from Yourz says:
I love when my manz got junk in da trunk yo! Back dat azz up to my mouf yo!
July 24, 2017, 12:53 pm
Adamlaw from Windsor Terrace says:
Common Ground -
1. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians need to follow the rules of the road including the biggest offenses -- motorists failing to yield to pedestrians when turning and using cell phones while driving, cyclists riding through pedestrians crossing on the green just because they can maneuver around them, and pedestrians jaywalking while texting;
2. Harm and risk from careless motorists dwarfs harm from careless cyclists but does not excuse cyclists' responsibility to exercise reasonable care;
3. Public policy in allocating public resources such as roadways should be dictated by serving the greatest utility by considering costs including maintenance, pollution, and safety risks and balancing them against the benefits to the public of getting people around efficiently and as safely as possible -- folks, there is no such thing as "free parking" or "free use of the roadway"
4. As the City grows in density, private car ownership will out of necessity become less and less viable - something car owners will need to deal with and which the City needs to address. Peace, love and safe travels!
July 24, 2017, 2:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I would like to know if those who signed the petition to place a bike share station there are really from the neighborhood or just some a bunch of supporting fanatics from Transportation Alternatives who could be from anywhere else, because knowing that will answer on whether or not the support is really homegrown or just transplanted.
July 24, 2017, 4:37 pm
Da real gimme from Yourz says:
I like to ride a bike with no seat, feelz good yo!
July 24, 2017, 4:55 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Is this the real Tal Barzilai (i.e., the man in his mom's basement in Pleasantville) typing here? Because, to use his phrasing, it's an irony he is concerned about people from outside a neighborhood signing a petition.

Does this mean we will be spared the "support" of the Pleasantville faction too?
July 24, 2017, 5:43 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The reason I say this is mainly because White has a long history of bringing flash mobs to make it look like many support. Meanwhile, those who oppose such things he supports tend to be from the neighborhood while the supporters tend to be transplanted. That is the reason why such a petition sponsored by him makes me very suspicious.
July 25, 2017, 5:58 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Is that the reason Tal? Or is it because you're a member of Hamas?
July 25, 2017, 6:02 pm
Brooklyn Resident from Brooklyn says:
Dorky kid and his whiny mom b-tch and moan about losing parking.

Pay for your own parking.
July 27, 2017, 9:37 am

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