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Spoke too soon: City abandons plan to roll out dockless bike share program in Coney Island

No go: City officials have given up on a plan to bring 200 dockless bikes to the People's Playground.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re dock-less!

The city has officially abandoned its plan to bring 200 dockless bikes to Coney Island, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

Agency honchos are instead channeling all of their energy into increasing the number of untethered two-wheelers in the distant land of Staten Island, according to spokeswoman Alana Morales, who added that officials plan to keep Coney Islanders in the loop as they continue on their quest to make the Big Apple a more bike-filled city.

“DOT is currently focused on our [request for expressions of interest] and plans for a larger dockless bike share pilot on Staten Island, and have no immediate plans for additional pilots at this time,” Morales said. “We look forward to continuing our conversations with the Coney Island community as we explore ways to expand bike share options throughout the city in the future.”

Transportation agency officials first announced the pilot program in the People’s Playground last May, but then delayed the roll out until the end of last year, after locals charged that the plan would bring chaos to Coney by allowing riders to drop the bikes wherever they wanted and exacerbating the problem of allegedly reckless cyclists careening down the crowded Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Officials never brought the bikes to Sodom by the Sea — which does not have any other bike share services — but they did roll out pilot programs in the distant boroughs of Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx. And the transportation agency announced this month that honchos are seeking proposals to institute an expanded, borough-wide dockless bike share program to likely launch this summer in Staten Island following last year’s trial.

Coney Island officials — who last year sent a letter to both the transportation commissioner and the mayor outlining their strong opposition to the plan — rejoiced at the news of the reversal.

The district manager of the local Community Board 13 — whose members passed a motion last summer rejecting the plan — cheered city officials for listening to the concerns of his fellow board members who raised their voices in opposition to the proposal.

“We told them no, so they heard us loud and clear,” said Eddie Mark.

The board’s chair was similarly jubilant, and claimed that the plan was illogical from the start.

“Thank God,” said Joann Weiss. “Canceling it out is the right thing to do for the welfare of the community, because it would have only been a hindrance and not a help. Having these bikes and being able to drop them wherever you choose was just a ridiculous situation.”

Reps from the transportation agency never answered this paper’s repeated inquiries last year about where the bikes would initially be distributed, who would be liable for injuries to riders, and how the system would limit riders bringing the bikes on the boardwalk, taking them out of the neighborhood’s boundaries, and abandoning them in the middle of the street.

But the co-founder of local cycling advocacy group Bike South Brooklyn decried the news out of the People’s Playground, and blasted city honchos for allegedly only listening to those who opposed the plans, who he claimed don’t cycle anyway.

“It’s disappointing, obviously,” said Brian Hedden, who lives in Bay Ridge. “It’s another one of those cases where the mayor’s office and the DOT has put so much stock into the voice of people that will never, ever get on a bicycle at the expense of people who are looking for this sort of thing. The city is listening to the wrong people exclusively.”

Statistics show that having more bikes in an area leads to safer overall conditions for cyclists, transportation agency reps told this newspaper last summer, citing a 17 percent decrease in cyclists killed or severely injured in bike-rental zones citywide after CitiBike launched in 2013.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:13 am, April 26, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Terry from Coney Island says:
According to the Parks Department rules, which are posted at the Boardwalk: "Bicycling is allowed 5am-10am only." Not all bicyclists see it or follow the rules and some are ticketed.
April 26, 11:22 am
Alex from Coney says:
This is complete bs, not only does biking promote a healthy lifestyle but with properly paved roads would decongest traffic for people trying to visit the beach. South Brooklyn is entirely void of bike sharing in general dockless or not. Way to listen to the obese and unhealthy who detest these bikes. Rules can be enforced and bike lanes can be paved on the boardwalk to prevent issues of traffic and pedestrian accidents. These are the same folks who probably wanted to keep these wooden boards that cause daily trips and accidents on the boardwalk. Also how about looking towards the younger generation for our opinions, the senior community is slowly leaving coney island, its our playground now.
April 26, 11:39 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Maybe it's because they see them as a waste of space for only a small group that is using them if ever.
April 26, 11:51 am
James from Coney Island says:
The problem is, the majority of the bicyclists DO NOT follow rules and they ride wildly, nor will they ride them to the proper "docking" areas. This is NYC we're talking about and people are not as civilized as other cities that use these "dockless bicycles" and properly dock them when they're done with their ride. It is guaranteed that the cyclists will leave them in the middle of the boardwalk or even around the amusement parks. This is all too familiar with San Francisco's "Lime Scooters", where people will drop them in the middle of the streets, parks, beaches, and the wharf.
April 26, 1:15 pm
Alex from Coney says:
@James, I agree with that point. They should be paid for and we should use the "dock system".
April 26, 1:56 pm
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
This is actually stupid and shortsighted. Dockless bike share is perfect for the Coney Island to Sheepshead Bay area, and it works quite well in Rockaway. Hopefully the DoT comes to its senses.
April 26, 2:01 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
Hey James, the problem is, the majority of the drivers DO NOT follow rules and they drive wildly, nor will they drive them to the proper "parking" areas. Yet somehow we allow cars all over our streets.
April 26, 4:05 pm
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Tal, You're a waste of space for only a small group that is using you, if ever.
April 26, 4:26 pm
Rick Wells from Midwood says:
I have a solution that will allow the safe usage of bikes on the boardwalk and, at the same time, create a fund that will provide insurance for pedestrians and riders. Charge a fee for the privilege of riding on the boardwalk. Like CityBike there could be a yearly fee for locals (and other Brooklyn residents who would find a yearly fee attractive. And, for tourists and people who do not ride frequently, there could be a one-time fee for day/evening use. Every permit would require proper identification in order to vet the rider and to make them legally responsible for any misdeed, ranging from pedestrian injury to tickets for reckless riding. There would also be an easily visible license plate so police or concerned citizens. The plate or placard would be returned to the place of issue. To insure this "condition" there would be a deposit of, say, $20, along with whe "ride" fee of, say, $5 or $10. I live in Midwood but, like many other Brooklyn people, I find the Brighton-to-Coney bike ride compelling as well as an unparraled form of relaxation. I ride the boardwalk frequently. I ride at a slow speed and dismount in heavy pedestrian traffic or at times that a pedestrian appears to be unaware of my presence. I would suggest that this be the measure of a legal ride and its violation be the grounds for a "reckless" riding ticket. Hey, with the accrued fines, maybe we could line the sands with more of those plastic palm sprinklers...
April 27, 9:41 am
bklynwunder says:
Wonderful news! The bike riders have only themselves to blame for this defeat! Everyone is tired of their antics.
April 27, 9:43 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Grownups drive cars.
April 27, 10:47 am
Brian from West Brighton Beach says:
I’m disappointed. These bikes would work perfectly here! Does the city listen to anyone except the small community board? These people do not represent the voices of the entire community. Meetings are often at poor times/days when working & commuting people can’t attend. Too bad New Yorkers didn’t vote to abolish the community boards during the last election. Can someone tell me a better area than this for dockless biking in a Brooklyn!? It would be perfect from Coney Island to Sheepshead Bay! It makes ZERO sense.
April 27, 12:11 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
I hope I grow up some day so I can drive a car!
April 27, 12:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
James, just yesterday I almost did get hit by someone riding a Citibike over at 24th Street when crossing 10th Avenue in Manhattan and that's when I had the walk signal yet the cyclist still ran the red light, which shows how much they really do treat traffic lights and signs as decorations rather than following the traffic laws.
April 27, 12:53 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Tal, You're most likely going to die from obesity, not a cyclist hitting you.
April 27, 3:44 pm
Raised in Coney island from Coney island says:
It is one thing to want this in a community where you do not live in. Are you aware that it takes 15 minutes to a half hour to get from one block to another during the mermaid parade, 4th of July or during any summer weekend. It is not fair to the residents of Coney island just trying to get in or out of the neighborhood. For all those who do not know what we home owners have to indoor being told by local police that you can not drive home due to uncontrollable amount of people in a 2 1/2 miles radius neighborhood. We do not need an additional traffic in our neighborhood. Bicycle would only increase traffic and being able to just drop of the bikes anywhere. We do pay property taxes just like anywhere otherwise why should we be subject to more people traffic.
April 27, 9:02 pm
Anna from Coney Island says:
How about fixing the roads in Coney island first and about time. They are so decrepit from the construction that they make it impossible to walk on yet alone ride a bicycle. The roads are so uneven they damage cars and cause accidents for everyone pedestrians and bicyclists.
April 28, 11:33 am
Court from Brighton/Coney says:
While i'm all for bike riding on the boardwalk and really wish this could be implemented, this simply won't work unless the allowed bike riding hours are changed...5am to 10 am appeals to no one who would pay to rent a bike and also, the boardwalk needs to be fixed...broken planks galore, zero upkeep.
April 29, 12:58 pm
Henry Finkelstein from Kings Bay says:
Safer for pedal pushers , and more hazardous for sidewalkers . Pedestrians first, not bikers.
April 29, 1:47 pm
Ranz from Sheepshead Bay. says:
Last night at Nostrand and V was crossing with green light ,when bicyclist nearly ran over me going against the green and in the wrong direction and without the benefit of a bell or any illumination. Time was about 9:30 pm. Now i am waiting for the bike apologists to spout venom and insults to cover up for their behavior and attitude. Protected Pedestrian Paths now.
April 29, 1:52 pm
Mei Dei from Gravesend says:
Abandoned debris should be picked up and thrown out with the rest of the garbage
April 29, 3:15 pm

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