Citibike Expansion – at what cost…

A bike advocacy group has gathered signatures to bring the Citi Bike rental program to Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.  Earlier this year the City Council was considering using $12 million in public funds to finance the expansion of the Citi Bike Program. It’s no surprise that concerned residents of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst fear losing parking spaces in their neighborhood if an expansion takes place.

What to do……

Resisting is not the answer.  Working closely with residents in the community is the solution.  I applaud the fact that one City Council candidate for the 43rd District recently met with community leaders in Cobble Hill and Bay Ridge to get ahead of the issue.  So, I decided to see for myself how different neighborhoods resolved their parking problems.

In a recent trip to Williamsburg I observed the biking stations on Metropolitan Avenue at Bedford placed off the street still providing sufficient parking along its wide roadway.  When traveling through China Town in Manhattan, the docking stations, located near a vest pocket park, did not impede parking either.

One cannot argue the need for transportation alternatives.  The challenge that is faced is making decisions that would result in a good balance with what the community needs and wants.  Although it would appear that the Department of Transportation engages with the community through the Transportation Committee of each Community Board, members are usually appointed by the City Councilman and Borough President.  The same body that entertained using public funds for Citi Bike’s expansion.  I would strongly recommend that when hearings are held on locating the biking stations, each Community Board notify the local residents so they can provide input.  Elected officials should send out notifications as well, remembering that not all residents use social media.

Even though the 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, tax paying residents must have input.