Heights battles bike stations

May 15, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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City plan would KO parking spaces for cars and plant commercials on residential streets

By Raanan Geberer

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS  Not in front of my house you don’t!

The executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association expressed concern yesterday over plans by the city to place scores of rental bicycles on residential blocks in the neighborhood. The terminals will add commercial activity and signage to historic streets and displace an undetermined number of automobile parking spots.

On Friday, the city released a map showing 400 of 620 bike-rental stations the Department of Transportation plans to install in Manhattan and northern Brooklyn. The DOT stated the locations were chosen as a result of public input and would become facts-on-the-ground in July.

In an 11th hour announcement just before the weekend, Community Board 2 said its transportation committee would hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. tonight, at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen St., with DOT representatives in attendance.

Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said public input to date has been inadequate.

“When you have a whole lot of people going online, putting dots on a map, that doesn’t provide enough serious consideration. I don’t think there have been enough meetings to call people out and discuss real specifics.”

“I don’t think any of them are good spots,” Stanton said, pointing out that four of them “are really residential streets.”

The map, made public on Friday by the DOT, was prepared with New York City Bike Share, a subsidiary of Alta Bicycle Share that was selected by DOT to operate the program, with sponsorship by Citigroup.

Brooklyn Heights locations, as shown on the map are:

  • East side of Henry Street near Joralemon Street, in the parking lane, with 31 docks;

  • West side of Clinton Street near State Street, in the parking lane, with 39 docks;

  • North side of Montague Street near Clinton Street, in the parking lane, with 39 docks;

  • North side of Clark Street near Henry Street, in the parking lane, with 31 docks;

  • West side of Clinton Street near Tillary Street, in a no-parking area of the street, with 23 docks;

  • North side of Middagh Street near Henry Street, in the parking lane, with 23 docks;

  • South side of Atlantic Avenue near Furman Street (Brooklyn Bridge Park), on the sidewalk, with 31 docks; and

  • Brooklyn Heights “Fruit Tree Sitting Area” north of the Promenade near Cranberry Street, on the sidewalk, with 23 docks.

Commenting on several of the specific locations, she said the idea of placing one on Montague Street “is just insane — it’s the most crowded site in the Heights.”

Of the station at the Fruit Tree Sitting Area, just north of the Promenade, she said, “The last thing you want is to encourage someone to take a bike there and go onto the Promenade. There aren’t enough park enforcement patrols, and the precinct cops have bigger things to do.”

On the location near Tilllary Street, she said that the “no-parking” location slated for bike racks is often used by government workers — for staging police when there are marches on the Brooklyn Bridge, for sanitation trucks, for federal law-enforcement vehicles. “These [official] placard-bearing cars will go elsewhere, taking parking from residents.”

Robert Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, said, “Our board and our Transportation Committee chair and I were a bit surprised at the amount of on-street bike stations. We thought there would be a lot more on the sidewalks.

“I am aware that parking is at a premium in Brooklyn Heights,” he said, adding that the board’s Transportation Committee will be taking a closer look at the issue.

“Community Board 2 has a somewhat unique relationships to bikes,” he pointed out. “If you want to go across the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges, you have to go through the district. It sort of acts like a funnel for bicycle traffic.”

Brigit Pinnell, executive director of the Montague Street Business Improvement District (BID) said, “We’ve expressed our concerns about taking up parking in that location [on Montague Street] and we’ve expressed our concerns to the Department of Transportation. Parking is important because there’s so little of it.”

There are some people who come to Montague Street to shop by car, she added, but one of the big effects would be on deliveries to local stores. “When you take away metered parking, that can have an impact,” she said.

DOT did not  provide photos or renderings illustrating what a 39 dock bike station might look like and how many parking spaces such a station might eliminate. The agency did issue a statement saying that most of the stations in Brooklyn Heights would have no affect on parking and are not located on strictly residential streets, and that the system was designed to cater to both commuters and tourists.


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