Park Slope

CB6 braces for showdown Thursday over controversial Citi Bike docks in Park Slope

Locals Angry Over Placement of the Docks Are Expected to Attend Public Hearing, but City Transportation Reps Won’t

October 19, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Citi Bike dock recently installed on Carroll Street at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope accommodates 30 bike docks and displaces at least five legal parking spaces on the south side of the street. Eagle photos by James Harney
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This week’s unseasonably warm temperatures could get even hotter Thursday night if frustrated Park Slope residents bring the heat to a public hearing scheduled to discuss Citi Bike’s incursion into their parking-strapped neighborhood.

To the surprise and dismay of some locals, Citi Bike docks have been installed in numerous locations across the Board 6 district, which includes Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Red Hook, as well as the Slope.

Some of the docks have been set up to accommodate as many as 25 to 30 Citi Bikes and have displaced as many as six parking spaces on residential streets, much to the consternation of neighborhood motorists who had already endured increasingly long searches for legal parking.

While city Department of Transportation (DOT) officials unveiled a map of potential Citi Bike docking sites in Board 6 — and sought public input — as early as last fall, some locals are contending that the actual installation of the docks caught them off-guard.

In fact, at a Board 6 meeting last month, one elderly resident angrily confronted a board member, loudly questioning, “Is there a bike stand in front of your house? Is there?”

Mayor Bill de Blasio has praised Citi Bike as a “very popular, very well-used” program that “has certainly contributed to people not using cars.” But in response to a frustrated Park Slope motorist who reached him by phone on a recent morning radio talk show, the mayor conceded that the placement of the docking stations was not necessarily permanent.

“It is a test in each and every case to see how well used they are,” de Blasio told the caller. “If they are heavily used, good. If they’re not, we can take them back out or we can alter them or change locations.”

Opponents of the current dock locations are no doubt hopeful they will hear more such encouraging comments at Thursday’s hearing. But they won’t hear them from the city DOT, which declined an invitation from Board 6 officials to send a representative.

“We’re disappointed that the DOT has chosen not to attend [the hearing]; we felt there would have been value in their being here and hearing input from the community,” Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman told the Brooklyn Eagle. “But we will proceed undaunted with the hearing and will present the feedback we obtain from it to the DOT.”

Hammerman added that the board “remains strongly behind the Citi Bike program. The purpose of this public hearing is to gather public input so that we can then work with the DOT on how best to locate the Citi Bike docks so as to maximize their use and availability while also maximizing the amount of parking in the district.”

Thursday’s hearing will be held during the board’s transportation and public safety committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the 78th Precinct, 65 Sixth Ave. Each person will be allowed up to three minutes to testify. Written comments can be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to 250 Baltic St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 11201 by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20.

 


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