More than 100 residents attended a public meeting hosted by Councilwoman Letitia James to discuss their issues with the Citi Bike kiosks that sprang up across the borough over the past month.
Most people were supportive of the city’s bike-sharing program, but some had major issues with the locations of the stations they say will cause congestion on streets and take away too many parking spots.
Katie Davis, of the Willoughby Walk elderly housing complex, said the stations should be moved away from her building because it blocks their landscapers from being able to work brings noise to the block.
“I am concerned they put the kiosks right in the corner of our building,” Davis said. “Move them across the street where there are no hindrances.”
Citi Bike has been in the planning stages since 2011. The program allows New Yorkers to rent bikes from docking stations and return them to a different station. So far the kiosks have been installed in Manhattan and some North Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Fort Greene, Downtown, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.
Hundreds of these docking stations have been installed, and the 6,000 bikes will be made available starting next month. Department of Transportation officials, who were present to take questions from the public, said the docking station locations were selected based on two years of public input and vigorous review.
According to DOT officials, there will be about 600 bikes for Brooklyn and the stations will take away only 35 parking spots out of 6,800 spots in all.
Angry residents insisted they were not informed of the locations beforehand, and argued the stations should not be in residential communities, many of which are landmarked districts.
“The Adelphi Street location was never suggested,” said John Sarachi of Fort Greene. “They take away seven parking spots and prevent proper cleaning.”
When the docking stations were first installed on April 23, a station on Claremont and Lafayette Street in Fort Greene was defaced with graffiti the very first day.
James, who supports Citi Bike, encouraged residents to communicate their grievances with her office and avoid breaking the law.
She warned the perpetrators “should decease and desist.”
“The public streets belong to all of us to share,” she said, noting the program is eco-friendly in an area with some of the highest asthma rates in the city.
At the public meeting, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives gave out “I love Citi Bike” stickers to bikers who showed their support for the program. Many of them wished they had the station docks on their block instead.
“This will be a fantastic civic amenity to help commuters get around town,” said supporter Mike Epstein of Fort Greene, who has used similar programs in other cities and says they worked fine. “Fears will melt away when they see it in practice and try it.”