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Hub snub! Boerum Hill residents jilted by surprise Citi Bike station

Surprise addition: Longtime resident C. Claiborne Ray said she’s annoyed that the city went ahead and installed the new Citi Bike rack on Bond Street without consulting the community first.
Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about coming out of the blue!

A new cobalt-colored Citi Bike station in the Boerum Hill historic district is grinding residents’ gears because the city stuck it there without asking their opinions on the location or even giving them a heads up, instead allowing a local official to choose the site on their behalf.

“I think Citi Bike is a good idea, but this is a very obtrusive thing to show up on a landmarked side of a short block, especially since we had no idea we were getting it,” said C. Claiborne Ray, who has lived on Bond Street for 20 years.

Had Department of Transportation honchos asked locals’ opinion before installing the 27-bicycle rack on the street between Wyckoff and Bergen streets on Aug. 18, they say they’d have told them it’s a bad location because the dock eats up several parking spaces on a short block, and that the solar-powered hub’s modern aesthetic detracts from the area’s antique charm — although the Landmarks Preservation Commission does allow Citi Bike stations in historic districts.

Nearby Wycoff Street — a less-trafficked long block outside the landmarked area — would be a better choice, said Claiborne Ray.

Instead, transportation officials only consulted Community Board 2’s district manager — a paid staffer who runs meetings, deals with community complaints, and processes street permits for the volunteer advisory panels — asking him in April if he thought it made more sense to place the station on Pacific Street or Bond Street. He says he suggested the site he thought the community would prefer.

“I had been asked which I thought was the better location for the docking station,” said district manager Rob Perris. “I provided my opinion, which I thought was the preferable of the two. It was not reviewed by the board at all.”

Perris said he didn’t bother consulting board members or letting residents know about the incoming bike-rental rack because, in his experience, the city doesn’t actually take residents’ complaints on board.

Proving his thesis, transportation Borough Commissioner Keith Bray and agency officials last week met with Perris, the leader of a local civic group, and a rep from Councilman Steve Levin’s (D–Boerum Hill) office, where they agreed to present three more planned stations coming to the nabe at a community board meeting on Sept. 20 — then said they might just go ahead install new docks before the gathering, according to one attendee.

“They said, ‘Don’t be surprised if you see more stations,’ ” said Boerum Hill Association president Howard Kolins.

Indeed, workers subsequently installed one on Hoyt and Dean streets on Aug. 30. The other new bike docks are slated for Smith and Bergen streets and Pacific and Nevins streets, according to Citi Bike’s map.

The city also recently began rolling out new Citi Bike docks in neighboring Community Board 6 — which covers Park Slope, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Gowanus — but presented those sites to the advisory board in October last year.

Boerum Hill residents aren’t against the bulky blue bikes, Kolins said, they just want the same chance to give their two cents.

“I do think what upset a lot of Boerum Hillers was there was a lack of process,” he said.

The transportation department refused to outline its policies for consulting communities about Citi Bike locations.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 7:26 pm, August 31, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

S from Boerum Hill says:
I think the location on Bond and Bergen works well, since it's right by the bike lane on Bond. I'm not sure why people say the bikes don't look look right in the historic district any more than the cars that are already there.
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:16 am
ty from pps says:
why are the banksters allowed to store their private property on public streets?
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:55 am
Dave from Boerum Hill says:
It's public land.

Random resident opinion on "aesthetics" shouldn't matter.
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:58 am
Paul Schreiber from Boerum Hill says:
I’m happy that Citibike has finally come to Boerum Hill. The locations they've chosen are convenient enough that I’m going to renew my membership.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:06 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Citibikes don't eat up parking, they add it. Just think how many more people can now use the space formerly used to store each private automobile.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:07 am
XYZ from Not pps. says:
I bet ty from pps is a litterbug.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:23 am
ItsEasyBeingGreen from Sunset Park says:
There were a number of community meetings in every area where new Citibike stations are going. Ms. Gill, why are you reporting this woman's demonstrably false assertion as fact?
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:25 am
Boris from Bed-Stuy says:
Cars are allowed on this short block, even though there were no cars when these Boerum Hill houses were built. And plenty of cars have a "modern aesthetic" too. When residents move, they are allowed to use trucks, which also didn't exist back then. And what about streetlights? Is the entire landmarked district lit by gas lamps only? What about street trees? Are they only allowing tree species that were local to Brooklyn in the 1890's? Is there a dress code for residents - no synthetic fabrics, because they are too new?

Longtime resident C. Claiborne Ray probably gets "annoyed" at a lot of things; but if we let mere annoyances dictate city policy, New York will quickly become completely unlivable.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:28 am
Simon from Queens says:
Storage of private automobiles - to say nothing of the street landscape itself - is far more in conflict with the neighborhood's historical character than the Citibike aesthetic. This is textbook "windshield perspective" - drivers look through cars and the problems car ownership and usage cause.

People need to understand that Citibike is a transportation program. It can only work if docks are situated in a way that makes sense for the broader network. They need to be densely placed so that users can easily get to another station if they need to (e.g., when all the docks at one station are full or empty). They need to be situated near destinations like parks, stores, and apartment complexes.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:31 am
Luke from Brooklyn says:
1. Please, for pete's sake, change the logo at the top of this section. It sets the tone for conflict and makes transportation issues seem crazy and unsolvable.

2. There's been a years-long process to implement Citibike stations throughout the city and we should be addressing the needs of the greater than 50% of New Yorkers who don't own cars over the handful of complainers you sought out for this article.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:55 am
Scott from Boerum Hill says:
Maybe they should have had more public discourse but there are at least as many of my neighbors who support the location as don't. I've been eagerly awaiting this bike rack for two years now. I've had to walk up past Atlantic to get a Citibike and I ride them regularly to work and anywhere else I can. The idea that these don't comport with the historic aesthetics is silly especially when it's in the same breath as they take up two parking spots. Bikes were here long before cars and you can fit 30 of these bikes in the space of two cars not to mention the bikes are being used constantly where as people basically park their car for free for a week until they have to move it to the opposite side. I'll be happy to restrict these bike racks more if we could agree to remove all free on street parking. Car parking is an extreme poor use of space in a congested urban area.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:56 am
not un my backyard from Brooklyn says:
They DO NOT belong in front of big food stores and the like where people need to make essential large purchases or in all residential neighborhoods where people have either a car OR their own bike. In all residential neighborhoods, folks need sleep, and first they need to PARK!

They ONLY belong on commercial strips and in areas with Public Amenities the likes of Parks where large amounts of people congregate.

Too much, too fast, and in all the wrong places. Let's start on step/rack at a time!
Aug. 31, 2016, 10:01 am
thank you Lauren from all areas says:
"The racks are gross" and I'm glad Lauren had the guts to report it knowing that the majority of commenters aren't real people from the neighborhood but rather members of bike advocacy groups that get email blasts every time something is written about bikes.

The truth is that long standing residents are up in arms about these horrific COMMERCIAL bike racks in their neighborhoods.
Aug. 31, 2016, 10:11 am
Boris from Bed-Stuy says:
Members of bike advocacy groups "aren't real people." Right. That's why it's OK to kill them indiscriminately with your cars.

"Long standing residents" and people hiding behind fake names like "thank you Lauren" are not any more real or more important then new residents, or those residents who happen to ride bicycles.
Aug. 31, 2016, 10:22 am
Joe from Harlem says:
There were community meetings for planning where to put the stations, and the final locations were announced months ago on the Citi Bike map. There have been stories in the local papers announcing the expansion for months, too. If anyone was "surprised" by the new stations it is because they weren't paying attention.
Aug. 31, 2016, 10:50 am
James from Park Slope says:
LOL at the sneer at so-called bike advocacy groups. We live here just the same as you, right in your neighborhood, under your very noses! You know what bike advocacy groups are? Involved in their communities. There were months of meetings about this -- where were you? To be surprised by this just shows how out of touch with your own community you are.
Aug. 31, 2016, 10:57 am
Ty from pps says:
Hahahahaha! It takes up parking (of 21st century automobiles) but it also conflicts with the "antique charm"! HAHAHAHAHA!

Bunch of friggin' dummies.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:07 am
City Cycler from Prospect Heights says:
It is too bad the bike stations look like plastic suburban playground sets.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:14 am
djx from Harlem, lived in Brooklyn Heights when a kid says:
"I'm not sure why people say the bikes don't look look right in the historic district any more than the cars that are already there."

Because the people complaining use cars. And like cars. So they either don't recognize their hypocrisy or want to hide it.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:21 am
vooch from park slope says:
please start charging $5 an hour for people to store their private cars on public streets. Our streets are far too valuable and crowded to allow free parking.

Citibikes is great ! need more citibike stations, one on each block !!
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:28 am
A snob wouldn't bother gracing ghettos with says:
I understand more ghetto areas need tougher built stuff to withstand heavy abuse and financial constraints. Historic districts really should have something nicer. It doesn't have to look all cute little train set either. Understated, modern, durable, elegant.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:34 am
with bikes says:
Complete
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:36 am
Jeff from Cobble Hill says:
Lauren Hill, you didn't do your homework for this story! There were community meetings to decide where to place the stations and the decisions were made public months back. It looks like you're trying to incite conflict, when you should be working on developing your skills as a responsible journalist.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:43 am
Junie from Sunset Park says:
Make them better looking, problem solved.
Aug. 31, 2016, 11:45 am
Alan from Greenpoint says:
Hell, something better looking might be cheaper.

The City needs parks, not parking
Aug. 31, 2016, 12:09 pm
A from Boerum Hill says:
I've used the new rack every day since it opened last week. It's made my commute a lot better.
Aug. 31, 2016, 12:53 pm
Eric from Park Slope says:
Brooklyn Paper leans too heavily on the "one angry rando" for every topic. This woman's individual opinion is not news-worthy.

The fact is these stations were presented the community boards and the CBs asked for more of them!
Aug. 31, 2016, 1:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The reason why Lauren Hill was against the location of the Citibikes was because she felt it was done was almost no community input or that it was done mostly in secret. She did suggest an alternative site, which shows that she isn't against the idea altogether as most of the bike zealots would believe. Even others that live there feel that it was a bad idea to place that rack there. Unfortunately, the bike zealots live on the notion of you are either with them or against them without allowing for any compromises.
Aug. 31, 2016, 4:02 pm
Biker/Driver from Boerum Hill says:
Previously docking locations were screened by
CB2 transportation committee. Seems uproar was
caused when district manager closed down public
review, unaware no doubt of consequences. This
is at the heart of much unhappiness. As to the
reporting, I found Ms. Hill's skills sharp and in-
clusive.
Aug. 31, 2016, 4:04 pm
Erin from Carroll gardens says:
There was plenty of community involvement about a year ago. Many sites were proposed and community members were asked to weigh in before final spots were chosen. Bike sharing is great because bike parking is also a problem. This is bad reporting because it is missing the facts. The community was consulted!
Aug. 31, 2016, 4:54 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
I suggest a compromise --unicycles! They'll only take up half the space. Actually, less than half! A third! Why hasn't someone thought of this before!?
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:07 pm
Steve from Dean St. says:
I live here and like and use the bikes. There was ample community notification.
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:55 pm
Leigh from Boreum Hill says:
So happy to see the addition of CitiBikes to the neighborhood. It's a good transportation option to use to support shopping at and supporting local businesses in the area.
Aug. 31, 2016, 8:56 pm
Jim from Eugene, Oregon says:
If you install bike parking where cars normally park, it's called taking up parking spaces. But when that same space has up to 7 bikes, it means fewer cars competing for limited slots.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:01 pm
Harold from Boerum Hill says:
There was more than adequate community involvement in the CitiBike deployment. The station locations have been been public for quite some time and were approved by the local community board.

The city needs more transit options for the masses, not parking.
Aug. 31, 2016, 9:03 pm
samir kabir from downtown says:
Citibikes are taking over the whole neighborhood. As are joggers, Hummer baby strollers and over-priviledged white people.
Sept. 1, 2016, 6:33 am
Daniel from Flatbush says:
These grouches just weren't paying attention, the outreach for the CitiBike placements is the best example of community outreach we have in NYC. They are very responsive to placement suggestions. The historic district argument is so laughable when used to justify space for parking cars. Not only weren't there cars in the era that these blocks try to preserve, but the overnight parking that blights these historic streets wasn't allowed until well after WW II.

A note to any CitiBike/DOT folks: The bikes are the best new amenity to don our great borough since the subway. Please expand the program faster. We Brooklynites want it all over the boro, come to Flatbush next!
Sept. 1, 2016, 7:31 am
support ev's from NYC says:
Rather than making this a bike vs car battle, how about supporting all positive green transportation ie. plug in ev's

Start putting one prioritized ev only parking spot per block with a munimeter style charger powered in-part by a solar panel & battery storage.

Then more car owners will begin purchasing ev's to take advantage of the prioritized parking, and as it catches on, add more and more prioritized ev only parking spots till we rid Urban NYC of fossil fuel consuming/burning, carbon dioxide/particulate/heat spewing cars.

Cars are not the problem, pollution is. Go green in every machine.
Sept. 1, 2016, 8:32 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
And once again I spew retardation from my brain to my [jism-laced] keyboard and upon your screens. You would think I'd be tired of proving you all right as to what an idiot I truly am.
Sept. 1, 2016, 9:16 am
East Coast Dreamer from Lower East says:
These Banksters are simply creating these things
To distract from there nefarious shenanigans !
Oh ! I don't have to support a bike shop !
The globalists will supply my needs ! And who cares if they did'nt consider Only placing them
In places After accepting submission , at least in
Residential neighborhoods ! Geez ..No wonder
They will control the internet on October 1st !
Sept. 1, 2016, 10:48 am
moonbeam from boerum hill says:
i was shocked to see them in front of our project on warren and hoyt. nothing wrong with them, but with the crime i wondered why they put them there?
Sept. 1, 2016, 11:41 am
sunshine says:
Stolen blue bikes are probably harder to sell, than personal property bikes.
Sept. 1, 2016, 1:30 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"Cars are not the problem, pollution is. Go green in every machine."

Even if we could make all cars go green by being either electric or hybrids, the anti-car fanatics or at Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives will still hate them just for simply being cars.
Sept. 1, 2016, 3:30 pm
Stephen from South Slope says:
It is factually inaccurate to say that there was no community outreach, as you can see here:
http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/files/2014/08/bike-share-outreach-report.pdf

Granted, this was some time ago, but you can see from this document from the CB6 process that these locations in CB2 were finalized: http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/files/2016/06/Brooklyn_CB6_FinalPlanMap_20160621.pdf

There isn't readily available documents to speak to the choice of this exact location, but as the first document posted gets at on pgs. 18-21, NYC Bikeshare/DOT incorporated community input as much as possible, even moving stations after the initial round of input. This station was clearly linked to the expansion into CB6, which suggests that the location is likely driven by the density of station requirement.

The question that could reasonably be asked is not why here and now, but why wasn't this done earlier?
Sept. 1, 2016, 3:48 pm
Karl K says:
Developed countries fuel is at least more efficiently engineered than the growing markets of undeveloped countries.
Sept. 1, 2016, 4:45 pm
Slope from Parker says:
I have about 60 cars parked on my block right now. They're ugly and no one ever consulted me about this. When was the community meeting to decide that ever inch of public curbisde street space in Brownstone Brooklyn would be given over to car owners to store their private rolling stock?
Sept. 1, 2016, 9:04 pm
William from Prospect Heights says:
Fuel aside, we're talking squarefeet.
Sept. 2, 2016, 7:46 pm
DMC from Park Slop says:
Sorry to say cars were here before most of you and will be here after your gone. Move to Amsterdam where it's car free you bunch of nut jobs
Sept. 3, 2016, 7:46 am
Slope from Parker says:
Sorry to say horses and trolleys were here before all of you. NYC wasn't built for cars. Move to Dayton, Ohio if you want to park in your own driveway and spend your life in a car. This is a city. It's perfect for biking.
Sept. 5, 2016, 8:12 pm

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