It is a case of rack and ruin.
Carroll Street residents had a rude awakening on Monday morning when they went outside to discover a Citi Bike rack had claimed four parking spaces between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The Park Slopers say the city couldn’t have found a more inconvenient place for the big blue bike-rental berth, and now they’re stuck driving around in circles in search of dwindling places to stow their cars.
“I’m all in favor of the bikes, but whoever decided to put them there, I don’t understand,” said block resident Kelley Wind. “You circle and circle. You can spend a half-hour looking for a spot.”
The Department of Transportation held workshops last year inviting denizens to suggest locations for the stations, and unveiled the sites to Community Board 6 in October. This paper and other local media outlets also covered the chosen locales at length.
And yet many locals say they had no idea the Carroll Street rack was coming until they woke up Monday morning, and believe the city didn’t do enough to let them know about the meetings.
“I don’t know anyone who knew about it,” said local Kim Felsenthal. “Often times, in their public hearings, they have postings up saying there’s a hearing on this topic. I did not see anything like that.”
The residents are now petitioning Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) to lobby the city to move the hated rack elsewhere and restore their beloved parking spaces, according to Wind.
“We wrote Brad Lander, other people wrote Brad Lander, and we’re going to see if there’s any way to reverse it and get it moved,” she said.
Lander, a strong supporter of the Citi Bike program who cut the ribbon on the new stations just last week, declined to comment.
Carroll Street citizens don’t all oppose the hub — at least one new resident said she’d been eagerly awaiting the authentic New York experience of finding a bank-sponsored bike rack outside her door.
“When we moved, I was so sad Citi Bike wasn’t here,” said Allison Rodriguez, who recently relocated from New Jersey and lives between Fifth and Sixth avenues. “And then, when I saw in the news it was coming to Fifth and Carroll, I was like, ‘Awesome!’ ”
But the Carroll Street depot isn’t the residents’ only complaint — they argue there are simply too many docks, placed too closely together. There is another one a block away near Sixth Avenue, another at Union Street and Fourth Avenue, and a third by JJ Byrnes Playground, and glut demonstrates poor planning on the city’s part, one resident said.
“There does not appear to be reasoned placement of the bikes in areas which will least inconvenience the neighborhood,” said Michael Goldberger.
Their position is at odds with some Community Board 6 members, who complained that the city wasn’t adding enough docks to the area when voting on the plans last year.
©2016 Community News Group
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