LIC Bike Share Meeting Draws Residents from Surrounding Neighborhoods

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on May 22, 2012 6:25pm 

LIC residents had a chance to provide their input on the location of new bike-share stations
LIC residents had a chance to provide their input on the location of new bike-share stations
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

LONG ISLAND CITY — Dozens of residents weighed in on the location of 10 new bike share kiosks planned for their area as part of the city’s new bike share program that will launch this summer during a meeting that drew residents from surrounding neighborhoods.

During a workshop Monday night at the New York Irish Center, residents discussed the proposed locations with representatives from the Department of Transportation, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and members of Community Board 2.

Using green stickers to mark preferred spots on a map, red ones for bad locations, and black ones for places missed by the DOT, attendees tried to turn the official suggestions into options more workable for residents.

Nancy Silverman, 48, said she was happy to see that bike locations were planned next to important cultural and educational institutions, like MoMA PS1 and La Guardia Community College, but also near other popular areas in the neighborhood, including the waterfront, the Vernon-Jackson shopping area, and subway hubs like Court Square and Queens Plaza.

"It will also be great for tourism that is growing in the area with all the hotels coming to Long Island City," she added.

Silverman said she has her own bike, but would definitely use city bikes, "if it made more sense on particular days."

Some residents said riding a bike would be a great way to commute to work, especially given frequent interruptions in train service.

As part of the MTA's plan to upgrade the 7 train line, which connects Long Island City with Manhattan and other parts of Queens, service was suspended between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square for 11 weekends this year beginning January 21.

"We could use it when MTA is out," said Dan Bach from Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, a local group working on improving biking conditions in the borough.

One artist in the area said that a good location for a bike station would be the corner of 22nd Street and 44th Avenue, where many art studios are located.

Others thought there should be more locations along the waterfront or even placing a bike dock next to the Calvary Cemetery, as "there is no other way to get there."

Residents from other Queens neighborhoods also came to the Monday workshop.

"It would be great to have this program in our neighborhood, too," said Barbara Browne, 67, a Woodside resident. Browne, a retiree, who is a bike enthusiast, said "parking is very limited in our area. This would be a tremendous asset." She envisioned a bike station next to the 61 Street station, where subway connects with the Long Island Railroad.

She said the program would also make it possible for Woodside residents to visit the LIC waterfront, travel to a neighborhood library and swimming pool.

Officials said they want the bike program to be expanded to other Queens’ neighborhoods.

"I just don’t know how quickly that will happen," said Maura McCarthy, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner. She added that while planning Phase 2 of the program, the department is looking at neighborhoods where riding bicycles is popular.

The 10 locations in Long Island City were not originally part of Phase 1, but were added earlier this month after Van Bramer worked out potential locations in the neighborhood with the DOT.

DOT will now take the community’s feedback and incorporate it in into the final plan. The maps will be revised in the coming weeks, DOT officials said.

The program, modeled after similar initiatives in London, Washington, D.C., and Paris, is set to include 10,000 bikes, which can be borrowed from and returned to any of 600 solar-powered stations across the city when it starts in July.

The stations will be set up and run by Alta Bike Share. Pricing information can be found here.

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