SoHo Bike Dock to Remain in Former Art Spot Despite Outcry

By Andrea Swalec on May 9, 2013 9:18am 

Slideshow
 Some SoHo and Nolita residents say the DOT robbed the area of parkspace designated for public art by installing a bike share dock in Petrosino Square.
Petrosino Square Bike Share Dock
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SOHO — Some SoHo residents say a Citi Bike dock recently bolted into a Spring Street park should be moved because its location was designed for public art.

SoHo residents' groups and others said Wednesday the 33-bike dock installed at the apex of triangular Petrosino Square does not belong in the spot that was last home to an art installation in November.

"We're livid. That area was supposed to be reserved for art exhibitions, not bikes," local advocate John Fratta said, adding he's looking into what legal action residents could take to have the dock moved.

Friends of Petrosino Square member Pete Davies called the location of the bike share dock near the intersection of Spring and Lafayette streets "inappropriate."

"That is an area dedicated to the presentation of public art," he said in an email. "The installation of the Citi Bike racks … does not meet the requirements for Citi Bike siting as described by NYC DOT in the DOT Bike-Share Siting Guidelines."

But the DOT says locals already had ample time to help choose the Citi Bike dock locations.

"Bike share station locations are the result of more than 65,000 suggestions from the public and were discussed at 400 meetings with the public, elected officials, property owners and many others — the most extensive of any transportation project in city history," spokesman Seth Solomonow said in a statement Wednesday.

The Petrosino Square location "resulted from the community-planning process last year," he added.

City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said locals have her support in finding an alternate location for the Petrosino Square bike share dock.

“I think that it always comes down to details with plans like these," she said in a statement. "We are working with DOT and the community to find the best location for the dock."

Passing by the bike share parking spots Wednesday afternoon, some who live and work in the area said they liked the dock location.

"It's gonna be great," said SoHo resident Brendan Fallis, a 33-year-old entrepreneur and DJ. "Art can be anywhere. If you're creative you should be able to make art anywhere. You've gotta just move with the times or you're just gonna be a hater your whole life."

Others said they would support moving the dock to someplace slightly less centrally located.

"It should be on the east side or the west side of the park, not in the space where there should be art," said Zoe Langer, a 26-year-old web designer who works in SoHo.

Friends of Petrosino Square is suggesting the dock be moved to the east side of Lafayette Street north of Spring Street, where the street is wider and the bikes would not crowd the small park.

Community Board 2 passed a resolution in May 2012 urging the DOT to keep Citi Bike docks out of parks because they would take up space and encourage people to ride bikes in the park.

The Parks Department wasn't immediately available to comment on whether another portion of the park will be designated for art use. The northern end of Petrosino Square was used for "Survival of Serena," an ultra-lifelike sculpture of a tranquil woman wearing a pink bathing cap, May to September 2012, and a jail cell replica called "The Glass Sea" in October and November 2012.

Village and SoHo bike share foes said at a CB2 meeting May 2 that the docks will degrade the historic character of the area and block building access for emergency vehicles, seniors and people with special needs. Residents of 99 Bank St. have sued the city, DOT and Citibank to have the dock removed from the front of their building.

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