Citi Bike Station Yanked From West Village Street After Co-Op Complaints
By Claire Oliver on May 22, 2013 7:04am
WEST VILLAGE — A furious round of complaints from neighbors helped put the brakes on a controversial Citi Bike share station — the latest location for the new program that has drawn the ire of residents.
The station, originally located at the southeast corner of Barrow and Hudson streets, was moved across Hudson Street to the northeast corner of the intersection Friday, bordering the garden of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, shortly before the planned Memorial Day delivery date of the bikes.
The DOT did not return a request for comment regarding the relocation or the reason behind it, and did not comment on any other possible station moves.
The agency has been mum on the number of bike stations moved since dozens were installed across the city. Besides a few that have been tweaked to accommodate loading docks and other obstacles, none had been moved solely because of residents' complaints, according to a recent WNYC report.
But residents of 83-89 Barrow St., a co-op building on the south side of the street that had both of its entrances blocked by the bike lane, credited their community advocacy with prompting the sudden turnabout by city officials.
Soraya Mackhrandilall, a resident of the building and its managing real estate agent, said her building is "one of the few lucky ones that had the [station] moved with no problems."
“I’m so happy, so thrilled,” she said of the DOT's decision to relocate the hub. “They were very considerate of the 400 residents of the intersection.”
She said her battle to move the station began with a request for assistance to the Bedford Barrow Commerce Block Association and Community Board 2 — who she said didn't immediately respond — before gathering residents’ signatures on a petition and contacting the Department of Transportation.
“This is a residential street, and it looked like Times Square,” Mackhrandilall said.
Critics said the bike lane had made the roadway so narrow that larger vehicles like sanitation trucks were unable to pass.
Mackhrandilall said a passing oil truck once caused enough congestion to require a police officer to direct traffic.
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, which now has the bike share station adjacent to its garden, declined to comment.
The controversial placement of dozens of stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn has resulted in strong opposition and in some cases lawsuits from neighbors.
At Petrosino Square in SoHo, locals rallied against the placement of a station next to a park that regularly hosts art installations, enlisting a host of elected officials to ask that the dock be moved "immediately."
A DOT spokesman said at the time it would discuss the SoHo hub's placement with the politicians, but it had not been relocated as of Tuesday.
Residents of another West Village building sued the city over the placement of a station in front of their address, claiming it would pose a danger to tenants. Officials responded by removing a small segment of individual docks in front of the building's entrance but reportedly declined to discuss why.
Mackhrandilall said she was never against the bike share itself, only the placement of the stations. Now that her building's dock has been moved, she said, she supports the program.
"Now I can say, 'Use the bikes,' because I'm for bikes,” she said. “I still don’t like the color of the bikes. It doesn’t fit the neighborhood, but we have to pick our battles."