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Bike Parking Proposal Neglects More Pressing Needs, Bushwick Locals Say

By Meredith Hoffman | November 30, 2012 12:18pm

BUSHWICK — A bike parking proposal for a Bushwick block lined with new cafes and an organic grocery store drew fire Wednesday by locals and the community board, who said the city had ignored the area's more pressing needs.

The residents said the bike corral, which would replace two parking spots on Wyckoff Avenue near Starr Street, was far less crucial than adding more street lights to Broadway or to the Wilson Avenue subway station.

"We've been trying 20 years for more lights on Broadway and outside the Wilson Avenue train station, but the people from the DOT disappeared," said resident Austin Martinez at Bushwick Community Board 4's meeting Wednesday night. "And then these people are going crazy for seven bike spots?"

And Community Board 4 member Odolph Wright noted that the DOT had promised to meet with the board about more lights on Broadway, but that te agency never followed through.

"We requested a meeting about Halsey and Broadway, a dangerous intersection," Wright said, "and they said they'd schedule a meeting with us months ago but we haven't gotten anything."

Other board members said they were not "against bike parking," but that they felt the DOT had not consulted them when picking the spot.

"We're not against sustainable living or against bike racks," Community Board 4's District Manager Nadine Whitted said. "We just want to be part of what's going on, not dictated what to do."

The DOT spokeswoman at the meeting, Jennifer Harris-Hernandez, said her agency would be glad to work with the board to pick spots in the future.

And the following day a spokesman for the agency said that the lights on Broadway had been evaluated and that they met the city's standards, and he noted that the areas about which the board complained "are a bit of a distance from where the bike corral is proposed."

He also noted that 300 neighbors had signed a petition in favor of the corral.

Harris-Hernandez said that the bike rack would be "one way to improve safety and visibility" on the street, and other advocates praised the proposed corral's opportunity for more public space.

"Any chance we can get to create a little more public space or green space would be nice," new Bushwick resident Jesse McDonough said. 

And previously Scott McGibney, the owner of the Wyckoff Starr cafe located right by the proposed corral, said the addition of bike parking would do wonders for the street.

"My small bike rack is chock full most of the time," he told DNAinfo.com New York this fall. "It will be great not to have folks shackle their bikes to trees and signs which can be troublesome to car doors and of course to the trees themselves."

A board vote on the rack proposal, which was already postponed after debate at October's meeting, was delayed again to next month since too few members were at Wednesday's meeting.