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Hasids Join G Train Riders in Push for Brooklyn Bike Share

By Meredith Hoffman | June 10, 2013 6:47am | Updated on June 10, 2013 4:30pm
 From a Citi Bike petition to a new "Hasidim for Bikes" group, locals demand the city install stations.
Citi Bike Advocates North Brooklyn
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WILLIAMSBURG — Where's our Citi Bike?

As Manhattan residents complain that bike share kiosks are intruding in public spaces and causing congestion, north Brooklynites are fighting to bring the stations across the bridge.

From G train riders trying to cope with service disruptions to Hasidic residents angered by a lack of stations in South Williamsburg, disparate groups are organizing petitions, advocacy groups and rallies.

The South Williamsburg group Hasidim for Bikes, a new coalition working "to make bicycling more available, more convenient and appealing to Hasidim," is demanding that bike-share kiosks be added to the city's roll-out plan. Currently, according to the City Bike map, there are no plans to introduce the service in that area.

The program has a "black hole in black hat Williamsburg," the group posted on Facebook in response to a Daily News article about the lack of stations.

"Hasidim for Bikes is not happy about that."

Meanwhile, hundreds of North Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents are urging the city to speed up planned installation in those neighborhoods.

Hundreds of residents have signed a petition led by Councilman Stephen Levin to demand that the kiosks be put in immediately as plans for 12 weekends of G-train closures were unveiled.

"While we know that the Citi Bike program is eventually slated to open in those communities, there's no date as of yet," said Levin, who noted that without the G, "we really need an additional mode of transportation that’s viable for people ASAP."

A spokesman for the city's Department of Transportation noted his agency had planned to install many North Brooklyn stations in the first round of kiosks before Hurricane Sandy hit.

"These areas were scheduled to be part of the initial pre-Sandy roll out," DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said. "When NYC Bike Share receives Sandy relief resources and can order the equipment, stations can be implemented in North Williamsburg and Greenpoint."

He did not comment on the lack of stations in Hasidic South Williamsburg.

The pressure to introduce cycling, however, isn't supported by all. South Williamsburg Hasidic resident Isaac Abraham said that plenty members of his community were opposed to the bike share.

"To have Citi Bike take away more parking spaces would be to add another hardship," he said. "[Bike advocates] want a bike, they can buy a bike. I have no problems with that. But for them to say the city should add stations here, I don’t think they’re the real voice of this community."