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More Bike Corrals Proposed to Replace Parking Spots in Prospect Heights

By Sonja Sharp | January 8, 2014 10:40am | Updated on January 8, 2014 1:39pm
 A year after a highly controversial DOT bike corral was installed outside Little Zelda on Franklin Avenue, local businesses are once again mulling the idea of more. 
Community Board 8 May See New Bike Corrals
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — More bike corrals could be on the way to Prospect Heights, a year after a rack that was installed last year on Franklin Avenue sparked controversy.

Bar Corvo owner Jacob Somers recently applied with the Department of Transportation to install a bike corral in a parking spot outside his bar at 791 Washington Ave. near Lincoln Place.

Somers said the corral would serve his many bike-riding customers and employees, while only resulting in the loss of a single parking space.

"There's not a lot here to raise controversy — at least that's what I hope," Somers said.

However, a year ago, some local drivers and business owners railed against a large bike rack that replaced a parking space outside Little Zelda on Franklin Avenue near Prospect Place, saying that cars, not bikes, should have parking priority.

"I know that was the last one that happened in the area, and I know it was contentious," said Somers, but said he hoped his case would be different.

Somers is not alone in his push to expand bike racks in the neighborhood. The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council is also working on a plan to install new bike corrals — working with businesses to identify two locations on Vanderbilt Avenue, Danae Oratowski, the council's chairwoman, said.

Last year, dozens of angry residents went to Community Board 8 to complain about the bike corral outside Little Zelda, in disputes that pitted longtime locals who opposed the bike corral against newcomers who supported it.

But none of the latest round of bike corral plans have come before the board, officials said.

"We haven't seen a single application since," confirmed CB8 Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Witherwax, who was an early supporter of the original racks.

DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said in October that the DOT was currently evaluating several new bike corral applications for the neighborhood. He said they had not yet forwarded the applications to the board for review. The DOT did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.