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Dozens of New Citi Bike Stations Coming to UWS by End of Summer, DOT Says

By Emily Frost | May 13, 2015 5:18pm
 New Citi Bike stations will dot the neighborhood, starting at the end of summer, the DOT said. 
Citi Bike Stations Planned for UWS
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday it will install 39 Citi Bike stations from West 60th to West 107th streets by late summer.  

The locations were whittled down from 500 possibilities and incorporated feedback from residents at community sessions held this past January, as well as online feedback, DOT officials said. 

Hundreds of residents turned out at the meeting anxious to see where the spots would be, with many applauding the plan.

There are only six sites where the docking stations will sit on a sidewalk, largely because the sidewalks in the neighborhood are too narrow, said John Frost, the Citi Bike director for DOT. 

The rest of the stations, which the DOT estimates will be about 8 feet wide and hold 35 bikes each, will be situated on the road and will take up parking spaces, DOT officials said.

Frost did not have an estimate for exactly how many parking spaces would be lost, angering some residents who complained street parking is already sparse in the neighborhood. 

"There’s definitely a trade-off," said DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione at the meeting. "This is a great amenity and a great asset to the community," 

Residents' frustration focused instead on the lack of park-side stations and the absence of docks outside the neighborhood's two major subway stops, at West 72nd and 96th streets. 

There were only six Citi Bike stations proposed to sit along Central Park West, on the east side of the sidewalk up against the park wall, as well as six along Riverside Drive near Riverside Park.

Locals argued the stations' siting didn't make sense since both Central Park's West Drive and the Hudson River Greenway, accessed from Riverside Park, are some of the safest places to bike in the area because they're protected from traffic. 

In the case of Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy had concerns about bikes flooding the park's walk-only paths, Frost said.

In response, the DOT only put Citi Bike stations on Central Park West that are "closest to bicycle-allowed paths," with one at the entrance to "every one of those bike-enabled paths," he explained. 

The city also did not place stations near parks because it wants to discourage cyclists from taking long recreational rides and instead use bikes as they were intended — for commuting, short trips and errands, Frost added.

The lack of stations near the West 72nd Street 1/2/3 subway stop also puzzled residents. 

"That has to be the most-used station on the Upper West Side. There’s acres of space at Verdi Square," said board member Ken Coughlin.

However, construction work prohibited the DOT from putting any Citi Bikes in that area. 

"Right now the area is a mess of [Department of Design and Construction] projects, both in motion and about to begin," Frost said. "In a couple years when things calm down, we’ll find something much more closer."

Neighbors also suggested adding docks near the American Museum of Natural History closer to the West 96th Street subway station, among other recommendations.

They also asked for stations along the wide sidewalk on West 97th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, but Forgione said the likelihood of a large construction project by Jewish Home Lifecare made the DOT decide against it.

"We think we came up with something that works pretty well. Nothing is perfect. We will maybe have to move a few things," said Frost, while not committing to which specific spots the department would revise. 

DOT officials said they would continue to work with the community through Community Board 7 to iron out the final locations. Residents can share their feedback on CB7's website.

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