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Does Central Harlem Even Want the Citi Bike Expansion?

By Gustavo Solis | November 13, 2015 5:45pm | Updated on November 15, 2015 8:11pm
 Harlem residents will be asked where they want to see Citi Bike stations in their neighborhood next week.
Harlem residents will be asked where they want to see Citi Bike stations in their neighborhood next week.
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

HARLEM — Citi Bike plans to install 15 docking stations south of 130th Street in the next two years but Harlem residents are not sure if they want them.  

“Although the community remains divided on the issue, the vast majority do not wish to see the loss of parking spaces,” Lermond Mayes, chief of staff for Inez Dickens, said.

Central Harlem lawmakers have not publicly spoken up about the bike share program. Residents are seeing their silence — specifically their names not being on posted promoting an upcoming Citi Bike workshop — as a sign that they are against the expansion.

The workshop, scheduled for Nov. 18, is sponsored by Community Board 10, Borough President Gale Brewer and assemblymen Denny Ferrell and Robert Rodriguez, who represent parts of west and east Harlem.

Notable Harlem representatives were not included on the flier included Councilwoman Dickens, Rep. Charles Rangel, State Sen. Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Keith Wright.

“These are some smart politicians, if they are not in it then it’s for a reason,” said resident Daniel Clark. “There is an issue, and it’s a valid issue, that is this something that the majority of Harlemites want?”

Perkins, Wright, and Dickens did support a similar workshop in East Harlem in June.

Maria Garcia, the chair of the community board’s transportation committee, said all elected officials were asked to sponsor next week’s Citi Bike workshop.

Perkins and Wright did not respond to questions about their position on the bike share program’s expansion into their district.

Rangel declined to opine on the expansion because it had not gone through the community board.

“I rely heavily on the Community Board,” he said. “I’m not in a position to say if I want it or don’t want it.”

Besides the fear of loss of parking, opponents of the bike share expansion say Harlem does not have enough bike lanes to make the program safe.  

Supporters of the expansion said it would bring more transportation alternatives to the neighborhood, relieve stress to overcrowded cross-town busses and promote health and exercise in a community with high obesity and diabetes rates.

Community Board 10 will host a public workshop where people will be able to tell Citi Bike where they want and don’t want to have docking stations installed November 18 at 6 p.m. in the State Office Building.

Citi Bike plans to complete their expansion north to 130th Street by 2017.