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New Citi Bike Station on 91st St. Is Dangerous to Pedestrians, Locals Say

By Shaye Weaver | August 9, 2016 10:29am
 The DOT installed a Citi Bike station at East 91st Street and Second Avenue. 
The DOT installed a Citi Bike station at East 91st Street and Second Avenue. 
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

YORKVILLE — A new Citi Bike station that's being installed on a section of East 91st Street will put children and seniors at risk and should be moved, residents and elected officials say.

Crews began installing the docking station on Monday on the south side of East 91st Street west of Second Avenue, a year after the community called it a safety hazard and rejected it as a potential site.

The station would be located at the foot of the sloping street in a pedestrian plaza that stretches from Second to Third avenues and is lined with benches.

“It's not very prudent to install a bicycle rack at a foot of a hill. Bikes traveling at a fast rate of speed are going to go the wrong way down to the bike rack," Community Board 8 chairman Jim Clynes said on Monday.

"There's also activity on Second Avenue with the major re-paving project. Placing it at the top of the hill on Third Avenue will make it safer."

CB 8 opposed the location because of safety reasons during public hearings about Citi Bike stations last year, according to Clynes.

► READ MORE: 9 More Citi Bike Stations Headed to the Upper East Side: Community Board

► READ MORE: Citi Bike to Expand Into Harlem

East 91st Street is surrounded by Ruppert Yorkville Towers and the Knickerbocker Plaza, which is home to many seniors and people with disabilities, according to resident Rita Popper and Second Avenue resident David Rosenstein.

"Common sense is needed," wrote Popper, president of the Knickerbocker Plaza Tenants' Association, in an Aug. 5 email to local elected officials and the DOT.

"We understand the need to make Citi Bike available to as many people as possible but, unlike many other contested sites, this one truly uproots vulnerable folks."

There has been a recent push by the community board and residents to turn the street, which has been closed to traffic since the 1970s, into a permanent pedestrian plaza, but that still hasn’t happened.

The Department of Transportation also installed a bike lane there in 2007 against the wishes of some residents, Rosenstein said.

"The block has a lot of seniors and people with limited mobility that already lost most of their primary recreation area [with the added bike lane]," Rosenstein said. 

"It’s just too damn bad. Half that street will be devoted to bikes."

Councilman Ben Kallos opposed the new Citi Bike station last year and plans on working with the DOT to get it moved.

Recently the councilman suggested the agency move it around the corner against Ruppert Park on Second Avenue between East 90th and East 91st streets.

“This is a very uphill battle,” Kallos said. “Citi Bike has not moved very many locations, except to the extent that we’re able to work with the community for minimal changes.”

A DOT spokeswoman said that the agency will review concerns about the station after an adjustment period. She also added that the location was suggested by several residents during the hearings in 2015 and is located on a "pedestrianized street" next to a park, like many other stations.

"We also have stations on other existing closed streets and in numerous DOT plazas around the city and near schools, hospitals, public housing developments and senior centers that have worked well," the spokeswoman said.

"This station is located at an ideal spot that does not impact parking or access to the park in any way."