UPPER EAST SIDE — The local community board is determined to get a new Citi Bike station removed from a car-free street in the neighborhood, after residents called it a safety hazard to children and the elderly who regularly use the street.
Community Board 8 passed a resolution on Wednesday night to write to the city's Department of Transportation demanding it move the new docking station, installed last month on a tree-lined pedestrian path on East 91st Street, around the corner to Second Avenue.
"It's outrageous to put the station there," said Upper East Side resident Betty Cooper-Wallerstein on Wednesday night. "People use that space and it would be safer for them if they didn't have bikes going back and forth. Moving it should happen as soon as possible."
East 91st Street, between Second and Third avenues, has been a car-free road since the 1970s. When crews started installing the Citi Bike station — large enough to fit 38 bikes — there last month, residents gathered to oppose it during a recent meeting of CB8's transportation committee.
They said the station's location at the foot of a sloping street, surrounded by homes for seniors and people with disabilities, would be dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists alike.
The site was approved by the community board early last year when the DOT proposed the station for the block, despite the fact that it was not clear then where exactly it would be placed, according to Scott Falk, the transportation committee's co-chair.
Rita Popper, a committee member and president of the Knickerbocker Plaza Tenants' Association, who is leading the effort to get the station removed, said the current placement encourages "bad behavior" because cyclists speed down the street in the wrong direction to return their Citi Bikes.
The committee says that because it now has the chance to weigh in on where specifically the station should go, it is recommending the DOT move it to the sidewalk on the west side of Second Avenue, near Ruppert Park, between 90th and 91st streets.
Placing it in a "floating parking lane" — the space between the protected bike lane and parking spaces on Second Avenue — rather than the sidewalk did not gain enough support because it would mean taking away parking spaces from businesses there, committee members said.
"The community has come out and these are their needs — businesses want the parking spots and it's not appropriate for people to say they don’t need them," Popper said. "We also don’t want the station on a hilly street, which virtually functions as a park and sitting area for children and seniors. Cyclists will have to cross Second Avenue anyway to get to the bike lane as it is."
Councilman Ben Kallos, who did not support the original placement last year, said he would support the committee's decision.
Last month, a DOT spokeswoman told DNAinfo New York that the original location is "an ideal spot that does not impact parking or access to the park in any way," but that it will review concerns about the station after an adjustment period.