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City Refuses to Attend Citi Bike Public Hearing in Park Slope, CB6 Says

By Nikhita Venugopal | October 17, 2016 2:59pm | Updated on October 17, 2016 6:00pm
 A Citi Bike station in New York. Community Board 6 is holding a public hearing on Citi Bike's expansion into Brooklyn neighborhoods on Oct. 20.
A Citi Bike station in New York. Community Board 6 is holding a public hearing on Citi Bike's expansion into Brooklyn neighborhoods on Oct. 20.
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Flickr/Omar Rawlings

BROOKLYN — Citi Bike's recent arrival in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and other nearby neighborhoods has drawn intense criticism from local residents — but the city doesn't want to hear about it.

The city's Department of Transportation has declined an invitation from Community Board 6 to attend a public hearing on Citi Bike this week, according to a letter addressed to DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg on Monday.

"We were deeply disappointed when we received word that no one from the Department of Transportation was planning to attend the Public Hearing we have scheduled for October 20, 2016 regarding the recent deployment of CitiBike in our district," the letter began. 

CB6 organized the public hearing after Citi Bike's expansion with more then 70 docks into Brooklyn came as a surprise to many district residents. A group loudly protested in September, including an 80-year-old man who shouted in board members' faces. Many were angry about the locations of Citi Bike's docks.

Board chairperson Sayar Lonial promised residents that a meeting would be scheduled in October to hear praise and criticism on Citi Bike in the district, which includes Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Red Hook and Park Slope.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the 78th Precinct, located at 65 6th Ave. Each person will be given three minutes to testify.

But according to the letter CB6 shared Monday, the DOT is not interested in hearing those concerns. 

"It baffles us as to why your team would opt to not hear directly from the community," the letter said.  

"We hope you will reconsider our invitation to attend and participate. We can assure you that we intend for the session to be constructive, and we believe it would be beneficial for the department to be present."

Last fall, the DOT presented a draft map for dock locations in CB6 at a public meeting after identifying potential sites throughout the district. The agency sought public comment on the sites and made changes based on community input. (For example, a Citi Bike dock was planned for Cobble Hill Park but the Cobble Hill Association requested its removal and the DOT obliged, the group said.)

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who recently responded to Citi Bike concerns in Park Slope, said the docks were only "test" sites and could be moved based on neighborhood consensus.

Trottenberg has asked CB6 for a list of the top five locations of concerns as well as alternative locations, according to the DOT, which responded to a DNAinfo New York request for comment Monday evening. The options will be evaluated expeditiously, the agency said. 

A spokeswoman for Citi Bike did not respond to a request for comment. 

Department of Transportation and Citi Bike officials will be in Prospect Heights on Wednesday evening for a community forum where residents of that neighborhood and Crown Heights can discuss the upcoming arrival of the bike sharing program into those areas.