The Juniper Park Civic Association came up with its own draft plan for the installation of 45 Citi Bike stations that will not take any parking spaces away from the community, unlike the original plan proposed by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).
DOT planned to install 52 Citi Bike stations across Community Board 5 just before summer. This draft proposal included stations on both the sidewalks and streets, which would take up at least 100 parking spaces throughout the community.
Christina Wilkinson, secretary of the civic association, said that their community simply cannot afford to lose parking.
“Because we’re a transit desert, parking is very scarce,” Wilkinson said. “We didn’t want homeowners and businesses who are looking for parking to be inconvenienced. We want [Citi Bike] to be a part of the community, but in a way that enhances the neighborhoods and doesn’t impose.”
The civic association’s proposal would only install stations on sidewalks mainly in commercial areas, without jeopardizing any parking. Their plan also cut down the number of Citi Bike stations to 45 instead of 52 after determining some of DOT’s locations were unnecessary.
“We thought there were some that were in locations that weren’t very realistic,” Wilkinson said. “They were locations that people wouldn’t really want to get to. And if they were close to another station, we don’t feel we need so many so close together.”
Anthony Nunziato, president of the civic association, has been a business owner on Grand Avenue for over 40 years. Nunziato stressed how detrimental it would be for small businesses if any parking spots were taken away.
“The parking is limited,” Nunziato said. “Businesses need parking for people to shop in those locations. We’re being accommodating to Citi Bike but they have to accommodate our community. We can’t give up our parking spots and take away from private enterprises.”
DOT told the civic association that they would take a look at the proposal and plans to end the community feedback period by the end of April.
“Maintaining our Citi Bike station density is vital to ensure Queens residents have access to convenient and reliable service,” DOT spokesperson Vincent Barone said. “We are always looking to strike the right balance and appreciate the feedback on our proposal, which we are reviewing.”
Councilman Robert Holden shared the same concerns as the civic association, saying that installing Citi Bike stations in streets would have a huge impact on the neighborhood’s quality of life.
“A lot of [the stations] unnecessarily take away parking,” Holden said. “In an area that has poor public transportation, for the DOT to just randomly and unnecessarily take up parking with these bike stations is irresponsible and wasteful.”
Holden said that he supports the civic association’s plan since it will save parking spaces across the community.
“Parking is at a terrible premium in the neighborhood as it is, especially because we have so little public transit,” Holden said. “There must be a balance of the interests of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians in our city.”