Holden criticizes DOT for turning down input in Citi Bike installations in western Queens

Citi Bike
Photo courtesy of Citi Bike

Councilman Robert Holden recently penned a letter to the Queens Borough Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner, calling on the agency to revisit local input in regards to the placement of Citi Bike stations around the Community Board 5 area. 

DOT plans to install 52 Citi Bike stations in the Community Board 5 area later this summer. A final plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks. There are currently four existing Citi Bike stations in the area. 

DOT released an early draft in February, mapping out all the stations and whether they will be located on the street or sidewalk. The Juniper Park Civic Association made suggestions to reduce the stations on the street in order to save parking spaces. The civic associations plan would also install only 45 Citi Bike stations. 

The draft proposal released by DOT would take up at least 100 parking spaces throughout the community. Christina Wilkinson, secretary of the civic association, previously said her community could not afford to lose any 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.”

However, the DOT turned down many of the civic associations suggestions, claiming it was not feasible to install stations in the proposed areas. 

In Holden’s letter, he expressed his disappointment that the DOT is not fully working with the community in the final plan. 

“It is greatly frustrating to repeatedly meet with the DOT and have civic leaders and residents offer sensible solutions, only to be turned down each time,” Holden wrote. “These meetings and suggestions take time and energy from those who care about our community. The Queens DOT makes a show of community meetings but is indifferent or even hostile to real community input.”

DOT told QNS that they would actually be incorporating community feedback into the final proposal, “in a way that ensures sufficient access to Citi Bike stations and bikes.”

“We look forward to expanding this vital service to help more Queens residents get around safely and efficiently,” said DOT spokesperson Vincent Barone. 

DOT said that they must take accessibility, sidewalk width, parking, truck loading and other factors into consideration when deciding on Citi Bike locations. 

Lyft is scheduled to begin installs in the CB5 area later this summer.