Citi Bike expansion in western Queens a hot topic of discussion at virtual Community Board 5 meeting

Citi Bike
Photo courtesy of Citi Bike

Residents in support of and in opposition to the plan to bring additional Citi Bike stations to the Community Board 5 area were able to share their thoughts during a meeting Wednesday night, Dec. 14.

During the virtual meeting, the board read letters submitted on behalf of residents who supported the expansion and letters from those who expressed concern regarding the proposal.

Those opposed believe that the new Citi Bike stations would take up valuable parking spaces for locals. At the same time, supporters indicated that the expanded Citi Bikes would allow for more people to get around town and frequent local businesses.

In a letter submitted by a resident living within the confines of Community Board 5 — which covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale — Mallory Woods shared that the Citi Bike expansion would offer another means of transportation, helping residents without vehicles get around town.

Citi bike
File photo by Kevin Duggan

“Citi Bike makes it faster and safer for me to get home at night when buses are less frequent,” the letter read.

Another letter from local Kristine Bucie revealed her disappointment in the delay in installing the Citi Bike stations.

“As a Citi Bike member, I’ve been disappointed by the delays of the expansion,” Bucie’s letter said. “My hope is that stations are finally installed without further delays.”

The DOT announced in March it was planning to install 52 Citi Bike stations in the area during the summer, but the stations have yet to be installed.

There are currently four existing Citi Bike stations in all of Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale. The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) released an early draft that maps out all the stations, where they’re located and whether they will be on the street or sidewalk. The draft would take up at least 100 parking spaces throughout the community.

Christina Wilkinson, secretary of the Juniper Park 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 earlier this summer. “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.”

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

On Wednesday night, Community Board 5 voted to send a letter to the DOT, asking them to give the board final say on where the Citi Bike stations should be located.