Juniper Park Civic Association reveals another Citi Bike expansion counter-proposal

Photo courtesy of Citi Bike

The Juniper Park Civic Association revealed their latest counter-proposal to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Citi Bikes expansion plan last week that would expand the number of Citi Bike stations throughout the Community Board 5 area.

The Juniper Park Civic Association’s latest proposal requested 33 sidewalk stations and 20 roadbed stations — 14 fewer than the original DOT proposal. Ridgewood would get 17 stations; eight stations would be installed in Glendale; four would be located in Middle Village; and there would be 24 stations in Maspeth.

According to Christina Wilkinson, the secretary of the Juniper Park Civic Association, the group wants to reduce the number of stations in the roadway, which they believe will take up much-needed parking spaces.

“The entire reason [the Juniper Park Civic Association] became involved was to preserve parking and prevent station placement in front of homes,” Wilkinson said. “We initially submitted a proposal to put all stations on the sidewalk. Still, some of the locations were not feasible, so we turned toward proposing no parking areas for those stations.”

The DOT’s original Citi Bike expansions plan from March consisted of 52 bike stations, 34 of which would be roadbed stations and 18 of which would be on sidewalks; however, the Juniper Civic Association noted that there are too many stations in the DOT proposal and they are placed too close together.

Wilkinson also said that the DOT should consider community feedback in this process.

“In their contract with Lyft, DOT is required to obtain community feedback during the Citi Bike siting process,” Wilkinson said. “Unfortunately, they tried to run around that, but thankfully the Council member held their feet to the fire, and we won some concessions.”

Additionally, the Ridgewood Garden Associates, a cooperative located at 52-24 65th Pl., shared their displeasure with the DOT’s proposed bike placement in a letter to Councilman Robert Holden.

“A large part of our [resident] population is elderly, and they, along with other residents, struggle to find parking. However, the problem is particularly frustrating with regard to the elderly, who often have the need for health care assistance provided by visiting nurses and family,” stated the letter. “The inability to find parking is a serious problem to them, and the loss of many parking spaces will prejudice the health and safety of these disabled individuals.”

They also argued that the Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village are low-rise communities where most homeowners and tenants who so desire already own bikes and have storage for them. They said that efficient use of sidewalk space and the angled bike docks would be ideal.

Community Board 5 requested the DOT allow them to have more input on the Citi Bike placement. Wilkinson stated that the board waited too long to send out this request.

“It’s good that the letter was sent this month, but the CB 5 transportation committee knew about the proposal since February,” Wilkinson said. “[Community Board 5] failed to notify the entire board or community at large and waited too long to go on record with their requests.”

According to the DOT, installations will begin on Jan. 9, with the Juniper Park Civic Association and Holden continuing to work with the DOT on bike station placement.